Stanley Jordan Trio – The Paris Concert, Blu-ray (2008)

by | Jul 31, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Stanley Jordan Trio – The Paris Concert, Blu-ray (2008)

Performers: Stanley Jordan, “tap technique” guitar; Charnett Moffett, doublebass; David Haynes, drums
Program: Yesterday, A Place in Space, Song for my Father, All Blues, New Morning Improv, Improvised excerpt from Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra: 2nd Mov’t, Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 – 2nd mov’t, Now’s the Time, Naima, Because, Amazing Grace, Return Expedition
Studio: Inakustik INAK-7466-1 BD
Video: 16:9 color 1080i HD
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, PCM uncompressed 5.1, DD 2.0
Code Free
Extras: Conversation with Stanley Jordan
Length: 117 minutes
Rating: *****

Wow.  I had seen Stanley Jordan up close at a jazz festival some years ago, but I didn’t know he had evolved into doing some numbers with one hand on the piano and the other on the guitar, quickly reversing the order from time to time. I gather that he didn’t invent the “two-handed tap technique” on the guitar, as I had thought, but he is certainly its master. He is able to play melody line and accompaniment simultaneously, like a pianist or pair of guitarists.

In this hi-def video Jordan plays a dozen tunes both with his trio and strictly solo. The venue is the comfortable and cozy New Morning jazz club in Paris. The French laissez-faire attitude about smoking produces some interesting backgrounds behind the performers, without requiring a smoke machine. You can tell that Jordan is really improvising, without a strict chart to follow in his set. He has a vision of music being much more than entertainment – as a healing journey – and his playing demonstrates this. His selection of material for the dozen tracks is nothing like you would find on the typical jazz outing. There are jazz classics such as Horace Silver’s Song for My Father, Coltrane’s Naïma, and Miles’ All Blues, but there are also two classical selections: excerpts from Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, used in the film “Elvira Madigan.”  

There are many closeups of Jordan’s large hands on the guitar strings, which he plays just like a keyboard. The results are quite amazing. Jordan is not just a show-off virtuoso – he gets to the deep meaning of the music – his art is unique and inspiring. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more moving rendition of Amazing Grace. The set was taped in hi-def at New Morning in 2007 and the Blu-ray picture and sound quality are first rate. I can’t imagine any music lover, no matter their favorite genre, not being captivated by this almost unbelievable concert.

— John Henry

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