pianist Chris Guthrie honed his skills in different
formations. He performed as a guitarist in a jazz big band
(Cal. State Hayward) and in a jazz/blues trio (T. Lane and
the Nitehawks), and most recently played keyboards in an
alternative rock band (Fred Roth Revue).
The Chris Guthrie Project is a collaboration with longtime
friend Steve Oliver. The result is Chris' debut album
Gaining Altitude (2017). Chris plays on this album
piano and keyboards. Steve Oliver guitar, guitar synth,
bass, drums, percussion, and vocals. Both wrote all songs.
Steve produced, recorded and mixed the album at Westie World
The duo has put the main emphasis of the title song on the
optimal creation of atmosphere out of a minimum of tonal
sequences. The beauty arises from the lovingly designed
details. Bombi's Bounce reveals a special affinity
for the early Pat Metheny Group, specified on the keyboard
creations of Lyle Mays.
Soledad is surrounded by that intelligent,
sophisticated and magical aura of world music that we
particularly love about Steve Oliver's music. Danger Cat
draws its power from the fast paced parts in contrast to the
slow meditative dreamy section. Oliver heats the song with
Latin flavored guitar and drum beats.
When You Speak Softly appeals with the inner peace
that comes from composure and knowledge of one's own
ability. The group saves with notes, but they achieve their
effect with intensive force. The aptly titled song
Feelin' Snappy doesn't hide the Latin flair. What
Time Remains is introverted and calls for reflection.
The main focus is on constructive thoughtfulness.
Good Old Mac is a tribute to the Mac, as the title
implies. Many musicians use this machine for their creative
artwork. Indeed the Mac is Chris' first choice of creation
and at the same time the target of his creative process.
That's called killing two birds with one stone. Jeux
D'or are the French words for Golden Games. A
contemplative swinging piece that smiles at you. Elysium
is a section of the Underworld in Greek mythology. Commonly
it is also known as an island of the blessed. The duo is
exploring the realm of the New Age with this piece.
If you can win a musical partner like the shrewd
multi-instrumentalist Steve Oliver, you're already half
way to a good show. However,
Chris Guthrie has brought in his own genius on
Gaining Altitude and that way his debut album is
more than successful.