Chris Standring

    Genre : Instrumental Jazz

    Perform on:
    Friday March 2, 2012
    First Media Stage
    Saturday March 3, 2012
    C1 PAC Hall

    Website :


About This Act :

Chris Standring, one of the most lyrical guitarists in contemporary jazz, takes his music to exciting new places with his fourth solo CD, Soul Express. Fusing his groovy, retro guitar licks with healthy doses of sexy R&B and cool chill music, Standring has created irresistibly hook-filled music that also puts his amazing dexterity with the guitar on full display. \\\"I wanted to step up to the plate as a musician while still keeping the vibe fans know me for,\\\" he says. \\\"This record is more about me as a soloist, while with the others it was important to get a particular groove rather than me playing great jazz.\\\"

Soul Express marks Standring\\\'s debut with Trippin N Rhythm, which boasts artists such as Paul Hardcastle and the Jazzmasters, Gregg Karukas, and Roger Smith. The CD\\\'s provocative cover photo, featuring a stunning, reclining image of model Holly Weber (, hints to the sexy music listeners will discover inside. Images inside are reserved for another model, Russian-born Yelena Ilnitskaya ( Instead of visiting a modeling agency to get the pictures, Standring placed an ad on the online bulletin board More than 50 women responded to the ad.

Likewise, the public has responded to the music of Soul Express. Already a smash at smooth jazz radio is \\\"I Can\\\'t Help Myself,\\\" co-written and produced by hitmaker Paul Brown, who\\\'s had a hand in more than 40 No. 1 songs. It\\\'s a loping, sweet-as-candy slice of groove perfection. \\\"Paul\\\'s brilliant in the mixing room,\\\" Standring says. \\\"He\\\'s good at understanding simplicity and what a song needs. He\\\'s a bridge between the artist and the listener.\\\" Standring\\\'s many fans will no doubt recognize another track on Soul Express that\\\'s already been a hit. He recorded \\\"Through the Looking Glass\\\" a few years ago as a single, and it hasn\\\'t been available on any of his CDs until now. \\\"I\\\'ve remixed it and it sounds even better. So many people have come up to me and asked where they could get the song.\\\"

As he has in the past, Standring pulls out his vocoder/talkbox to add spice to his selections, this time on \\\"A Method to the Madness,\\\" while Jeff Robinson\\\'s background vocalese brings a melodic, George Benson-like sensibility to the song (as he also does with the tune \\\"Mumbo Jumbo\\\"). Standring also recently purchased a guitar synthesizer, which allows to him play keyboard sounds. Listen carefully at the beginning of the title track, the hypnotic \\\"Soul Express,\\\" and you\\\'ll hear him playfully saying: \\\"I\\\'ve become quite a good piano player, have you noticed?\\\" \\\"It sounds like a Fender Rhodes, but it\\\'s done with the synth,\\\" Standring explains.

Standring\\\'s influences are in abundance on the CD. He says he had the soul-vibe of Erykah Badu in mind for \\\"Catwalk\\\" and the smooth and polished sound of Seal for \\\"Kaleidoscope.\\\" And he covers two of his all-time favorites. The first is Stevie Wonder\\\'s \\\"As,\\\" with Dino Soldo blowing harmonica and Andre Berry stepping in on bass. \\\"This song will be fun to play live,\\\" Chris says. The second cover is one that every jazz musician usually encounters somewhere along the way: saxophonist John Coltrane\\\'s \\\"Giant Steps.\\\" \\\"I felt like there have been so many versions but no one\\\'s done it differently than Coltrane did,\\\" Standring says. \\\"I wanted to challenge myself so I re-harmonized the verse and changed the rhythm in some sections. I recorded it full on the second take in the studio. Rodney told me, \\\'Well, that\\\'s the absolutely easiest thing you\\\'ve ever done.\\\' In fact it was one of the hardest, but I\\\'ve played it and studied it for so long I was prepared.\\\" The song spotlights Standring\\\'s jazz licks and his dexterity with the guitar - as does the track \\\"Shooting Stars\\\" - and is boosted by the swinging rhythm of Dave Karsony and bassist Larry Steen.

The U.K. born Standring had plenty of time to study jazz when he became a professional musician, but he actually grew up playing classical guitar on a farm in Aylesbury, just northwest of London. He later studied at the London College of Music and wrote music for the BBC and for several theatrical orchestrations before moving to Los Angeles in February of 1991. That\\\'s where Standring first hooked up with Rodney Lee, as they both were playing with signer Lauren Christy, a U.K. singer who had also moved to Southern California. In 1996, Standring and Lee released an acid-jazz CD by their group Solar System on Sonic Groove Records. The CD, featuring vocal covers of \\\"Walk on the Wild Side\\\" and \\\"Me & Mrs. Jones,\\\" introduced Standring\\\'s vibey instrumental tunes to the world.

In 1998 Standring made his solo debut with Velvet, featuring the hit \\\"Cool Shades,\\\" the first of two CDs that he would record for Instinct. The second, 2000\\\'s Hip Sway, offered the smooth jazz radio single of the same name. His next album, 2003\\\'s Groovalicious on the Pyramid/Mesa label, delivered the hits \\\"I Ain\\\'t Mad Atcha\\\" and \\\"Miss Downtown Sugar Girl.\\\"

As his exposure has grown, Standring has become a fixture on the contemporary jazz touring scene, performing solo dates and with package attractions such as the popular Guitars and Saxes. This year, in addition to two shows in October at the prestigious Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, he\\\'ll be starring in his own right with The Soul Express Tour 2006, which features Grammy-nominated keyboard powerhouse Jeff Lorber and vocalist Jody Watley. Watley, who scored several hits in the 1980s with \\\"Everything,\\\" \\\"Lookin\\\' For a New Love\\\" and \\\"Don\\\'t You Want Me,\\\" among others, picked up a Grammy Award for best new artist in 1987. In addition, both Standring and Rodney Lee have major roles on Watley\\\'s most recent CD of soul and chill music called Midnight Lounge. \\\"She\\\'s really a hip gal,\\\" Standring says. \\\"She wants to stay on top and do interesting music. With Jody and Jeff, it\\\'ll be a great tour.\\\"

Even though Standring stays busy with touring and recording new music, he\\\'s known for his spirit of giving back to fellow musicians. That\\\'s why he founded A&R Online (, a place for aspiring musicians to get their music heard and to learn about the industry. And earlier this year, Standring unveiled his latest guitar-lesson course offered on CD-ROM, Guitar Made Simple ( The home-study course is designed for beginning and intermediate guitar players and has 12 chapters covering everything from how to hold the guitar and learning chords to more complex procedures. \\\"It\\\'s different than others because it\\\'s my own method,\\\" he says. \\\"With every example you can click to hear me play, and there are lots of videos where you can see me playing.\\\" The new course follows an earlier one Standring created called Play What You Hear.

Standring\\\'s immersion in the guitar is indeed reflected in Soul Express. \\\"My fans will recognize the groove and melody that I\\\'ve always offered,\\\" he says, \\\"but they\\\'ll also be able to hear me dig a little deeper on the guitar. I\\\'m really happy with this record.\\\"