A few years ago I attended a festival where jazz guitarist Chris
Standring was playing with Bob James. In a casual conversation after
the concert, I asked Chris if he could imagine to join Fourplay as
the new guitarist. Sometimes dreams don't come true. However, the
question illustrates my appreciation for his music, which can easily
compete in quality with that of guitarists Lee Ritenour, Larry
Carlton or Chuck Loeb.
Well, as you can see from the numerous reviews of his albums, I have
followed his musical career with great attention, because I consider
him one of the great guitarists of our century. His new album
Simple Things will be released on May 22, 2022 and Chris has
just presented to the audience the first video titled Change The
After the passing of Chuck Loeb, which came as a surprise to me, one
appreciates the music and creativity of any good musician. In the
liner notes, Chris reveals to us that despite a healthy lifestyle,
he had suffered a heart attack shortly before the recording of the
new album began in March 2021. In view of the current situation with
the pandemic and the imminent danger of a new nuclear world war, one
is only made aware of the fragility of one's own life. If it is then
such a personal incisive experience, as it happened to Chris, you
begin to weigh one' s life and ask, what is important for me?
For Chris, it's the Simple Things in his new chapter of
life. "Spending time with loved ones, being present, doing things
with joy, thinking of others." So he considers his album a gift to
his friends and, of course, to himself, because Chris is a musician
through and through.
Besides Chris (guitar, keyboards and programming) you can listen to
his longtime friends, Rodney Lee (keyboards), Andre Berry (bass),
Chris Coleman (bass), Kevin Axt (upright bass), and Gary Meek (tenor
sax). Chris has written, produced and arranged all songs.
The album opens with Shadow Of Doubt. If one ever existed,
Chris blows it away with his Benedetto guitar. A funky uplifting
melody to awaken the spirits. Speaking of funk, we also have Bootsy
Collins. With Thank You Bootsy, Chris is building a
personal tribute to this legend.
Change The World, the first single of the album, reminds me
a bit of Ready Steady Flow. The sound of his guitar is
admittedly dominant characteristic. The emotional versatility of his
guitar playing is also remarkable. On A Thousand Words (For
Samantha) resonates a lot of tenderness.
On Face To Face, Chris brilliantly links the styles of
other guitarists. I especially liked the Prince quote. With
Ain't Nothing But A Thing he reaches deeper into the citation
box of music history with a conspicuous reference to James Brown.
On his new album Chris also serves us melancholic pieces with depth
and content. A good example is The Gist Of You. No Two
Ways About It makes it clear that sometimes you have to make
your choices and there are no alternatives. Chris sees it positively
in this case.
Many things threaten our well-being, especially when they get too
near to us. The term Too Close For Comfort aptly
describes this condition. Chris does not build up a threatening
backdrop with his melodious song, but envelops us with mellifluous
On Don't Get Me Started Chris invites saxophonist Gary Meek
to a featured sax solo with extensive improvisations. With the final
And The Show Goes On Chris sends a clear signal: "I will
stay with you".
I've been enjoying Chris Standring's new album Simple Things
song by song. This is the Chris Standring and his music as we love
Buy the album
in all stores
Title: Simple Things
Artist: Chris Standring
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Ultimate Vibe Recordings
1. SHADOW OF DOUBT 4:32
2. THANK YOU BOOTSY 4:49
THE WORLD 3:44
4. A THOUSAND WORDS (FOR SAMANTHA) 5:36
FACE TO FACE 4:39
6. AINíT NOTHINí BUT A THING 4:45
GIST OF YOU 4:09
8. NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT 4:35
9. TOO CLOSE
FOR COMFORT 4:02
10. DONíT GET ME STARTED 5:10
11. AND THE
SHOW GOES ON 4:12
Shades of Cool
Don't Talk, Dance!
Send Me Some Snow
Best Of Chris