Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stanley Jordan - Magic Touch (1985)


Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.

There's no denying Jordan is a technical wizard on the electric guitar (you can probably check him out on YouTube). He tunes his guitar in fourths (EADGCF instead of the standard EADGBE) and uses a finger tapping technique where produces a note using only one finger by quickly tapping his finger down behind the appropriate fret. He's certainly not the first to do these things, but his technical expertise gives him the ability to play polyphonically on the guitar (as if it were a keyboard) or two guitars at a time. This record is his major label debut. Jordan quickly became one of the hottest things going in jazz in the mid-'80s. In the '90s, he became frustrated with the record industry and became a musical therapist. I believe most of his recent music is directed towards therapy. I don't know for sure because this is the only album of his that I've owned. It's an enjoyable album, but you tire of the technique early on and then it isn't as interesting. It also straddles the fence where genres are concerned - this music isn't smooth jazz, but it isn't quite straight-ahead jazz, either. I guess it's ultimately a showcase for Jordan's technique. I probably wouldn't have replaced my cassette with this CD if I hadn't seen it on clearance at the used CD store.

FYI: I don't recommend doing a Google search for "magic touch" - there's some weird products and sick people out there.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #64 (Aug 3, 1985)
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #1
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #31

Tracks: This is a mixed bag. Some solo performances, some group performances with a backing band. 4 of the 10 tracks are originals, the rest covers. Of the originals, the best is All The Children. Better are the covers of Freddie Freeloader, The Lady In My Life, Angel (you just knew there would be a Hendrix cover, didn't you?), and A Child Is Born. I don't remember the song New Love being on the cassette. Either I've got a bad memory or this is a CD bonus track. My least favorite track is Return Expedition which tries, and fails, to be a piece by the fusion group Return To Forever.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I saw Jordan in concert in Dallas in 1987 at the Arcadia Theatre on Greenville Ave. Sadly, the Arcadia burned down in 2006. Jordan's opening act was Bobby McFerrin (just before Don't Worry be Happy hit big). After a high-energy performance by McFerrin, seeing a solo guitarist noodle around on stage for an hour was sort of a let down. Not that Jordan wasn't impressive; he was. It's just that the sequencing seemed backwards.

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