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Respect for Stanley Jordan

Cassie Pence
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyRenowned jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan plays to an intimate crowd of about a hundred Thursday night at Samana Lounge in Vail.
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VAIL – In a moment of genuine respect, the crowd at Samana honed into silence as Stanley Jordan used both hands on the neck of his guitar to strike the notes of “Imagine” by John Lennon.As well known a song “Imagine” is, whispers circulated the room trying to pin point the tune’s title, because the way Jordan plays the guitar can transform even the most familiar pop songs into exciting, new jazz riffs. The covers never truly loose their identity, making it almost a game for audience members to name that tune. Jordan played for an intimate crowd at Samana in Vail Village Thursday night.Jordan plays his guitar like a piano. He calls it the “touch” system, invented by 1950s guitarist Jimmy Webster. Using two hands on the neck of the guitar, he pulses the strings to create notes. It even appears like he’s playing the piano. He tunes his guitar in fourths, as opposed to eighths, which gives him more precision. Technical talk aside, you didn’t have to be a guitar player to appreciate the stark musical talent of Jordan.

Sitting at a table behind the people who congregated about 2 feet from the stage, I watched the silhouette of their jaws drop in amazement of what full a sound one man could produce on one guitar – and sometimes two. Yes, Jordan can also play two guitars at once, with one slung around him in the traditional manner and the other set up horizontally so he could tap the strings like a piano. I was lucky enough to attend the show with guitar players and could lean over and do some whispering of my own. They helped to reveal some of the nuances of Jordan’s playing, and together we pegged some of the covers: “Desperado” by the Eagles, “Sound of Silence,” by Simon and Garfunkel and “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac, and Mozart to name a few. When Jordan plays, he smiles. After 30 some years of playing, he still appears surprised, pleased and even inspired with the sounds created by his finger tips. His expression could be a nod to the energetic audience, he said fe feeds off the vibe.The concert was the first sold-out show Samana has hosted. (The newly renovated hipster lounge is located below the Ore House in Vail Village.) A kudos to manager Scott Stoughton, the atmosphere remained intimate, not crowded. They sold just the right amount of tickets.

The show was billed to start at 9:30 p.m., but Jordan strolled on stage at about 11 p.m. If he was trying to build anticipation, it worked. It was the first time I had witnessed the guitar virtuoso, and it certainly won’t be the last. He proved once again that in life the good things are worth waiting for.Front Row Seat: Have you experienced a unforgettable concert lately? Write us about it and we’ll print it for all our readers to enjoy.



Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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