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  1. #1

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    I've only recently discovered this dude, and my oh my, I was blown away! What do you guys think? And can you help me out and point out some new awesome Jazz musicians for me to check out? Thanks


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  3. #2

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    Quick Story..
    About 35 years ago, A friend of mine, Steve and I went into Manhattan with our guitars and tried to make a little money in Washington Square Park. We played for hours. During that time we meet up with other musicians and together we got a pretty nice jam session going. Our open Guitar cases collected maybe $10 - 15 all day. That didn't even cover our bus tickets.. So we packed up and on way back to Port Authority, we heard another band playing Eleanor Rigby in front of the Chase building. The view of the "band" was obscured by the hundreds of people who were crowded around them.
    We didn't think "the band" was that much better than we were right across the street, so we needed to see why 100's of people were crowded around. After the song was over and the crowd dissipated, we noticed "the Band" was one person. and it was Stanley Jordan. We introduced ourselves and shook hands and I told him the obligatory "when I get home I am throwing my guitar in the Garbage" story.. He couldn't have been a nicer guy.
    A year later, I saw his album advertised so I bought it. His playing ability is amazing. From a guitarists perspective, he is incredible and he was innovative. But from a commercial perspective, his music can be a bit tedious. Perhaps this is why he hasn't been considered one of the best ever. If you don't play the guitar, you don't really appreciate how amazing it is to watch a guy basically play the piano on the neck of a Guitar..
    He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and an INCREDIBLE guitarist.

    Joe D

  4. #3

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    Some really good musicians used to play in NYC under a permits issued program.

    I used to listen to Roy Hargrove in Grand Central Station back in the '80's. He would make me late for work...often.

  5. #4

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    I just couldn't get into Stanley Jordan from a listening perspective. As a musician, I have all the respect in the world for his technique and recognize how incredible what he does, is. Something about the hollow tone of the tapped notes makes it hard for me to listen to though. I have a similar issue with much of the chorus-y synth laden stuff from the late 70's-early 90's. No matter what the notes may say, it's all cheese in my brain.

  6. #5

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    He's player who I really respect. (and actually, "wonder" at the technique of what it is that he does)

    Generally, his music is not my bag, but he's someone I can definitely see myself enjoying in a live setting.

  7. #6

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    I should say too, that some of his more straightforward stuff I listened to quite a bit when I was younger. But the smooth jazz cuts on the albums always turned me off. He was one where I'd listen to 2 or 3 cuts and skip the rest.
    It's hard for any jazz guitarist not to geek out at least a little bit listening to something like this..

  8. #7

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    ...but the next track on the disc...

  9. #8

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    He's hit-and-miss, for me. Points where his playing is moving, points where it gets bogged down in the tedium of technique.

    I've got immense respect for his talent, even if he doesn't always employ it to my taste.

  10. #9

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    The problem with tapping is the tone - it sounds terrible. By definition you are activating the string at the worst possible point as far as the physics of tone production are concerned.

    Otherwise it would surely have gained more adherents by now.

  11. #10

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    I actually agree with pretty much all the comments, pro and con. Bottom line, he's one of the best live acts around. Last show I saw, he did Hendrix, Charlie Parker, and classical, with a kick-ass bass and drums backing him.

  12. #11

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    Yes the yay or nay thing is a bit disrespectful. A phenomenal original talent. I don't own any of his music but the world is a better place with him.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #12

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    I haven't listened to him in a while, but I too remember seeing him in Manhattan back in the day, in front of that hot dog place on the corner of 48th St (Orange Julius?). His technique was just jaw dropping. Very, very humbling to see! I believe it was on the corner of 48th that Al DiMeola first saw him playing, and he was off the streets pretty quickly after that. lol "All The Children" from his debut album Magic Touch is still one of my all time favorite instrumentals, just a gorgeous gorgeous tune.

    But I never saw his technique as a gimic, which I admit I did think of Eddie van Halen back in the day when he came out. Stanley is tuned in straight 4ths (EADGCF) which I suppose is easier if you are looking at the fretboard in a more piano like way than most of us do, so the tuning and technique go hand in hand.

