Stanley Jordan, Legendary Guitarist and Educator, Gives Jazz in the Classroom Workshops for DCPS Students

Iconic jazz guitarist and educator Stanley Jordan paid a visit to the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom programs at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. this week, sharing insights gained over more than four decades of playing professionally. Jordan’s sessions at Ellington and Wilson heralded the return of in-person, socially distanced master classes for the Institute’s programs in the District of Columbia, following 18 months of online-only learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students at Ellington had the chance to show off their chops for Jordan on arrangements of Thad Jones’ “A Child is Born,” Chick Corea’s “Spain” and Roy Hargrove’s “Strasbourg/St. Denis.” The multi-GRAMMY Award nominee offered feedback on the performances, encouraging the young players to be mindful of the unique musical personalities of their peers, and to support others’ self-expression.

At Wilson, Jordan went in-depth on topics including the minor blues, turnarounds and group dynamics. He worked closely with the student guitarists, highlighting voicings that can be used to complement the role of the piano in the ensemble, and discussed the importance of honoring the vision of the arranger and composer when interpreting a chart. While rehearsing the Lou Donaldson tune “Blues Walk,” the young musicians had an opportunity to play alongside the legendary guitarist as he conducted the band from the rhythm section.

The session also afforded older Wilson students an opportunity to reconnect with Jordan – who had previously visited the school for an Institute master class prior to the pandemic – asking him questions about his diverse musical, scientific and educational pursuits.

About Stanley Jordan

Stanley Jordan is an extraordinary artist who has earned headlines around the world for his innovative way of playing guitar. By age 13, he had begun studying jazz and developing his distinctive technique, which allows him to play chords with both hands or perform two simultaneous melodies. Jordan attended Princeton University, where he studied music and had the opportunity to perform with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie. Following a period as a street musician in New York, he released his 1985 album Magic Touch, making him the first artist signed to the newly recreated Blue Note label. After several more releases, Jordan retreated from the limelight, moving to the Southwest to pursue his growing interest in music therapy. In recent years, he has continued to tour and record while still devoting time to his passion for music therapy. Jordan’s latest release, in collaboration with fellow guitarist Kevin Eubanks, is titled Duets

About Jazz in the Classroom

The Institute’s worldwide, highly regarded Jazz in the Classroom programs are tailored for elementary, middle, high school and college students to help them develop an understanding of and appreciation for jazz music. The initiative strives to share the positive aspects of jazz with young people who would not otherwise have opportunities to learn about this great national treasure. Through Jazz in the Classroom, the Institute has reached millions of students, teachers, and families in major cities as well as rural and remote communities, with many of the participants experiencing jazz for the first time. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact learning across the country, the Institute is working closely with teachers and officials at each of its partner schools to offer instruction that meets students’ needs while also adhering to public health policies. The Institute continues to offer virtual programming where necessary.