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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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State of Nature

Mack Avenue MAC 1040




1. A Place in Space
2. All Blues
3. Forest garden
4. Insensatez (How Insensitive)
5. Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 (Andante in F major)
6. Song for my Father
7. Mind Games No. 1
8. Ocean Breeze
9. Healing Waves
10. Mind Games No. 2
11. Shadow dance
12. Mind Games No. 3
13. Prayer for the Sea
14. Steppin' Out
Stanley Jordan - Guitar, piano, synthesiser, sound programming
Charnett Moffett, Tommy Brown, Dudu Lima - Bass
David Haynes, Ivan Conti, Kenwood Dennard - Drums
Tammi Brown, Julia Jordan - Vocals
Giovanna Imbesi - Piano, keyboards
Jay Kishar - Sitar
Vedang Londhe - Tablas
Hartt Stearns - Percussion

Ryan Turnage - Keyboards

Meta Weiss - Cello

Whatever happened to Stanley Jordan? He burst on the scene with the 1985 album Magic Touch, amazing everyone with his remarkable guitar technique. Instead of plucking the strings, he tapped them, enabling him to use both hands so that he could play a tune and accompany it at the same time, or play contrapuntal lines. He was massively successful, with several high-selling albums and an assured career ahead of him.

Then he suddenly disappeared from the scene. Apparently he had grown tired of the music business and taken a ten-year sabbatical to study music therapy. Now he's back with an album which shows him in a surprising variety of guises: not only as guitarist but also as pianist and composer, playing in a wide range of styles. Stanley chose the album title to reflect his desire to make people more aware of the natural world, although it is not clear how the album is likely to achieve this.

The music is certainly eclectic, ranging from meditative pieces for guitar and cello to jazz standards; from a Mozart concerto movement to three short pieces called Mind Games which seem to be off-the-cuff meanderings. Jordan's abilities on the guitar are as impressive as ever, particularly on the jazzier tracks like A Place in Space and All Blues, where Stanley is accompanied simply by Charnett Moffett's bass and David Haynes's drums. On the latter, Stanley plays guitar and piano simultaneously, although his piano playing sounds rudimentary compared to his guitar expertise. On Shadow Dance, Jordan comes across like a guitar hero, letting rip with abrasive electric guitar sounds. My favourite track is the closer: Steppin' Out, where Stanley's funky guitar revives an immediately catchy Joe Jackson composition from 1983.

Several tracks fit the "nature" theme of the album, including the gentle Ocean Breeze and the meandering Prayer for the Sea, but you couldn't really class this as a "concept album" because the music is so varied. But perhaps that is the concept. At any rate, welcome back, Stanley.

Tony Augarde





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