  14. #13

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    He's great technically. He's amazing.

    But it's a curse in a way because his playing style is more of a curiosity and it over-shadows the music.

    He's like a shred guitarist or a guy who plays with his feet.

    His guitar is set up in a very unique way to allow him to play that way.

  15. #14

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    I friend of mine produced his versions of Bolero and Chameleon, and gigged with him on and off in the early 90s. I saw that group a bunch of times, and they were great. I don't know what he's doing now, but at the time he mixed the two-hand tapping and conventional technique, and did a pretty broad range of material. His live performances were really dynamic, and more interesting than the records, which I find pretty bland. The two handed thing is really limited in terms of expressiveness, timbre, and dynamics. So a whole solo performance of it is not so great, IMO, but mixed in with conventional technique and other soloists, works really well.

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 01-19-2017 at 10:35 PM.

  16. #15
    I meant no disrespect for the man. I clearly stated that he blew my mind with his technique.

    Thank you all for sharing your opinions. Much appreciated

  17. #16

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    Admire him, do not enjoy his playing.

    i feel that way about tappers in general. I admire the accomplishment, but have no desire to listen to it musically.

    the biggest deficit of guitars is the really narrow dynamic range. Compared to a sax or a piano, for example. Even with a roaring cranked amp a guitar still has crappy dynamic range.

    tappers take the guitar's biggest musical weakness and foreground it. It's the same as overly compressed music: everything is at the same volume, except worse, because all the notes have the same timbre.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by PB+J
    the biggest deficit of guitars is the really narrow dynamic range. Compared to a sax or a piano, for example. Even with a roaring cranked amp a guitar still has crappy dynamic range.
    Especially with a roaring amp, the dynamic range is compressed. More gain almost always equals more compression, in guitar amps.

  19. #18

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    After she saw him on the tonight show in the 80's, I'll always remember my wife trying to describe him to me as "this guy was playing the guitar with two hands" . I've seen him live and it's a show I enjoyed quite a lot and would see again, but not a technique I would want to pursue.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Quick Story..
    About 35 years ago, A friend of mine, Steve and I went into Manhattan with our guitars and tried to make a little money in Washington Square Park. We played for hours. During that time we meet up with other musicians and together we got a pretty nice jam session going. Our open Guitar cases collected maybe $10 - 15 all day. That didn't even cover our bus tickets.. So we packed up and on way back to Port Authority, we heard another band playing Eleanor Rigby in front of the Chase building. The view of the "band" was obscured by the hundreds of people who were crowded around them.
    We didn't think "the band" was that much better than we were right across the street, so we needed to see why 100's of people were crowded around. After the song was over and the crowd dissipated, we noticed "the Band" was one person. and it was Stanley Jordan. We introduced ourselves and shook hands and I told him the obligatory "when I get home I am throwing my guitar in the Garbage" story.. He couldn't have been a nicer guy.
    A year later, I saw his album advertised so I bought it. His playing ability is amazing. From a guitarists perspective, he is incredible and he was innovative. But from a commercial perspective, his music can be a bit tedious. Perhaps this is why he hasn't been considered one of the best ever. If you don't play the guitar, you don't really appreciate how amazing it is to watch a guy basically play the piano on the neck of a Guitar..
    He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and an INCREDIBLE guitarist.

    Joe D
    Joe D, I wonder if we ever crossed paths. I lived in NYC from 1980 to 1985. I used to go to the Village all the time and remember seeing some great street acts. I liked thinking that I was a talent scout and I was trying to discover the next bid thing. I say that because at least back then there were a lot of musicians and comedians that were intent on breaking into the business solely based on their street performing in Washington Square Park. I saw Stanley Jordan more than once and when he started releasing albums I got a few. For some reason I lost interest in his stuff though. There was another guy that I liked that played an ES175 and I would see him with various sax players. He was good, but I don't think that he had the personality to make it big. There was also this guy. He was one of my favorites and I used to go see him all the time at the Inner Circle. Unfortunately he never made it big either.

