Stanley Jordan Interview about “Friends”

UC Jazz Club Favorite Artist, Stanley Jordan sits down for an exclusive personal Interview with Edie Okamoto to talk about his latest CD, aptly entitled “Friends.”

For many years Jazz Superstar, Stanley Jordan, has been known to stretch, push, and actually break musical boundaries. His fans and jazz critics alike have come to expect him to be different and controversial. While his skills allow him to write and perform at levels that astound and thrill – his new CD provides a glimpse into the depth of his understanding of traditional jazz.

On his newest album, Friends, Stanley Jordan takes the time-honored path of inviting a hand picked cadre of special guests: 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 and modern. There’s a listener friendly samba, an airy spirit song and Stanley Jordan plays some serious piano on a couple of songs, revisiting his very first love, the piano, with newfound confidence and wonder. Listen to samples on Amazon.

Stanley Jordan who tours all around the world about 80% of his time, spent some special times with his friends to produce this instant classic Jazz album: Friends.He invited a host of collaborators for this rare gathering of contemporary jazz greats.

During a rare in-depth interview Stanley Jordan who will be in the Bay Area performing at Yoshi’s on October 11th and 12th, tells our UC Jazz Club readers about the cast.

“Friends” Special Guests

Regina Carter
“Through my classical background, I developed an early appreciation for violin, and that interest continued even after I got involved in jazz. So it’s no surprise that I’ve been a fan of Regina Carter, because she is an amazing violinist who combines my favorite elements from the jazz side and the classical side. I once read an article about her project in Italy where she played an original Guaneri violin, and in that moment I knew that I would thoroughly enjoy playing with her someday. So I was honored when she accepted my invitation to join this project. Her sensitivity on the Bartok piece is just so exquisite–it makes me cry! And her perfect blend with Ronnie Laws on “Samba Delight” is a fresh, new sound that’s full of lightness and joy.”

Reflecting on working with the violin virtuoso, Stanley Jordan continues, “Regina Carter is an amazing violinist who combines my favorite elements from the jazz side and the classical side. Doing improvisations of ‘classical’ compositions often means spelling out more than just chord symbols. In this case, I wrote out many of the voicings I was using so we could improvise in a cohesive way. The result was a dense page of notes, which was probably a lot to drop on Regina at the last minute, but she rose to the occasion admirably. The sensitivity of her playing is so exquisite–it makes me cry. The first is “Romantic Intermezzo,” based on the theme of the 4th movement of Bela Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra.” This deeply stirring piece features Regina Carter on violin and I am featured exclusively on piano.

Kenwood Dennard
No question about it–Kenwood Dennard is a drummer’s drummer. I hope his performances here make many more people aware of his incredible gifts. As a progressive rock fan, I loved his work with the band Brand X back in the 70s and I used to watch him perform with Jaco Pastorius in the early 80s. His creativity is unsurpassed. In fact, every time we play together he does something new that I’ve never heard before. We’ve played together for over 20 years now and he just keeps getting better! He knows his music inside and out, having a deep background in harmony and music theory in general, so he understands what I’m doing and he knows just how to play with me in all situations. Listen to how he adjusts his playing perfectly for each song. That’s why he is the only drummer on this album. I knew I would be in good hands. “Bathed in Light” is an original that feels like a “spirit song.” I had Kenny Garrett and Nicholas Payton on horns and Christian McBride on bass in a softer turn than the swinging opener “Capital J.” On the inspiration behind the music and title, Stanley Jordan muses, “The splashy guitar chords bring out the meaning of the title. Sometimes when we’re bogged down in the details of things, we get depressed. But when we put things into proper perspective, the clouds part and we see a rainbow. I was having one of those moments when I wrote this song.” On “Bathed in Light”, when we got into the studio I realized the song needed a keyboardist, but I had not hired one for the date. Mirroring the Zen of all this, Kenwood Dennard played live drums and keyboards simultaneously! He played the drums and the keyboard at the same time live in the studio with no overdubs!

