Standring - Groovalicious
Standring is no unknown in the Smooth Jazz genre. Albums like Hip
Sway, Velvet and Shades Of Cool paved as well-marketed projects his
way to the tops. His success has a simple reason: He is playing good
music. His new album "Groovalicious" is the consistent
continuation of this strategy.
Chris comments his new album:
"I try to make every record I do cohesive in a
slightly different direction". "There's always an overall
vibe in what I'm trying to do. The 70's vibe is the reference point
here, but the fun was that we didn't set out to make it that way, it
just happened as I got together with the guys and started writing. We
played the new tunes live and they just started moving in that
direction. Many of them were written in a real old school fashion,
beginning with me strumming chords on an acoustic guitar, humming
melodies and writing them down on manuscript paper. I'd bring them to
Rodney's studio, and if he liked what he heard, he'd get working on
the groove and we'd demo it. He's a huge influence on my sound. All
the guys in the band are part of this sonic architecture.
"The feel for the bass and drums is a bit thicker and deeper and
the groove and horn arrangements show the inspiration of a lot of our
favorite 70s funk acts like Parliament, Cameo, Ohio Players, Average
White Band and, of course, Earth, Wind & Fire," Standring
adds. "We're creating environments where I can develop my own
playing style, and it's great being open to new ideas each time out.
I've never been interested in hashing the same things as I did the
last time. Conventional wisdom says, if it ain't broke, don't fix it,
but I say, break it! It's important to push the envelope and myself to
the far edges while also keeping things accessible. It's exciting to
think of my fans out there, wondering where I'm going to go next. That
keeps me inspired as well."
Chris stakes everything on the swinging groove. I
Ain't Mad Atcha starts with a jingle-ring as we know from the
late Jinda. The song gets a jammin' session character with background
vocals of a bar (Jeff Robinson), an awesome brass section with Dino
Soldo (soprano sax), John Fumo (trumpet), Steve Baxter (trombone),
which was arranged by Chris, Rodney Lee on keys (with a Hammond B3
sound). In the foreground is the master himself. Chris plays a
Benedetto custom archtop jazz guitar made especially for him by
luthier Robert Benedetto. The sound is similar to the Ibanez used by
Miss Dowtown Sugar Girl
has a retro feeling with the typical soul choir and the hard stomping
disco beat. "The feel for the bass and drums is a bit thicker and
deeper and the groove and horn arrangements show the inspiration of a
lot of our favorite 70s funk acts like Parliament, Cameo, Ohio
Players, Average White Band and, of course, Earth, Wind &
Fire," Chris comments.
All In Good Time is
featuring the skillful flute player Katisse Buckingham. Great! Chris:
"He is a local guy in Los Angeles. He is probably the best flute
player I have ever heard, frankly."
The rhythm of Say What
reminds me of some of Herbie Mann's hits like "Memphis
Underground". Some flute tones and a thick Hammond B3 sound boost
this impression. Dino Soldo's tenor sax solo deserves the approving cheers which were recorded as background vocals.
Hypnotize starts like
"Dreamer" from the group "Supertramp". The
guitar melody on this midtempo tune is accompanied by swinging
Gentle Persuasion is
the right title which fits perfectly into the smooth jazz format. C.C.
White whispers sexy tones. No doubt that this title is absolutely
The first vocal song Come Back
Home features the singer Ashely Ta'mar. She is a young 21 years
old female singer who was introduced to Chris by Steve Harvey. Steve
is the producer of this track and also plays on this tune keyboards.
This Urban/R&B song will go to some Urban radio stations.
Fat Tuesday reminds
of some Michael Jackson tunes of the 80s. As always a perfect
arrangement and high-class performance.
Snowfall is featuring
the trumpet player Chris Botti. A Smooth Jazz tune pre-selected for
The title melody Groovalicious
demonstrates Chris vocoderized sounding vocals. Instead of a vocoder
he is using a talkbox.
A talkbox is a device that produces the classic "talking guitar
sound". With it, the musician is able to produce vowel-like
sounds, as well as consonants, words and/or phrases. It is not a vocoder
(a unit that electronically blends speech with a musical
instrument synthesizer), but achieves a similar effect via a much
simpler and direct method. The talkbox works on the principle of of
producing sound and directing it into the mouth of the performer. The
performer's lips and vocal cavities (mouth, throat, and larynx)
further modulate and shape the sound. The resulting "talking
guitar" output is then fed through a microphone and from there is
amplified through the PA system or sent to the recording console of
Ray Of Sunlight is a
mellow tune with nice guitar and bass passages. Stan Sargent plays a
warm syncopated acoustic bass. Surprising is the phone ringing in the
The midtempo Shadow Dance
and the slow Do What You Do are
obviously designed for the Smooth Jazz market too.
If you are searching after a good
guitar album with attractive tracks "Groovalicious" is first