    Kenneth "Kenny" Walter Gwyn

  21. #20

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    Dual post. Sorry.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    Joe D, I wonder if we ever crossed paths. I lived in NYC from 1980 to 1985. I used to go to the Village all the time and remember seeing some great street acts. I liked thinking that I was a talent scout and I was trying to discover the next bid thing. I say that because at least back then there were a lot of musicians and comedians that were intent on breaking into the business solely based on their street performing in Washington Square Park. I saw Stanley Jordan more than once and when he started releasing albums I got a few. For some reason I lost interest in his stuff though. There was another guy that I liked that played an ES175 and I would see him with various sax players. He was good, but I don't think that he had the personality to make it big. There was also this guy. He was one of my favorites and I used to go see him all the time at the Inner Circle. Unfortunately he never made it big either.

    Kenneth "Kenny" Walter Gwyn
    I grew up in the Village, just south of WSP, and was there practically daily from toddlerhood on. My mother still lives there, and I stop by/pass through regularly (I still live in NYC but no longer in the Village). There was a period, I'd say starting roughly 76-ish and petering out 81-ish when there was an incredible explosion of performance in Washington Square Park. I particularly remember:

    - A big band that played regularly with a guitar player who I remember playing Howard Roberts (though maybe it was a 175). In my mind's eye he looks like Mike Stern, though it probably wasn't him
    - A Lebanese Beatles cover band that was as good as the Fab Faux
    - Chris Whitley
    - Comedians Rick Aviles and Charlie Barnett
    - Philippe Petit (the guy who strung a tightrope between the Twin Towers)
    - A guy who claimed to be Jimmy Reed (but wasn't)

    And of course the usual collection of roller-disco-skaters, freestyle frisbee masters, and David Peel.

    The scene shrunk considerably (IIRC) ca. 81 because of crackdowns on noise, and also because the cops started shutting the park down at night to drive away the pot dealers. Stanley Jordan actually came along slightly after this - I remember seeing him on the streets beginning ca. 83. IIRC, he mostly performed just outside the park, near the arch, and in other spots around town, and wasn't one of the guys in and around the fountain.

    John

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    He's player who I really respect. (and actually, "wonder" at the technique of what it is that he does)

    Generally, his music is not my bag, but he's someone I can definitely see myself enjoying in a live setting.
    +1. I'm probably guilty of damning with faint praise by using this story, but I hope it comes off as a tip of the hat to Jordan:

    My brother once took my grandmother (why, I have no idea) to see Stanley Jordan at a local club. Of all the music in the world, my grandma liked only a small subset of it -- either music from her youth, church music, or anything performed by children -- although she was always gracious in acknowledging the talent of those for whose music she did not care (which was mostly anyone who did not fit into any of the aforementioned three categories).

    However, upon returning from seeing Stanley Jordan, she was clearly blown away -- talking about the show for the next several days, and referring to it often in the years following, anytime the topic turned to music or modern musicians.

    Jordan is was better twenty years ago than I could ever hope to be, and any critique I could offer would be little more than sour grapes. Besides, his music made my grandma happy, and that counts for a lot with me.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    ...Stanley Jordan actually came along slightly after this - I remember seeing him on the streets beginning ca. 83. IIRC, he mostly performed just outside the park, near the arch, and in other spots around town, and wasn't one of the guys in and around the fountain.

    John

    That is similar to my vague recollection as well. I remember seeing some street musicians playing around the guitar shops on 48th as well. Also, I remember seeing Kenny Gwyn (the link in my above post) at Mills Pub on Bleeker many weekends, then later at the Inner Circle which was way out the west end as I recall.

