Hip Sway Reviews....

 

Hip Sway

All Music Guide/Jazziz
by Jonathan Widran
British electric guitarist Chris Standring launched his Stateside career playing edgy fusion in Los Angeles clubs, but he came upon a better path for himself when he met keyboardist Rodney Lee
while touring with pop singer Lauren Christy. Blending Standringís bebop nurturing and Charlie Parker/Wes Montgomery influences with Lee's heavy R&B leanings, the two released the dual acid jazz dual Solar System in 1996. Finally confident of where he was headed, Standring found his footing on Velvet and comes into his own by on the far funkier, thickly blues-based and more self-assured Hip Sway (Instinct Records).

Even without the ultra-cool poses and sharp, bleeding image cover photography of Kimo Easterwood, Hip Sway beautifully invokes a sense of old-school jazz sensibilities mixed with the acid-jazz ambience and powerful soul of co-producer Lee. The title track finds Standring echoing his muted Wes-bound melody with wah-wah punch lines, then duetting casually with the eager tenor of Richard Elliot before exploding into an irresistible brassy hook - all over Lee's moody blue synth harmony. "Glamour Girls" features a propelling "Sidewinder"-like vamp under Standring's note-for-note duet with tenorman Dino Soldo, which builds after each verse to a rousing, brassy crescendo; Lee does double duty on this tune, playing a Hammond B-3 solo over the vamp.

Fast forwarding to the present, Standring invokes a bit of ambient master Brian Eno on "What Is Is," as he and Lee exchange distant, distorted melody lines over a spaced-out synth wash as Dave Karasony's train-track drum patter continues to hypnotize. Ditto the gentle hypnosis on a cover of 10cc's mystical "Iím Not In Love"; Standring doesnít do much improvising with the melody, but his alternating guitar tones and the enveloping atmosphere - complete with barely audible synth horns - are just like, well, Velvet.

Gavin by Tina Salazar
Guitarist Chris Standring makes quite an impression with the release of his second full length. The first single and title track "Hip Sway" has deservedly received early recognition for it's unique mix of contemporary jazz style with a 60's retro-soul feel. Influenced by the likes of Cannonball Adderly, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith and early Hancock, Standring integrates himself among the musically elite and develops a style all his own. The mid-tempo track weaves a melodic flow of guitar hooks with the smooth sounds of guest Richard Elliot's tenor sax, giving listeners lots to appreciate from the first listen.

Tune Up Magazine
by Darin Scott
"Hip Sway" is guitarist Chris Standring's sophomore release, and it clearly shows why Chris is England's greatest export to the ever growing smooth jazz genre.(Chris was born & raised in England but currently resides in Los Angeles).

From Wes Montgomery infected octave melodies, to funky wah-wah pedal laced rhythm parts to some tasteful blues based licks, Standring covers it all and with authority. It is no wonder that he has become one of the most in demand session guitarists in London and L.A.

But this all instrumental disc is more than just a showcase for Chris's very impressive jazz guitar chops, as special attention has also been given to the very melodic & contagious compositions (With Standring writing or co-writing 11 of the disc's 13 tracks) and the well thought out arrangements, which makes listening to this disc an extremely enjoyable experience.

Another highlight of the recording is a cover of "I'm Not In Love" which was a monster hit for the English rock band 10cc in the mid-seventies (A band that featured a great guitarist in Eric Stewart) and Standring's guitar just simply brings that classic tune to life.

Chris Standring's star is clearly on the rise and you owe it to yourself to check him out.

Radio & Records By Carol Archer
New and noteworthy:
I'm knocked out by the edit of Chris Standring's "Hip Sway" (Instinct Jazz). It sounds like a complete natural. Standring cuts a mile-deep groove on this extremely hip track, on which he's ably supported by Richard Elliot's sly sax parts. Standring's songwriting and playing talent's really shine on "Hip Sway".

