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Stanley Jordan: State of Nature

Before you’re even halfway through listening to State of Nature, Stanley Jordan’s first widely distributed release in a decade, it’s clear that the guitarist doesn’t sound quite like himself.

Not that anyone eager to hear another recording that showcases Jordan’s signature finger-tapping technique is likely to be disappointed with this collection of original pieces and classical, jazz and pop tunes. There’s no shortage of highwire virtuosity on display, to say nothing of those moments when Jordan plays guitar and keyboards at the same time. (Turns out he’s a capable pianist, who probably should get extra points for multi-tasking.) Sprinkled throughout the album, however, are some welcome contrasts, with Jordan using a pick or his thumb, and even a hollow body axe, to conjure a more soulful and beefy guitar sound.

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