    BTW, that guy that claimed to be Jimmy Reed might have played a street fair in the East Village one weekend day. The Edge from U2 showed up and took the stage as I recall. This was right when U2 was starting to get attention. Damn, I wish there would have been smartphones back then. To get some of that stuff on video wouldn't make me feel like my memories of those times are fading away.
    Last edited by lammie200; 01-21-2017 at 04:15 PM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    Joe D, I wonder if we ever crossed paths. I lived in NYC from 1980 to 1985. I used to go to the Village all the time and remember seeing some great street acts. I liked thinking that I was a talent scout and I was trying to discover the next bid thing. I say that because at least back then there were a lot of musicians and comedians that were intent on breaking into the business solely based on their street performing in Washington Square Park. I saw Stanley Jordan more than once and when he started releasing albums I got a few. For some reason I lost interest in his stuff though. There was another guy that I liked that played an ES175 and I would see him with various sax players. He was good, but I don't think that he had the personality to make it big. There was also this guy. He was one of my favorites and I used to go see him all the time at the Inner Circle. Unfortunately he never made it big either.

    Kenneth "Kenny" Walter Gwyn
    im sure we crossed paths. I was in Manhattan every day from 82 through 85. I worked on Park Ave and 23rd. On the weekends I stayed in Grammercy Park with friends who lived there. I lived there for a couple of months too. It was good times.
    Thanks buddy. Joe D

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    im sure we crossed paths. I was in Manhattan every day from 82 through 85. I worked on Park Ave and 23rd. On the weekends I stayed in Grammercy Park with friends who lived there. I lived there for a couple of months too. It was good times.
    Thanks buddy. Joe D
    Funny, I worked in the same area on Park Ave South probably 82-83ish. Later a little closer to Grand Central. Damn, it seems like a whole different lifetime ago now.

  27. #26

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    It always seemed to me one of the main reasons he never caught on with more guitarists was because he's playing an almost entirely different instrument. The same rules don't apply. I can't really get his thing out of my guitar conceptually.

    I greatly admire his playing but never got into him at all.

    In the mid 70s a couple of musicians used to tell me about this guy from Stanford or Palo Alto who played this way. I never heard him, but I realized years later they were telling me about Stanley Jordan.

  28. #27

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    I'm not sure I'd have this in the "other styles" section, but guys like Stanley and Charlie Hunter, as Henry said above, play a whole other instrument. FWIW, I've seen both Stanley and Charlie, and I've walked away thinking, "Wow - amazing!" but then I don't go home and try to play their stuff or buy up all their CDs (like I do with other musicians!).

  29. #28

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    I admit I was always more of a "Nay" on Stanley Jordan. I've seen him before and I just didn't bond with the sound or the concept. I thought he was mainly an interesting curiosity and that's about it. Then recently I saw this and was happy to change my mind! This illustrates his impossible technique and ability while playing great stuff in a more conventional sense. I still don't think I'll pick up any of his recordings, but he's definitely got it goin' on.


  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinceMGuitar
    I admit I was always more of a "Nay" on Stanley Jordan. I've seen him before and I just didn't bond with the sound or the concept. I thought he was mainly an interesting curiosity and that's about it. Then recently I saw this and was happy to change my mind! This illustrates his impossible technique and ability while playing great stuff in a more conventional sense. I still don't think I'll pick up any of his recordings, but he's definitely got it goin' on.

    But... if you're going to turn the guitar into a Casiotone sounding keyboard, why not just play a keyboard, maybe one that actually sounds good even?

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    ...- A Lebanese Beatles cover band that was as good as the Fab Faux...
    Did they call themselves "Street the Beat" or something like that? For some reason that is ringing a bell. I am going to ask my brother, he would know.

