Kevin Eubanks + Stanley Jordan, “Lights” from Duets (2015): One Track Mind

Share this:

That two old pros like Kevin Eubanks and Stanley Jordan offer fine takes on jazz staples like “Summertime” and “Blue in Green” comes as little surprise. But Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”?

You hear not just the song, but this pair of performers, in a whole new way. Both, of course, have made plenty of mainstream moves — from Stanley Jordan’s touch-driven take on Michael Jackson’s “The Lady in My Life” to the wildly underrated Kevin Eubanks’ laugh-filled tenure with Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” band. But this one, which finds them digging into an electronic dance track’s more contemplative corners, feels different — more small-scale and personal.

Credit the moment’s striking sense of interplay, something that gives “Lights” a different dimension, as Eubanks and Jordan react to one another, sometimes leading, sometimes following — but always involving one another, and the listener.

Though Kevin Eubanks has known Stanley Jordan since his early hey day in the 1980s, it took a more recent nine-city tour for the two to bond. That led to “Lights,” the first-listen highlight of an endlessly familial project called Duets that’s due March 24, 2015 via Mack Avenue Records. Elsewhere on Duets are newly arranged runs through “Nature Boy” and “A Child Is Born,” but also their take on Adele’s “Someone Like You.”

Along the way, Kevin Eubanks and Stanley Jordan have forged a sweetly conveyed bond without boundaries, one that brings in every element of their differing but simultaneously complementary personalities amid plenty of warmth — to say nothing of their unique vision for jazz with category.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
Share this:
Close