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A special not-to-be-missed double-bill concert featuring two of the brightest shimmering stars in jazz; dazzling singer Cyrille Aimée and guitar wizard Stanley Jordan!
About Cyrille Aimée
Cyrille Aimée ([sǝ’ril Ɛ’me] or “surreal eh-mey”) is, in the words of Will Friedwald of The Wall Street Journal, “One of the most promising jazz singers of her generation.” In the same Wall Street Journal feature (which included vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant), Friedwald declared both to be “astonishing creative singers, with a brilliant sound, fresh ideas, impeccable rhythm and an overall approach that honors tradition without being shackled to the past.” The New York Times has deemed her the “rising star in the galaxy of jazz singers” and in 2016 the New York Jazz Magazine rated her Best Jazz Female Vocalist. Among her many awards and accolades, Aimée was the Winner of the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2012, a finalist for the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2010, and First Prize Winner of Montreux Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2007. Aimée’s talents also caught the attention of Stephen Sondheim, who cast her to co-star with Bernadette Peters in the Sondheim tribute A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, a 2013 co-production of New York City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Also in 2013, she released an album Burstin’ Out with Chicago Jazz Orchestra. In 2014, The New York Times referred to Aimée’s major label release It’s a Good Day as “a bravura turn, presented with a smile.” Her latest 2016 album, Let’s Get Lost peaked at #11 on Billboard Jazz Charts and came in at #4 for NPR’s Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Aimée was primarily raised in France by a French-Dominican parentage. As a curious child in Samois-sur-Seine, she would sneak out of her bedroom window to wander into the nearby gypsy encampments filled with those attending the annual Django Reinhardt Festival. She quickly fell in love with the gypsy music and way of life and in subsequent years would sing on street corners with musician friends while traveling across Europe. All About Jazz put it best when they noted, “Cyrille is the face of post-modernity. She is the eclectic intersection of French, Dominican, and Roman genes and cultures. The result is brilliantly polyglot, the beautiful blending of goodness.”
“Cyrille has a sweet, girlish voice that she controls with a sniper’s precision…”
—The New York Times
“One of the 25 top new faces on the Jazz Scene who are defining how Jazz
will be listened to in the coming decades…”
“Beautiful, talented, precocious, funny, cultured, with the kind of
instantly recognizable voice that has no known precedent…”
“Cyrille may have the best voice-as-instrument in modern jazz…”
—New York City Jazz Record
About Stanley Jordan
In a career that took flight in 1985 with commercial and critical acclaim, guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan has consistently displayed a chameleonic musical persona of openness, imagination, versatility and maverick daring. Be it bold reinventions of classical masterpieces or soulful explorations through pop-rock hits, or blazing straight ahead jazz forays and ultramodern improvisational works (solo or with a group), Jordan can always be counted on to take listeners on breathless journeys into the unexpected.
Key to Jordan’s fast-track acclaim was his mastery of a special technique on the guitar’s fretboard. Instead of conventional strumming and picking, Jordan’s innovative “touch technique” is an advanced form of two-handed tapping. While a handful of other players were using similar techniques, Stanley’s fluid, multi-layered textures and sheer virtuosity raised the bar for excellence. But his technique, though impressive, is always a means to a musical end. His music is imbued with a warmth and sensitivity that has captured the imagination of listeners worldwide. A classically trained pianist before playing guitar, Jordan wanted greater freedom in voicing chords on his guitar, so he applied piano principles to do so. Jordan’s touch technique allows the guitarist to play melody and chords simultaneously with an unprecedented level of independence. It also allows Jordan to play simultaneously on two different guitars, or even on guitar and piano. He says, “I think of it as a single instrument, but one with a wide range of tonal colors—that’s why I do it.”
Jordan has received four Grammy nominations. His most recent album Friends was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Los Angeles Times jazz critic Leonard Feather wrote, “Genius is a word often tossed around in musical circles, but it has been rightfully applied to Stanley Jordan.”
Stanley Jordan was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began his music career at age six studying piano, then shifting his focus to guitar at age eleven. He then began playing in rock and soul bands. In 1976, while still in high school, Jordan performed with Quincy Jones and tied for first place as a soloist at the Reno International Jazz Festival. In 1981, he earned a BA in music from Princeton University, where he studied theory and composition with composer Milton Babbitt and computer music with composer Paul Lansky. While still at Princeton, Jordan performed with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie.
Jordan came to prominence with the release of his 1985 album Magic Touch, a revolutionary project that placed him at the forefront of re-launching legendary Blue Note Records into a contemporary entity in jazz and beyond. It also established the then-twenty-something Jordan as among the most distinctive and refreshing new voices of the electric guitar. Jordan had begun applying his unique technique to his already exemplary traditional playing ten years prior to the Magic Touch album. Though he showcased the technique in a variety of musical styles from swing to rock, it was smooth jazz radio support for Jordan’s singular versions of “The Lady in My Life” (first recorded by Michael Jackson) and the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” that sent Magic Touch to the top of Billboard’s jazz chart for a stunning and record-breaking fifty-one weeks. The album became a gold-seller (over 500,000 sold in the U.S. alone)—outstanding for any jazz or instrumental CD.
In 2007, Jordan signed with Mack Avenue Records and released State of Nature in 2008 and Friends in 2011. For Friends, he invited musical guests including guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, Mike Stern, Russell Malone and Charlie Hunter; violinist Regina Carter; saxophonists Kenny Garrett and Ronnie Laws; trumpeter Nicholas Payton; bassists Christian McBride and Charnett Moffett; and drummer Kenwood Dennard. The results proved truly outstanding on numbers ranging from a Bela Bartok piece to a Katy Perry pop smash, a heady original blues and three jazz classics spanning swing, cool, samba and modern.
Jordan is committed to music as an artistic, spiritual, and even health-promoting endeavor. He has been immersed for more than a decade in music therapy, towards which he is now working for a Master’s degree at Arizona State University. His involvement with music therapy leads him to do outreach in schools, hospitals and other venues wherever he tours. He is an artist-spokesperson for the American Music Therapy Association, and has done numerous lectures and demonstrations on the healing applications of music. Jordan has maintained an extensive and consistent international touring schedule.
““Genius is a word often tossed around in musical circles, but it has been
rightfully applied to Stanley Jordan.”
—Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times