  32. #31

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    Someone else mentioned Charlie Hunter, who is a more blatant example of the faults of a technique "gimmick." Seeing Charlie Hunter live as a guitarist is fascinating. I saw him perform at a smaller club standing right up by the stage and just stood there with my jaw on the floor at what he was doing. But... imagine listening to him without knowing that the bass and guitar were one guy on one instrument. Both his bass lines and his solos suffer musically for the restraints of staying together on the neck to facilitate the limits of the technique. There's no denying that.
    Stanley Jordan with his tapping technique on multiple instruments is more proficient at keeping the multiple parts going at the same time without the technical aspects of notes and rhythm suffering. However, as many have mentioned, the tone suffers greatly. Close your eyes and listen to the Autumn Leaves video linked above thinking of the comping and lead as separate entities. You'd ask yourself why doesn't that guitarist pluck his strings, you can barely hear him and it sounds so hollow? And also, why is the pianist playing such a crummy sounding synth?
    If the end goal is producing beautiful music, then no matter how cool it is that you can play 2 guitars at the same time (or a bass and a guitar), if the music sounds worse than it would with multiple musicians filling the role(s), have you really done your audience a service?

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim777
    I haven't listened to him in a while, but I too remember seeing him in Manhattan back in the day, in front of that hot dog place on the corner of 48th St (Orange Julius?).
    oh man orange julius..a liquid creamsicle in a cup...classic old nyc

    48thst (guitar row) was my heaven

    cheers

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    It always seemed to me one of the main reasons he never caught on with more guitarists was because he's playing an almost entirely different instrument. The same rules don't apply. I can't really get his thing out of my guitar conceptually.

    I greatly admire his playing but never got into him at all.

    In the mid 70s a couple of musicians used to tell me about this guy from Stanford or Palo Alto who played this way. I never heard him, but I realized years later they were telling me about Stanley Jordan.
    Mid 70s, he was in high school. I didn't realize he has a rep that young.

    John

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    That is similar to my vague recollection as well. I remember seeing some street musicians playing around the guitar shops on 48th as well. Also, I remember seeing Kenny Gwyn (the link in my above post) at Mills Pub on Bleeker many weekends, then later at the Inner Circle which was way out the west end as I recall.

    BTW, that guy that claimed to be Jimmy Reed might have played a street fair in the East Village one weekend day. The Edge from U2 showed up and took the stage as I recall. This was right when U2 was starting to get attention. Damn, I wish there would have been smartphones back then. To get some of that stuff on video wouldn't make me feel like my memories of those times are fading away.
    I vaguely remember Kenny Gwyn, though I don't think I ever set foot in Mills Tavern back then - it was an outlaw biker bar, and I was a kid. The Jimmy Reed guy was a trip - he would dress in suits, spats and bowler hat and walk up to anybody who happened to be playing in the park (e.g. yours truly), grab his guitar and ramble on drunkenly about how he was Jimmy Reed. I believed him until I figured out Jimmy Reed was dead. Or was he ....?

    John

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    Did they call themselves "Street the Beat" or something like that? For some reason that is ringing a bell. I am going to ask my brother, he would know.
    Could be. I don't remember the name, but they had the sound down.

    John

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by pants
    Someone else mentioned Charlie Hunter, who is a more blatant example of the faults of a technique "gimmick." Seeing Charlie Hunter live as a guitarist is fascinating. I saw him perform at a smaller club standing right up by the stage and just stood there with my jaw on the floor at what he was doing. But... imagine listening to him without knowing that the bass and guitar were one guy on one instrument. Both his bass lines and his solos suffer musically for the restraints of staying together on the neck to facilitate the limits of the technique. There's no denying that.
    Stanley Jordan with his tapping technique on multiple instruments is more proficient at keeping the multiple parts going at the same time without the technical aspects of notes and rhythm suffering. However, as many have mentioned, the tone suffers greatly. Close your eyes and listen to the Autumn Leaves video linked above thinking of the comping and lead as separate entities. You'd ask yourself why doesn't that guitarist pluck his strings, you can barely hear him and it sounds so hollow? And also, why is the pianist playing such a crummy sounding synth?
    If the end goal is producing beautiful music, then no matter how cool it is that you can play 2 guitars at the same time (or a bass and a guitar), if the music sounds worse than it would with multiple musicians filling the role(s), have you really done your audience a service?
    Over the last year or so, I've been seeing a guy in the subways with doubleneck rig. One neck is a bass, the other is 6- string, attached to a flattop acoustic body. He taps simultaneously on both, mainly playing standards against a drum machine beat. From a distance, it sounds like a decent organ trio. But the closer you get, the worse it sounds.

