Picks and Pans Review: Standards Volume I

updated 01/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Stanley Jordan

Stanley Jordan is one guitarist who has to be seen to be appreciated, because it's nearly impossible to believe what he can do with six electric strings and his bare hands. Without the benefit of any studio trickery, the 27-year-old guitar maverick has recorded a self-produced LP of 10 exquisitely fashioned pop classics that sound like the work of two, sometimes three, guitarists playing at once. He does this by tapping the strings on the fret-board of his specially-tuned guitar the way a pianist strikes keys, keeping time and playing bass lines with his left hand and cascading melodies and harmonies with his right. Even if Jordan had four arms, his second major solo release would still be awe-inspiring for the display of rhythmic and harmonic invention he brings to such familiar tunes as The Sounds of Silence, Moon River and Georgia on My Mind. Granted, Jordan is a show-off. He does things with his off-the-rack Travis Bean that seem impossible just for the sake of doing them, but he rarely subordinates the music to technical showmanship. If you can't catch him in concert, the next best thing is throw Standards Volume I on the turntable, close your eyes and try to imagine how Jordan's mere 10 fingers make so much magnificent music—and make it sound so easy. (Blue Note)

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