Kenny Garrett
“I opened Friends with the straight ahead original “Capital J” (as in “jazz with a capital J”) featuring Kenny Garrett on tenor saxophone and Nicholas Payton on trumpet. So much of the great jazz I grew up with was built on a strong horn line.” Jordan remembers. “In the spirit of those great classics I wrote this tune. I first heard Kenny Garrett when my band was on the same bill with Miles and Kenny played in his band. Kenny combines a deep musical knowledge with a natural and effortless facility. My favorite part of “Capital J” was just comping behind the horns. My first experiences hearing Kenny Garrett were in live concerts when my band was on the same bill with Miles Davis and Kenny played in Miles’ band. He was always one of the highlights of Miles’ show. Since then I’ve always wanted to play with him. He is one of the more creative sax players around today. The level of his musicianship is astonishing! He combines a deep musical knowledge with a natural and effortless facility. In this way he is always a joy to listen to, yet his concept is so deep that you can listen repeatedly and find new things. His solo on “Capital J” is a thing of beauty. When we were in the studio preparing to record “Capital J” and he started warming up on the chord changes I remember thinking how grateful I was that he was there because he was absolutely perfect for that song.

Charlie Hunter
Charlie Hunter is a kindred spirit because he is someone who, like me, has found his own path for approaching the guitar. Our approaches are similar because we both wanted to expand the instrument into a more polyphonic, “orchestral” direction. But although we’re similar conceptually, we are complementary in another sense, because he is more like a bassist who also plays lead and I’m more like a lead player who also plays bass. This makes it easy for us to play together. On Friends we collaborated on “Walkin’ the Dog,” a hip trip to Bluesville which recalls the great B.B. King and also offers some edgier things going on around the fringe. I am so thrilled that got to collaborate with the groove master Charlie Hunter again. Our paths have crossed in many jam band situations and venues. We both play multiple parts at once, but he plays more in the lower range while I play more in the higher range, so we complement each other very well. On “Walkin’ the Dog” Charlie and I play the melody in unison first then the second time he plays the melody while I play a counter melody of parallel dyads harmonized mostly in fifths, giving it a modern sound that provides a cool counterpart to the gritty main melody. A while ago I went to see him in Flagstaff, AZ and he invited me up to sit in. We just fell naturally into a compatible musical space playing his tunes. Since then we’ve talked about doing something together, and here it is –hopefully just the first of many.

Ronnie Laws
Ronnie Laws is a remarkable and versatile musician who is at the crossroads of many musical worlds. He pulls it all together from be-bop, deep-pocket funk, Coltrane-inspired pentatonics and sweet ballads. His sound and style give him an original and very recognizable musical voice. When I showed him “Samba Delight” he remarked on how much he liked the tune. It felt really good to hear that, because I composed it with him in mind! We have been on the same bill in various live settings and we have always played together whenever possible. It was a true honor to have his contribution on this project.

Russell Malone
Russell Malone is unquestionably one of the top jazz guitarists of our time. He can play straight-ahead as well as anyone out there, which really comes through on “Seven Come Eleven”. And with his breezy melodic sense he is a very soulful and listenable player. He combines a playful imagination with a mathematical sense of structure and line, making him ideal for the atonal improvisation “One for Milton”. He had recently been doing a lot of playing with Ornette Coleman, so he was already primed for the kind of free improv that we created together on that day. His out of the box free style has always been one of my favorite aspects of his playing. This jazz super standard “Seven Come Eleven,” is a song made famous in Benny Goodman’s band as a feature for electric jazz guitar pioneer Charlie Christian. Bucky Pizzarelli played a rousing solo on it, and Russell Malone was great as he provided a cool yet uplifting spirit.”

Christian McBride
This was our first chance to play together, making it a dream come true for me because I have admired his playing for many years. He was very sensitive as he adjusted his approach to each song, playing just the right part at all times. “Christian McBride‘s amazing tone, his flawless, crisp execution, his strong melodic concept and his deep sense of swing make him one of the greatest jazz bassists alive today. His sharp mind and generous spirit and attention to every detail really come through on both of the songs he did with us.

Charnett Moffett
A take on Claude Debussy’s “Reverie” in a jazz context features my road trio of Charnett Moffett on bass and Kenwood Dennard on drums and me. The group has been performing this for many years, which explains the fluid ease with which we weave through it. We pretty much stuck to the form on this one except for a brief modal improv, which was obviously not written into the original composition, but I feel that it gets across the meaning and spirit of the song.  Charnett Moffett and I go all the way back to the Bay Area free jazz scene of the late 60s and early 70s. I used to see him perform as the youngest member of the Charles Moffett Family when he was 8 and I was 15. These were formative years, and the Moffett Family were my “Jacksons of Jazz”. Charnett Moffett and I have been working together since 1985 and there is no bassist on the planet who knows me better than he does. I knew I could depend on him to be the primary bassist on this project, and he came through with flying colors. He displays astonishing versatility as he approaches each tune in just the right way and he nails it all, from straight-ahead to samba to blues and everything else. His technical skills are unsurpassed and his creative imagination and sheer musical brilliance are an inspiration. There is no one else like him!