    John

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Could be. I don't remember the name, but they had the sound down.

    John
    From what I remember the drummer used buckets and they did early Beatles tunes.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I vaguely remember Kenny Gwyn, though I don't think I ever set foot in Mills Tavern back then - it was an outlaw biker bar, and I was a kid. The Jimmy Reed guy was a trip - he would dress in suits, spats and bowler hat and walk up to anybody who happened to be playing in the park (e.g. yours truly), grab his guitar and ramble on drunkenly about how he was Jimmy Reed. I believed him until I figured out Jimmy Reed was dead. Or was he ....?

    John
    Haha, Jimmy Reed was dead by that time. I definitely remember the Jimmy Reed guy and I think that he did play that street fair that I went to near Astor Place where Edge showed up. It was strange because, like you say, he never really seemed legit. He might have even crashed that street fair, but at the time I got the feeling that he was finally going to be accepted as one of the more legit street acts. I do vaguely remember that the word on the street was that he wasn't Jimmy Reed even though Jimmy Reed's name got tossed about. Pretty much just like you describe with the suits and hats.

    I was pretty young as well but I don't remember much intimidation at Mills Tavern back then. It might have been a year or two after the bikers left - I don't know. I do think that the musicians were doing coke in the back room between sets. My cousin and I just nursed our beers.
    Last edited by lammie200; 01-22-2017 at 02:47 PM.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    Haha, Jimmy Reed was dead by that time. I definitely remember the Jimmy Reed guy and I think that he did play that street fair that I went to near Astor Place where Edge showed up. It was strange because, like you say, he never really seemed legit. He might have even crashed that street fair, but at the time I got the feeling that he was finally going to be accepted as one of the more legit street acts. I do vaguely remember that the word on the street was that he wasn't Jimmy Reed even though Jimmy Reed's name got tossed about. Pretty much just like you describe with the suits and hats.

    I was pretty young as well but I don't remember much intimidation at Mills Tavern back then. It might have been a year or two after the bikers left - I don't know. I do think that the musicians were doing coke in the back room between sets. My cousin and I just nursed our beers.
    I don't remember exactly when the bikers moved away, but I'm pretty sure they were roaring down Bleecker all through the 80s. In any event, by the time i was old enough to hang out in bars it was mostly elsewhere. My underage drinking was a place called Adam & Eve.

    The only Bleecker St. spot I spent any real time in was the Village Corner. There was a blind piano player there named Lance Hayward who was there for decades, and he was pretty amazing, very Art Tatum like. I started checking him out regularly IIRC .ca. 83 or 4.
    John

  41. #40

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    I saw Stanley Jordan at a Music Therapy conference in Southern California. He jammed with a violin player on Autumn Leaves. He swung so hard that night that I wanted to throw my guitars off a cliff. After I talked to him, he made me realize so graciously that there's so much guitar out there, and that his method was only one way of doing it. Very nice man, and studied music therapy too. Glad I didn't toss my guitars.

  42. #41

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    Of course I was blown away when I first heard him.... So I had to learn at least a couple of his tunes. All I can say is wow. Figuring out some of his stuff did have some good benefits for me though, Once considered impossible tapping runs by various artists like Steve Via and Joe Satriani seemed completely do-able after working out some serious Stanley Jordan.

  43. #42

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    Since people are swapping Stanley Jordan stories, I guess it was about '82-83 my buddy & I went to the Vanguard- it was so packed we couldn't get all the way down the stairs. It sounded like a band of guitarists, but we couldn't see- it was just Stanley.

    I moved to the Trenton area a couple years later, turns out my girlfriend, who was into the jazz scene, knew him because he was around Princeton.

    Much later in life, my current wife's friend is good friends with him, a year or so ago she had a party he came & played at. Wish we'd been invited, somehow I've never met him!