The jazz review by Paula Edelstein
Out front as a leader on his sophomore release for Instinct Records, guitarist Chris Standring presents some classic retro licks on his latest CD, HIP SWAY. Very nice groove, just the right kick and takes up where his debut release VELVET leaves off. This time, his very special guests include Richard Elliot, Dino Soldo, Tony Guererro and longtime partner, Rodney Lee, and together they make the kind of melodies that have you in an easy, smooth vibe state of mind. Chris wrote 11 of the 13 songs on the CD with the compositional integrity solidly honed from his classical training at the London College of Music and from years as a sideman both "live" and in the studio. The choice cuts include the title track which features splendid tenor sax work by Richard Eliot, the sexy and romantic "Georgina," "Ultraviolet," and "Small Talk," because of its "not-often heard" harmonica weaved through the melody. Nice touch by Dino Soldo. But it really all depends on what your definition of "is" is on the very happening track and sonic adventure "What Is Is." He sweetly caresses the hit love song, "How Deep Is Your Love," with a tender collaboration between his guitar and Tony Guererro's flugelhorn and Rodney Lee's keyboards and programming. I'd say Chris Standring definitely has it "going on" with HIP SWAY and will bring a fresh "Smile" to the contemporary jazz guitar scene.
Rating: Five Stars

Smooth Jazz Vibes By Brian Soergel
English guitarist Chris Standring (who made his mark on Rick Braun's Body & Soul and was named 1998 debut artist of the year by Art Good's JazzTrax) turned heads with his first CD, Velvet, which featured one of the best and most unique smooth jazz songs of recent years with the title track. The CD was classic - no filler - and was packed with hooks galore, great melodies and the kind of guitar sound that drew fans of George Benson, Lee Ritenour, Brian Tarquin, Brian Hughes and others. His latest CD, Hip Sway (Instinct) matches his debut, which set the bar high. No sophomore jinx here. Listen to the killer hook in the title track (enhanced by Richard Elliot's sax) and just try not to be swept away by Standring's lyricism.

Like Hughes and Grant Geissman, Standring has a thing for joyous '60s sounds, mixing groovy with today's acid-jazz sensibility - check out "Glamour Girls," the wah-wah and keyboards in "Big Feet ... Big Shoes" and the Sly Stone funky guitar in "Pins & Needles." There are two covers of classics: "How Deep is Your Love" begins with a Muzak feel, but eventually gets into gear with Standring's riffs and great percussion. "I'm Not in Love" is similar. There are some tasty cuts here, especially "Good Medicine" and "Smile," both so delicious, so catchy, so smooth. "Ultraviolet" is the "Velvet" of this CD, the song that stands apart for its innovation. Standring dubs in an acoustic guitar refrain over his electric playing (very Pat Metheny-like on this cut), while Rodney Lee's fast "drum freaking" propels the song forward. The CD closes with "Georgina," a ballad with drum brushes. Smooth grade: A+

Radio & Records By Carol Archer
Guitarist Chris Standring's Hip Sway balances a hint of soul-retro with a current smooth sound. The moderate-tempo title track has a bright and articulate guitar sound grounded by Richard Elliot's earthy tenor sax, a combination that cuts through without requiring undue volume or high notes. The "way funky" breakdown halfway through keeps listeners on their toes before the track returns to a more familiar ensemble sound via disco-like strings. While having enough deep tones and arrangement to help audiophiles redline the cabs, there's a refreshing openness that keeps the amiable, happy-go-lucky sound of "Hip Sway" light. "Glamour Girls" owes its satisfying vintage texture to the subdued rhythm organ and a sweet horn arrangement, and the good humored "Pins & Needles" is like up tempo James Brown for NAC.

ContemporaryJazz.com By Fred Scott
Hip is defined as something familiar with the latest ideas, styles, etc. Sway is defined as to move or swing to and fro. Combine both terms meanings as "to excite or swing emotions and favorable dulcet sounds." Standring has produced a winner for his sophomore effort. The title track is the epitome of blending acid jazz flavors with soulful motions. The catchy tunes on Hip Sway solidify Standring as a pioneering guitarist of this new decade. "Big Feet Big Shoes" is a cool, hip song which you can envision a carefree individual stepping through downtown amongst a large crowd without any apprehension of time or people engulfed all around, but this person knows the meaning of "cool" by their demeanor and walk. Hip Sway establishes many swinging moods and feelings, which are delectable and vast. Grade: A