Nicholas Payton
On Capital J, Nick’s tone is fresh and full of life, and he creates interesting, complex improvisations while still leaving plenty of space.I had wanted to play with Nicholas Payton for a long time, and here I finally got my chance. The experience lived up to all my expectations and more because both his musicianship and his spirit were such a joy to connect with. His playing is so melodic, so facile, and just so musical! His tone is fresh and full of life and he creates interesting, complex improvisations while still leaving plenty of space. In this way he combines many of my favorite aspects of both Miles and Freddie, yet he has his own sound and style. I used to play trumpet a bit and it’s still one of my favorite instruments. Sometimes I feel like taking it up again, but then again, I’d much rather just listen to Nick Payton, because he is saying it all!

Bucky Pizzarelli
To me Bucky Pizzarelli is a jazz icon. I play jazz guitar, but Bucky Pizzarelli is one of the creators of the genre. I can hear so much history in his notes, and yet his sound is always fresh. He is a seasoned veteran whose chops are still very much intact today. I also joined up with Bucky Pizzarelli and Russell Malone to swing the classic Seven Come Eleven. When I first told Bucky Pizzrelli that I was thinking about doing “Seven Come Eleven,” he just lit up! I love the old time 3-way-improv we played toward the end. There’s a point in “Seven Come Eleven” when he pours on the fire and starts playing this furious chord-melody passage that just keeps going and going, and it would have surely brought an audience to its feet in a live setting. In contrast, listen to his tender acoustic guitar rendition of “Lil’ Darlin'”. So beautiful! It was a great honor to play with such a legend. I had wanted to record with him for many years and I’m blessed to have finally gotten the chance to do so. He’s also a great guy. He brought a positive, cheerful energy to the sessions and he was an absolute joy to work with.

Mike Stern
Mike Stern and I cut our teeth in the same scene in New York in the early 80s. Even back then I felt he was one of the strongest players of our generation. He’s brilliant, creative, sophisticated and so well-schooled, that to play with him is an inspirational experience! Once we jammed together on “Giant Steps” in a hotel at a jazz festival in Canada. He knew the changes inside and out, and he glided through this complex tune with the greatest of ease. His playing was so impressive that ever since then I have wanted to record this song with him. On this project I finally got the chance! And not just his great playing but his eager, youthful spirit comes through. His style is interesting and complex–not to show off but just because he loves to explore the infinite possibilities of music.

Friends closes on an ear-turning note with “One for Milton,” a heartfelt yet adventurous tribute to one of Stanley Jordan‘s most beloved music teachers, composer Milton Babbit (1916-2011), who passed away as Stanley Jordan was preparing to record Friends. He tell us: “I studied theory and composition with Milton at Princeton in the late `70s and early `80s. He was a giant in his field and he left a big impression on me – musically and personally. In Eastern spiritual traditions a guru is someone whose very presence confers enlightenment. Milton truly fit this description. Russell, Kenwood and I created this from scratch as an improvisation. I’ve always been a fan of Russell’s more experimental side, and I’m glad that it got a good showing on this recording. We didn’t try to imitate Milton’s style, but in the spirit of his music we did take an atonal approach. There are parts that sound to me a bit like Milton’s teacher, Arnold Schoenberg.”

Reflecting on the wealth of music inspired by collaborating with the amazing talent on Friends, Stanley Jordan concludes, “This collection truly speaks to my belief in the integrationist spirit in music. When you integrate styles, you combine them into something new while staying true to the original sources. True friendship is also integral, because it involves mutual respect.

Our true friends are like mirrors revealing the diversity within each of us, and at the same time their acceptance gives us the courage to share our true selves with the World. I am so humbled and grateful to all of these wonderful musicians who graced this project.”

We thank Stanley Jordan to make room in his busy schedule for this sit down interview to share his latest stop in his world-wide journey. He also told us that he feels more at ease with himself and the world than ever before – in part – perhaps due to the arrival of his very first grand-child by his now also famous musician/performer daughter, Julia Jordan, early this year. With a loving family and great friends life is good.

We encourage all UC Jazz Club member to come out for his shows on October 11 and 12th, 20011 at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Stanley Jordan looks forward to spending time with you again and thanks you for your on-going support!


Glyphosate, what’s the big deal?

Monsanto denies that Glyphosate is linked with cancer.  Other industry experts in this interview disagree and claim that there are many links with cancer as well as severe environmental damage.

