Stanley Jordan is no stranger to collaboration. But the Chicago-born, Ivy League-educated jazz guitar and piano virtuoso took a more ambitious approach to the guest list for his latest album, "Friends."
"I've had guests before, but this was the first time that was the main concept," says Jordan, 52, whose helpers on the set include Mike Stern, Kenny Garrett, Nichoas Payton, Christian McBride, Charlie Hunter, Ronnie Laws, Detroit's Regina Carter and others. "We had to scale up the scope of the project, and it was a lot because we had people coming and going, so just recording the whole thing was a little bit of a challenge.
"But I had so much fun working with my friends in the studio. That made everything worth it."
"Friends" sports a similarly sweeping range of repertoire, running from Jordan originals to John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," Katy Perry's pop hit "I Kissed a Girl" and even a bit of Bartok. To pull it all off, Jordan says he adopted a simple philosophy; "I basically let everybody do what they do best," he explains.
"I really wanted to feature these great artists," Jordan says. "Of course I play on the album, too, but I think on most of the songs I probably let other people take the first solos. I saw my main job as being the person to help them feel comfortable with...the whole situation.
"And in some cases it was about showing some of these people who I think are great musicians -- like Mike Stern and Kenwood Denard -- and who need to be known more. You could say it about everybody on the album 'cause there's a need for jazz to have a hire profile in general, but even within jazz some of these people should get more notice. So hopefully I've helped to do that."
Stanley Jordan performs Wednesday, Dec. 7, through Dec. 10 at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, 97 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe. Cover is $30 Wednesday and Thursday, $40 Friday and Saturday with multiple seatings. Reservations are required. Call 313-882-5299 or visit www.dirtydogjazz.com.
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