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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 World.

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 guitar tones.

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 him.




 


 

Biography

Website

Buy the album in all stores

Album Information

Title: Simple Things
Artist: Chris Standring
Year: 2022
Length: 0:48:50
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Ultimate Vibe Recordings
 

Tracks:
 
1. SHADOW OF DOUBT 4:32
2. THANK YOU BOOTSY 4:49
3. CHANGE THE WORLD 3:44
4. A THOUSAND WORDS (FOR SAMANTHA) 5:36
5. FACE TO FACE 4:39
6. AINíT NOTHINí BUT A THING 4:45
7. THE 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


Further Reviews:

 

Real Life

Shades of Cool

Groovalicious

Love and Paragraphs

Blue Bolero

Don't Talk, Dance!

Electric Wonderland

Send Me Some Snow

Ten

Best Of Chris Standring Remixed

Sunlight