Stanley Jordan Friends Mack Avenue
The continuing arguments over musical labels and genres are probably the jazz equivalent to those concerning liberal, conservative and independent in politics. Personally joining the ranks of the politically ambivalent realizing unity is but a pipe dream in Washington, Stanley Jordan decided to invite a few friends over and the end result may be one of the most entertaining releases of the year. "Friends."
"Friends" may embody the true sense of the often misunderstood term "fusion" better than any release imagined. Jazz, blues, samba, swing and even a take on a pop smash by Katy Perry that brings just the right amount of contemporary flavor to this musical party.
Since smashing the musical glass ceiling back in 1985, Jordan has continued to remain an artist that places no musical limitations on either his playing or his vision. A true musical chameleon it is indeed these special friends that allow Jordan to move effortlessly from one genre to the next for what may well be his finest work to date.
The incredible hand picked lineup includes guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, Mike Stern, Russell Malone and Charlie Hunter; violinist Regina Carter; saxophonists Kenny Garrett and Ronnie Laws; trumpeter Nicholas Payton; bassists Christian McBride and Charnett Moffett; and drummer Kenwood Dennard. A nice bit of back story here is that Jordan plays piano on a couple of tunes and his performance is flawless.
Favorites and highlights include "Walkin' The Dog" with Charlie Hunter which is reminiscent of B.B. King but with a more contemporary edge. Jazz guitar god Mike Stern will have your mind officially blown with the iconic Coltrane tune "Giant Steps."
A release of vitality and pop yet with great depth and texture that will show you a little something you may have missed with each subsequent spin, "Friends" is literally flawless across the board. A must!