Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stanley Jordan and Michael Hedges, plus Kaki King

One summer in the 1980s (probably the summer of 1984), I was working one Sunday afternoon at the Coffee House at Stanford, and there was a concert somebody had arranged. It was a guy named Stanley Jordan playing solo electric guitar. Shortly after he started playing (and made me take notice with his unusual touch-tapping technique), Michael Hedges, who lived in Palo Alto, happened to stop by to get a cup of coffee, as he very occasionally did at that time (once a year or so, in my experience). While I was getting his coffee, he was already not paying attention to me anymore, because he was paying attention to Stanley. I suspect he was just planning to drink his coffee and then head back off wherever he had been planning to go; instead, he sat down quite close to Stanley and watched him play, with this utterly stunned look on his face.

In the summer of 2003, I was in Seattle visiting my Dad, and we went to Jazz Alley to see Stanley play a concert. The opener was a young guitarist named Kaki King, and she played acoustic guitar like she was Michael Hedges. Now it was my turn to sit there with my jaw dropped, as I watched her channel Hedges from back in the 80s when I used to see him at the Varsity in Palo Alto. And she came out for an encore with Stanley and got into a wicked touch-tapping jam that, if I closed my eyes, made me think I was hearing something I never had the chance to see (and I don't know if it ever happened): Stanley jamming with Michael.

One of the things Stanley played that long-ago Sunday at the Coffee House was "My Favorite Things". There are no YT videos of him playing MFT, but here it is on Spotify.

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

Thanks to a comment, I discovered that Kaki King is not Canadian, as I had originally written. I don't know why I thought she was; something she or Stanley said at that show in Seattle, I guess.

But I deleted the comment, because it was anonymous and otherwise unpleasant. I realized I had set my settings to accept anonymous comments a few years ago because of my Daily Poem Project, but in fact, I don't like anonymous comments, so I've reset my settings now.