Chris Standring Groovalicious Review by Jeff Charney July 15 , 2003

 

Itís been three years since the last U.S. Chris Standring CD (Shades Of Cool was only released in the UK and Europe), but that just gave him more time to hone his craft into something special. Groovalicious is a retro Ď70ís flavored feel of some new sounds for a Smooth Jazz recording. Yeah to that!

The first part of this project just blew me away. It starts off " I ĎAint Mad Atcha," which is going to be the first single. A very groovy piece (can I still use that term?) that combines guitar picking with some strumming in a hip sort of way. A horn section chimes in the background for good effect. It makes you feel like you are standing in a bar, holding a brewsky and swaying back and forth to the music. "Miss Downtown Sugargirl" is a Ď70ís party sounding song in a Ohio Players, Earth, Wind and Fire, Average White Band sort of way. Standring says itís Marvin Gaye influenced. Nevertheless itís a fun dance song with funk made into a jazz tune. Can you dig it? I knew that you could. "All In Good Time" features Katisse Buckingham on flute in live Herbie Mann sort of way, but Standring is just dripping with soul and funk on this song. His fingers are just humming. Then comes "Say What," s Ď60ís sort of groovy/jazzy move along. The Crusaders should listen to this!

The second half of the CD sort of goes into a few different directions. "Come Back Home" is strictly R&B featuring Ashely TaíMar on vocals. The 70ís theme remains on "Fat Tuesday" though more in a Smooth Jazz radio vein. Trumpeter Chris Botti gives a admirable performance on "Snowfall" which is a medium tempo, but moving Smooth Jazz song. Extremely radio friendly. The title track is funk, soul and snappy with a tab of the blues on some of the licks and a small tab of Peter Frampton on some other licks. I would have loved to see it played with a bit more tempo, but that is just me. "Ray Of Sunshine" has Standring just picking away, but it's the background and the song in general that is so different and kind of refreshing that will make you say that "I haven't heard it done that way before." Thirteen songs on this disc and I think that youíll enjoy most of them. I sure did. The CD comes out 7/15/03.