Stanley Jordan & Kevin Eubanks
Meet Up in Morristown, New Jersey
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

It happened to be a "Meet Me in Morristown" night when Stanley Jordan and Kevin Eubanks finally were able to meet up to play their rescheduled "Duets" show that was a casualty of the hard winter that hit the region. But, their engaging and experimental show at the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown, New Jersey on June 25, 2015 was worth the wait. This classic, recently renovated theater with warm acoustics was an ideal setting for the innovative compositions that Stanley and Kevin presented on Thursday night to an attentive audience.

Kevin Eubanks and Stanley Jordan at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in 2015.

Morris Arts along with "Meet Me in Morristown" are encouraging people to come to the downtown area to shop and dine on the last Thursdays of the month during May (28), June (25), July (30) and August (27). Businesses are taking advantage of the town-wide sidewalk permit to host sidewalk sales and/or demonstrations. Selected visual artists will be showcasing their art. In addition musicians are performing in various spots along the main drag during the event. "Meet Me in Morristown" added to our enjoyable evening at the MPAC.

Stanley Jordan is a master of improvisational music that spans classical, jazz, pop, rock and soul. Stanley is well respected for his unique two hand-tapping technique. Jordan is a master on both guitar and piano but more importantly he plays with passion. Kevin Eubanks is a composer and musician best known for his long standing role on The Tonight Show. Kevin has released CDs, toured with his own band and supports youth programs. As a duo these guitar greats were dynamic although their set at the MPAC was a rather low key affair.

Their set-up was straightforward with a grand piano taking up part of the stage. They strolled out introducing each other and mentioning their Duets album that was released in 2015.The duo started their instrumental show with sparse progressions that gently expanded. Stanley was quickly utilizing his tapping technique while Kevin's approach was more traditional but still high caliber. Both were crafting clean crisp chord structures enhanced with some effects.

They jested that they were the oddest couple but when they collaborate it all comes together which they demonstrated with the next series of instrumentals that featured lavished, layered leads from both. At one point they were adding bass lines to the mix. They honored the late B.B. King with "You Are My Sunshine" a song the blues legend often played. Eubanks' leads were bright with Jordan aptly adding accents to the tune. The pair chatted a bit between songs. They implied that this concert was improvisational yet their highly technical transitions were smooth. At one point, Kevin moved to the grand piano for a melodic piece packed with changes.

They commended the MPAC for their "Music Student of the Month" and educational programs. They stressed how important music is for kid's development even if they don't become pros. They encouraged parents to expose their kids to jazz at an early age. A fan shouted out "Eleanor Rigby" a cover that Stanley is well-known for. They joked that she was tired instead they said, "we will perform a song that we have been waiting to play".

Their interpretation of "Summer Time" shimmered moving along at an easy slow pace like a warm pleasant summer's day. Eubanks utilized his volume swell pedal all night as an integral aspect of his style. But, it took 75-minutes for the volume to really swell in the theater as the evening moved toward a crescendo and close.

"Beautiful hall, beautiful piano," they commented, again asking the audience to continue to support the arts. They praised musicians who use their platform to make the world a better place. Then it was back to delicate yet dynamic guitar conversations ending with an encore of more expressive exchanges from the two masters thus closing the concert on an impressive note. Jordan and Eubanks stayed after the show for a meet and greet.

The Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) located in the heart of historic Morristown, New Jersey continues to host a wide array of artists such as Stanley Jordan and Kevin Eubanks. Upcoming events at the MPAC include Dion, Gin Blossoms, Rock the Yacht, Howie Mandel, Fun2C and Jonny Lang with Robert Randolph.

Related Links: For more information on STANLEY JORDAN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Stanley Jordan | Kevin Eubanks | Morris Arts |

(Originally Published on June 25, 2015)




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