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Dreams of Peace by Novecento featuring Stanley Jordan

A generation ago Stanley Jordan burst on the scene with a revolutionary two-handed solo guitar technique that blew away anyone who witnessed it. Once the initial awe began to subside, the question of just what he could do in a full band context inevitably formed in the listener's mind. The answer suggested by this recent collaboration with the group Novecento is: whatever he damn well wants to. The songs here come in various flavors, and Jordan invariably finds a way to blend in with all of them.

The opening "Tell Me Something" could've come off sounding something like Kate Bush with its plaintive vocal from Dora Nicolosi and wispy string section; with Jordan on board it comes across more like a lost recording from Phil Keaggy's Glass Harp. "Flying to the Sky" and "Easy Love" are smooth jazz grooves worthy of George Benson. "Sky Flower" and "Dreams of Peace" recall Tom Coster-era Santana, the latter showing that Stanley can play the blues, too. But it should go without saying that while Jordan's playing seems to be informed by all these greats, he sounds more like himself than anything.

What's most impressive about Jordan's playing here is the way that the guitarist mixes up his trademark tapping approach with more traditional techniques. His solos and fills on "Too Close to the Sun," also featuring some fine playing from Guy Barker on Flugel horn, are proof of that and of musical growth on the part of Jordan. "Spring" is an exhibition of shredding as dexterous anything tried by Buckethead and the heavy metal legion of doom.

While Jordan plays on all nine tracks, there are cameos scattered throughout the recording by such players as Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker and Danny Gottlieb. And, of course, the show really belongs to Novecento even if Jordan does steal it as often as not. The core of the group are the four Nicolosi siblings on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals. Their competently written and executed music should appeal to fans of contemporary jazz, while Stanley Jordan's return to recording makes this an event for guitar players and those who worship at that particular altar.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Novecento featuring Stanley Jordan
  • CD Title: Dreams of Peace
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Favored nations Cool
  • Rating: Four Stars
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