In 2003 Anthony Braxton Quartet went on a European tour which has become legendary. The members of this quartet were Kevin O'Neil on guitar, Kevin Norton on percussion and Andy Eulau on bass. The concept of the tour was to perform jazz standards and during the tour the quartet performed over 60 different ones. The results of the tour were two 4-CD sets entitled 23 Standards (Quartet) 2003 and 20 Standards (Quartet) 2003 released by Leo Records. Both sets received tremendous critical acclaim. Reviewers noted that Braxton performed jazz standards in an entirely new way. Rather than echoing, aping or diminishing the tradition he was reinventing it making both the past and present much richer than it was before. Now we are releasing the remaining 19 standards (no duplication with previous volumes), totalling 4.5 hours of music. The set is a must not only for Braxton's followers but for all jazz fans at large. Limited edition 500 copies.
Guitarist Mike Stern, best-known for playing rock-oriented fusion and in more commercial settings, surprised many listeners by recording an album dominated by standards. Actually, there are three originals included among the 11 pieces, but Stern also digs into such songs as "Like Someone in Love," "Moment's Notice," Chick Corea's "Windows," and "Straight No Chaser." Among Stern's sidemen on this fairly straight-ahead but adventurous set are trumpeter Randy Brecker, Bob Berg on tenor, and keyboardist Gil Goldstein. This little-known release is well-worth acquiring.
Guitarist Stanley Jordan (the master of tapping, making his instrument sound like two or three at once) has a wide definition of standards, ranging beyond jazz. His second official Blue Note release therefore not only includes "Georgia On My Mind" and "My Favorite Things," but Paul Simon's "The Sounds of Silence," "Moon River," the Beatles' "Because," and "Silent Night." But no matter what the tune, the main reason to acquire this set of unaccompanied guitar solos is to hear how here remarkable and versatile Jordan's technique is.