Visionary US jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan delivered that magic touch with his unique two-handed technique and took his audience to musical places we could never imagine at his final show in Athens on April 26.
Watching the guitar genius perform in the Greek capital’s seminal jazz venue – the intimate Half Note Jazz Club, with bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Remi Vignolo, Jordan made his advanced form of tapping, which he developed by applying piano-playing principles, look ridiculously effortless.
Halfway through the show, Jordan seemed to have zoomed into the zone, appearing as if he was meditating to the music. He certainly entranced us, his listeners.
The trio, led by Moffett and known as Nettwork, quietly slipped into town and played three shows in Athens for dedicated fans who couldn’t believe their luck. Apparently, the previous night, they played two shows back to back for the one audience.
When we heard Jordan, a guitar virtuoso known for his pioneering role in jazz fusion, was coming to town, we made sure to nab tickets right away.
Indeed, we scored the very best seats in the house – the centre table in the front row – where I had an up, close and personal view of Jordan’s singular method of playing the guitar.
Speaking of his instrument, it’s a Vigier, not at all flashy but down-to-earth just like the artist himself – a Princeton alumnus, which he seems to have held close for years.
Moffett, who grew up in a musical family and has performed with the likes of greats such as Art Blakey, Arturo Sandoval and the Marsalis brothers, served up some rousing guitar solos.
Completing the trio, Vignolo – the youngest member of the group and clearly aware of his fortuitous position – delivered an equally impressive performance.
At one point in the show, as Jordan was playing solo, a fervent fan calls out “Starway to Heaven!”, prompting smiles from fellow patrons.
After the performance, which featured two encores, I asked Moffett how their stay had been in Athens, on this, their first visit. “The people have been so wonderful and welcoming… It’s a beautiful city,” he said.
Jordan, characteristically soft-spoken, echoed his words, saying their Athens shows marked the end of their touring schedule and that they hope to be able to return one day.
Such a giant, such a gentleman and yet so humble.