Kevin Eubanks & Stanley Jordan, "Duets" (Mack Avenue)
Kevin Eubanks has gotten his jazz groove back since stepping down as "Tonight Show" band leader in 2010. On "Duets," he teams with fellow guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan for an intimate, relaxed session that's more spontaneous than over-produced, mixing jazz standards, contemporary pop tunes and original compositions.
There's a much richer palette of instrumental colors than one might expect. On Thad Jones' ballad, "A Child Is Born," Eubanks' gospel-flavored piano playing blends well with Jordan's trademark "touch technique" on electric guitar in which he taps the strings with both hands. On Miles Davis' "Blue In Green," Jordan turns to the piano while Eubank plays electric guitar. George Gershwin's "Summertime" is a solo spotlight for Eubanks who overdubs acoustic guitar and bass lines to engage in contrapuntal playing with himself.
Their electric guitars take on almost voice-like qualities in a moving interpretation of Adele's hit "Someone Like You." On Ellie Gouldings' electronic dance pop hit, "Lights," the guitarists bring out the nuances of the hauntingly beautiful melody as they delicately intertwine their guitar lines.
Opening and closing the CD are two original tunes — "Morning Sun" and "Goin' On Home" — that are pure guitar duets full of spontaneous interaction. Though this is the first recording together for these two musicians who've been friends since the early 1980s, Eubanks and Jordan display a special chemistry, complementing rather than competing against each other.