The International Guitar Foundation’s four-day Guitar Summit at Kings Place covers the full range of fret activity, from classical to sophisticated pop, taking in lute music, jazz and flamenco along the way. Rob Adams previews a must for all guitar lovers:
The legendary, two-hands tapping guitar innovator Stanley Jordan will open the International Guitar Foundation’s Guitar Summit on Thursday 18 July at Kings Place in London.
The summit, which runs from 18 to 21 July, also offers opportunities to learn directly from Stanley Jordan himself as well as featuring an international line-up including flamenco artist Juan Martín, lutenist and guitarist Nigel North, chamber music specialists VIDA Guitar Quartet, and classical recitalists Goran Krivokapić and Jesse Flowers. Antonio Forcione and Jule Malischke, who share a passion for advanced interpretations of pop songs, feature in a duo performance and the event also marks the London debut of the outstanding Spanish guitarist Marco Socías.
Chicago-born Jordan created a huge impression when he arrived on the jazz scene in the 1980s. With a technique that seemed to have been translated from the classical piano lessons he had taken from the age of six before switching to guitar at 11, he caught the ear of Bruce Lundvall, the former Columbia Records executive and founder of the Elektra Musician label. Lundvall, following his success in establishing Elektra Musician’s high quality release schedule, had been approached by EMI Records with an offer to relaunch the legendary jazz label Blue Note Records and he made Jordan his first signing to the label in 1984.
With his self-titled Blue Note debut, the follow-up to the trailblazing Touch Sensitive, and his appearance alongside label legends including Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Tony Williams and Freddie Hubbard on the filmed concert One Night with Blue Note, Jordan made an immediate impact.
His tapping technique allowed him to play melodies and chords simultaneously and he became an attraction across the world as a solo performer. He has also worked with other musicians, however, including the Italian band Novocento and bassists Stanley Clarke and Charnett Moffett, with whom he toured in a heavy-hitting trio which also featured drummer Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and where Jordan played piano as well as guitar.
“We’re really excited to be bringing Stanley Jordan to this year’s Guitar Summit,” says Tom Kerstens, CEO and Artistic Director at the International Guitar Foundation. “His long career has made him an expert in the field and a joy to watch and learn from. He has played everything from rock to soul to classical to jazz, which is his main focus today. And having studied music theory at Princeton University, he has plenty of knowledge to pass onto the next generation of guitarists.”
Jordan will be giving a series of master classes during the guitar summit. In his opening concert he will also be singing and performing on piano and guitar simultaneously, as he did with Moffett and Watts in their Nettwork Trio.
The IGF runs festivals in Bath and the North East of England, as well as in London, and has promoted concerts around the UK. Its education programme includes summer schools in London and Bath and outreach programmes, including Rock Camps for young guitarists, in rural areas.
“The guitar is unique in its appeal to people of all ages, musical tastes and economic means,” says Kerstens. “No instrument is as accessible and versatile as the guitar. And the great thing about the Guitar Summit is that it’s participatory. There are concerts and lectures but people of all abilities can bring their guitars and get playing in our workshops. We have one for everybody’s musical taste and offer a chance to explore all guitar styles – jazz guitar, classical guitar, acoustic fingerstyle guitar, flamenco guitar. It’s the ultimate guitar experience.” (pp)