Long term use lowered yield due to ever more glyphosate resistant weeds

“Widespread use of glyphosate has led to the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds covering an estimated 120 million hectares globally in 2010. So far, 23 species of weeds have been recorded, forcing Monsanto to acknowledge the problem and protect their profits by declaring that their warranty does not cover yield losses. Glyphosate-resistant weeds are threatening the utility of glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops. Resistant weeds are likely responsible for increased herbicide use. Argentinian use went from 2 to 20 liters per hectare between 1996 and 2010.” PermaCultureNews explains. That is a 10 fold increase of a toxic matter.

The National Pesticide Information Center reports that glyphosate is linked to cancer and to skeletal mal formation in the fetus.

When high doses were administered to laboratory animals, some studies suggest that glyphosate has carcinogenic potential. Some studies also have associated glyphosate use with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Glyphosate exposure has been linked to developmental and reproductive effects at high doses that were administered to rats repeatedly during pregnancy. These doses made the mother rats sick. The rat fetuses gained weight more slowly, and some fetuses had skeletal defects. These effects were not observed at lower doses.  Doses have been increased by 10 fold due to the fact that weed it proposes to eradicate actually grows immune.

Nature announces glyphosate probably carcinogenic to humans.

Nature reported on March 23, 2015 that the World Health Organization release a report stating:  “The cancer-research arm of the World Health Organization last week announced that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The Oncology Lancet reported in March, 2015, 17 experts from 11 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; Lyon, France) to assess the carcinogenicity of the organophosphate pesticides tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate (table). These assessments will be published as volume 112 of the IARC Monographs.

Wenonah Hauter’s investigative article in Ecowatch, a foremost provider of scientifically-based, environmental news explains why the scientific studies are often so feeble about reporting their findings.  She wrote:  “Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs charts the millions of dollars in donations the NRC receives from biotech companies like Monsanto, documents the one-sided panels of scientists the NRC enlists to carry out its GMO studies and describes the revolving door of NRC staff directors who shuffle in and out of agriculture and biotech industry groups. The new issue brief also shows how NRC routinely arrives at watered-down scientific conclusions on agricultural issues based on industry science.” Full article

The American Cancer Society gives glyphosate a 2A rating which means it it probably causes cancer in humans.  More

So what is the big deal with Glyphosate?   It lowers yield in the food supply, it increases weeds’ immunities and it most likely causes cancer, skeletal disturbances in fetuses, and it attacks the enzyme household in brain, liver and hearts of fetuses if the mother is exposed to high levels.

European governmental officials volunteered for a test checking the level of exposure in their urine.  The level turned out to be several hundreds of percentage higher than the legal limit.  Andrew Kniss wrote an excellent article for weedcontrolfreaks that shows in-depth research in on place.  Article  Glyphosate turns out to be a bid deal.



Jamala – 1944 (Ukraine) 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Jamala wins the contest with a song about 1944

The message of the song is widely discussed. In 1944 Jamala’s great-grandmother and all members of the Tartars were deported from their home land, based on Stalin’s orders. During the transportation five of her great grandmother’s children died.

Only after the Soviet Union dissolved was the Tartar family able to return to Krim. Jamala claimed repeatedly that the song is entirely a personal story about her family. She was born in 1983 in Kyrgyzstan and returned with her family to her homeland Krim, before studying music in Kiev.

Her song caused quite an uproar as Eurovision’s guidelines expressly forbid political content in songs. Since 2014 the student Jamala has not been able to return to Krim to visit her family. Thus the song is a most personal story. Personal stories are allow and encouraged.

She won the 61st Eurovision Song Contest 2016 despite calls for disallowing the song since it angered Russians. PRI reported that Emine Ziyatdinova, a Crimean Tatar journalist and multimedia artist explained: “I was just in Crimea. People have it on their ringtones. It’s a way to protest what is going on.” More

Little wonder that Russian government officials are not pleased. Tass, a Russian News Agency, explained: “The Mejlis emerged back in 1991, when the descendants of Crimean Tatars, deported from Crimea after being charged with collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, began to return to the land of their ancestors. When Crimea reunited with Russia in 2014, the Mejlis failed to have itself registered properly at the Russian Justice Ministry. Its leaders reside outside the peninsula and refuse to recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia.”

Russia is protecting its access route to the Black Sea and its investment in the harbor. The Independent, a UK news media company explained in 2014: “Crimea is strategically important as a base for the Russian navy. The Black Sea Fleet has been based on the peninsula since it was founded by Prince Potemkin in 1783. The fleet’s strategic position helped Russia defeat Georgia in the South Ossetia war in 2008, and remains crucial to Russian security interests in the region.” More

The Tartar singer wants to see her family, the Russians need to keep their country secure, the Ukrainians… well, the Ukrainians are still struggling with the basic concept of democracy.

