Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan
& Romero Lubambo:

Guitar Greats Grace the Stage at the MPAC
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Not one but three guitar greats graced the stage at the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown, New Jersey on February 1st, 2014. Billed as Guitar Passions - Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo - presented a stellar set of Brazilian and Latin flavored music.

Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan & Romero Lubambo: Guitar Greats Grace the Stage at the MPAC
Stanley Jordan, Sharon Isbin & Romero Lubambo on stage at the MPAC.

All three players are guitar geniuses. Sharon Isbin is an award winning artist who has performed at many prestigious halls, having appeared as a soloist with over 160 orchestras. She is a chart topping guitarist whose music runs the gamut from classical, jazz and world. For decades, Stanley Jordan has awed fans with his innovative approaches to the instrument. He is adept at an advanced form of two handed tapping aka the touch technique. Jordan is also a classically trained pianist who melds piano principals of chords and melody into guitar structures.

Romero Lubambo came to the United States in 1985. Lubambo crafted his signature sound by blending his native Brazilian musical heritage with traditional American jazz. Yet, Romero is skilled in all genres. The trio are all masters with impressive lists of collaborations and compositions to their credit.

They came out together to start the show. Sharon and Romero played acoustics with Stanley contributing electric accompaniment to the first lavish, lovely composition of the night. Throughout the concert Sharon talked about the composers and the music that they were interpreting. Often she would present the arrangement as it was written with the others improvising.

Guitar Passions played as a trio, duo and as soloists. Each had their own unique approach to the instrument. All were apt at layering melody with rhythm, utilizing various techniques for an array of textures and tones. During one of his spotlights Jordan showcased his strumming, tap touch method that was supernatural.

Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan & Romero Lubambo: Guitar Greats Grace the Stage at the MPAC
The Guitar Passions trio takes a bow in Morristown.

"Isn't that incredible, how does he do that?," marveled Lubambo who also impressed the crowd with a Brazilian flavored composition. The audience at the MPAC was very attentive allowing the spectrum of sound to envelop the theater. Romero's solo flowed on crisp, clean chords filled with nuances.

"Where did you find all those notes?," inquired Sharon. Romero replied "New Jersey". Together they presented a Colombian dance song. It was rousing and reflected the musical culture of that county. Next, they traveled to Paraguay. Both melding multiple layers of leads to the passionate piece.

After a short intermission, Stanley took a seat at the grand piano with his guitar resting on his leg. The combination of cascading keys with graceful guitar chords was amazing. Isbin joined Jordan to present a waltz from Venezuela. Sharon joked that she would play the solo guitar parts and Stanley something completely different. Although it sounded like a casual approach the complex piece was captivating.

They also explored old world folk music along with more waltzes from South America. Bach was represented with his beautiful stanzas, beautiful played by Guitar Passions. Changing direction they presented Brazilian Bossa nova music that was a feisty blend of jazz and samba. They continued to traverse more technically challenging terrain to close the set. Guitar Passions was a world class concert from three world class musicians and to top it off there was a meet and greet after the show.

The MPAC in the heart of Morristown's commerce continues to host many events such as Guitar Passions. Their upcoming calendar includes Bobby Collins, Masters of Illusion, Pinkalicious, American Idiot, Forbidden Broadway, Jim Brickman, Michael Bolton, S. Chang with J. Elizalde, The NJ Ballet, Morristown 's Got Talent, Deepak Chopra and Beauty & The Beast.

Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan & Romero Lubambo: Guitar Greats Grace the Stage at the MPAC

Related Links: For more information on GUITAR PASSIONS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Sharon Isbin | Romero Lubambo | Stanley Jordan | Mayo Performing Arts Center

(Originally Published on February 03, 2014)

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