World-renowned guitarist Stanley Jordan has developed a new live show called “Stanley Jordan Plays Jimi.” This is a tribute show, but it’s not pure imitation. Instead Stanley builds on Jimi’s legacy in a creative way. As Stanley explains it, “This is my fantasy Jimi Hendrix concert if Jimi were still alive and playing today. By re-imagining his music and channeling his persona I try to bring that fantasy to life.”
Stanley explains, “I feel a strong connection to Jimi Hendrix because he was the first guitarist I emulated as a child. Out of love for Jimi and his music I feel a strong desire to try to keep his legacy alive.”
It may be surprising that a Rock legend like Hendrix would get so much love from a Jazz legend like Jordan. Stanley’s 1985 album Magic Touch was #1 on Billboard’s Jazz chart for 51 weeks and Stanley has shared the stage or recorded with Jazz artists such as Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Billy Cobham. But again, hearing it from Stanley, “I actually played Rock and Blues before I played Jazz. In fact, Jimi’s constant searching for new sounds inspired me to move toward Jazz in the first place.”
In recent years Stanley has performed with many artists in the Rock and jam band worlds, including the Dave Matthews Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Moe and more. Stanley says, “Returning to my Rock roots has been an absolute joy artistically and with this project I’m taking that to a new level.”
In “Stanley Jordan Plays Jimi,” Stanley actually steps onto the stage as Jimi Hendrix so there is a theatrical element to the show. But this is not a comedic caricature nor is it a theatrical play – it’s a concert. It’s a concert built upon a sincere and heartfelt effort to recreate the jaw-dropping experience of witnessing Jimi Hendrix live while at the same time bringing Jimi’s legacy up to date in a believable way. Wow! Tall order to fill–no? That’s why you need a world-class artist of Stanley Jordan’s caliber to pull it off.
Jimi Hendrix was no stranger to electronics and Stanley builds on that as well, saying, “Of course I use feedback and effects just as Jimi did. But I avoid programmed sequencers and prerecorded tracks because there just isn’t enough evidence that Jimi would have gone that route. And the real genius of what he did consisted in making himself part of the circuit rather than externalizing it. For Jimi, electronics were not an end in themselves but a means to an end–an extension of the instrument and a channel of his spirit.”
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