Newsweek reported on April 16, 2016 “In the span of one week beginning April 6, Dutch voters rejected ratification of a long-awaited EU-Ukraine trade deal, putting Ukraine’s aspirations of European integration in jeopardy; the Panama Papers exposed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s offshore assets, sparking a media firestorm in Ukraine; and Ukraine’s prime minister resigned after months of political turmoil, sparking a political clash in the search for his replacement.

Meanwhile, the ongoing war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region is steadily worsening, and a ceasefire that never fully took hold is teetering on the edge of collapse.

“No, of course the revolution didn’t achieve its goals,” Onyshchenko says. “People are definitely frustrated, but they are too tired to make another revolution.”  More

Eurovision has come a long way from the days when Abba won the contest with their song Waterloo.  I just love Abba and their song Mamma Mia was such fun. The world is getting more difficult, or perhaps we are just becoming more aware of it.  With that in mind Mamma Mia let’s all remember that we should all be there for each other:


Kalervo Karlsson stuns fashion world with his amazing photography.

Kalervo Karlsson, stunning photographer.
Kalervo Karlsson, stunning photographer.
Kalervo Karlsson dazzles fashion world with his stunning photography.

Kalervo is a photographer, visual artist and a designer.  He creates Karlsson Portraits. His portraits are Elegantly Glamorous. Sophisticated. Gorgeous.

His gorgeous wife Niina as seen in the picture above is a designer, visual artist and a make-up artist, fashion designer and world renown jewelry artists. (

As a team they create these artistic Karlsson portraits ( together.
They are creating an unforgettable experience in making the Dream come True Portrait of you.

Make-Up and for hair the bring in expert hair stylists.

Want to include your favorite pet in the family portrait?  Nor problem. They have experience in creating portraits of people with their beloved pets and you may be a bit jealous because your pet will fall in love with them, for a day :).

Explore how you can leave the legacy of your own Karlsson-style Portrait to your heirs and luxuriate in the creative and enjoyable process of looking your best.

Explore an estimate for your “Day as a Princess” or a “Day as Queen” or “Day as a King” now!

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Kalervo Karlsson
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Great harpist/violinist Carlos Reyes joins guitarist/vocalist Rolando Morales May 28 for Sausalito Seahorse Performance

Carlos Reyes 2015 on violin

Carlos Reyes will join Rolando Morales for a short set to close out dinner. Carlos Reyes made his debut on harp with the Oakland Symphony and his debut on the violin with the Oakland Youth Symphony at just fourteen years of age. He has worked in the professional recording industry for commercials, solo artist and instrumental background music for the acclaimed children’s shows “Sesame Street” and “Villa Alegre” when he was still in his teens. He has enchanted audiences on international tours ever since.

Omar Ledezma Rolando Morales Gary Brown 2015

This duet will be followed by a concert and dancing to the World Class Rolando Morales Group featuring from Gregg Rolie and Dianne Reeves, the amazing bassist Gary Brown; from Lauryn Hill, the exciting drummer David Flores; from Venezuela, the Grammy-winning Latin percussionist/vocalist Omar Ledezma; from Paraguay, the thrilling violinist and harpist Carlos Reyes; and the powerful Rolando Morales leading the journey on guitar, guitar synthesizer and vocals.


An Evening with Rolando Morales and Carlos Reyes at Sausalito Seahorse May 28

Seahorse May 2

Saturday May 28, “An Evening with Rolando Morales and Carlos Reyes,” Sausalito Seahorse, 305 Harbor Drive, Sausalito, approx. 8:30-11:30pm.  After a full year away, these two passionate musicians finally return to Seahorse to put on their unique show at this fun waterfront restaurant and club.  The great Paraguayan harpist/violinist Carlos Reyes and passionate guitarist/vocalist Rolando Morales will play a short set in duet to close out the dinner hour, followed by a concert and dancing to the World Class Rolando Morales Group featuring from Gregg Rolie and Dianne Reeves, the amazing bassist Gary Brown; from Lauryn Hill, the exciting drummer David Flores; from Venezuela, the Grammy-winning Latin percussionist/vocalist Omar Ledezma; from Paraguay, the thrilling violinist and harpist Carlos Reyes; and the powerful Rolando Morales leading the journey on guitar, guitar synthesizer and vocals.   Don’t miss it!   $15.  Make your  reservations at (415) 331-2899.