Stanley Jordan – State of Nature

Stanley Jordan is one of the slickest jazz guitarists around. His expansion of the touch technique has made him legendary in jazz circles. Jordan’s method allows him to play melody and chords at the same time, creating a cascade of sound. His new album uses this cascade of sound to create a set of songs relating to a theme very close to his heart: Mother Earth.

State of Nature will be released on April 22 (Earth Day), with no coincidences ever intended. Jordan’s album carries a theme of native beauty, as each song picks up on a different part of nature and draws on the visual aspects of music to epitomize his concepts.

“Part of the reason I made this album were revelations I discovered in my journey to try to become a better person,” Jordan states. He goes on to elaborate, adding that the idea of taking care of the environment never seems to render human action. “What is it about humans that makes us so intelligent and yet so unwise?”

This thought process would prove to be the underpinning for State of Nature, as the guitar genius weaved the structures for several songs with notions of ecological issues, global warming, and the corrosion of nature. The music celebrates life while also exploring our part in the changing climate and the “state of nature.”

Musically diverse, State of Nature uses classical, jazz, and rock textures to provide a milieu for Stanley’s message of penance and accord with the earth. “A Place in Space” starts things off, provoking thoughts of the scale of the universe. Jordan swings for the fences in “All Blues,” one of the album’s best tracks.

Whether he’s weaving together the traditional strains of Mozart (“Mozart’s Piano Concerto #21”) or taking on a Joe Jackson joint (“Steppin’ Out’), Stanley’s work is free and bold. He often sizzles, producing infuriatingly intricate sounds from his supernatural guitar. The incredible riffs found on “Shadow Dance” prove his talent movingly.

With this album, Stanley Jordan manages to say more about the real state of nature than any amount of protest music or Al Gore docs ever could. His music is striking, stylish, and commanding. His synthesis of various styles ensures that his reflection on the ways of life will resound with fans of all different types of music, making State of Nature an extraordinary work of great power and possibility.

7/10

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