Velvet Reviews....


jazziz By Jonathan Widran
It wouldn't be a surprise to find the glorious retro-soul CD Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite a fixture in Chris Standring’s disc changer. "Velvet" (Instinct Jazz), the guitarists’s first solo album after theblazing funk effort by solarsystem (led by Standring and this album’s keyboardist/producer Rodney Lee),
is full of glittery synth-created Hammond B-3 and Fender Rhodes flavors, hypnotic synth washes and gentle shuffling grooves, punchy wah-wah harmonies and dreamy, otherworldly effects. If Maxwell could improvise like George Benson, this is what the hybrid might be. Standring waits until the tenth track “Victoria Road”, before giving us a truly infectious electric guitar melody that stands apart from its rhythmic base and doesn’t seep into the next song. But the disc seems more about Standring’s Benson-like precision and technique, and brilliant vibe-intensive production than just tunes. On standout tracks like “Silhouette” and the sax ccented “Sneaky”, Standring and Lee effortlessly swirl the electric guitar melody with subtle acoustic harmonies, effective wah-wah kicks and some Crusaders flavored key improvisations.

cd world
Instinct Jazz presents the debut release from guitarist Chris Standring, Velvet,. With talent and creativity to burn, Chris proves that smooth jazz doesn't mean "snooze" jazz by incorporating many refreshing and contemporary sounds, from acid jazz and funk to drum & bass textures. Chris' elegantly lyrical and smooth guitar style presented in a cache of crafted songs are the central elements of Velvet, which includes guest appearances by Rick Braun and Kirk Whalum.

the jazz review
Favorite Song: Solitaire. "Funkycool" is a befitting adjective used to describe Chris Standring's debut solo release on the Instinct Jazz recording label. I realized that this word is not a word according to Webster's Dictionary, or at least not until he has listened to Chris's brilliant guitar playing on "Velvet". Chris comes out of the box extremely strong with his debut CD co-produced with cjazz trumpeter Rick Braun. Chris studied back home at the London College of Music before hitting the L.A. jazz scene with a vengeance. Working as a free-lance session player in London for ten years; hence Chris was a much sought after sideman here in the U.S. working with Jodey Watley, Omar, Bebe & Cece Winans and The Solsonics. Chris was also a part of the greatest jazz tour of 1996, "Guitar, Saxes and More", featuring Rick Braun, Peter White, Marc Antoine, and Kirk Whalum. On the title track, the song's crafty drum beat carries the song into its varies movements of Chris's beautiful guitar strumming combining with some sly flute programming to create a most cunning creation. For a special treat, co-producer Rick Braun brings along his distinctive sounding fluglelhorn on the "Cool Shades" track. Rick graces us with his silky sounds while Chris changes things up a bit and gives us a little wah-wah guitar effect while matching Rick note for note on this most blissful tune. Saxman Kirk Whalum is featured on my favorite selection, "Solitaire". Chris starts the song out with a quiet underlying melody and eventually opens up the door for Kirk to showcase his smooth tenor sax playing. These two artists commingle around a common melody and play off of each other's vibe to create a truly pleasurable aura. I've got a feeling that we are going to be hearing much more from this great new guitar player for years to come.

radio & records By Blake Lawrence
Chris Standring's "Steven" (Instinct) is a song we believed in from the first listen.  It has all the elements, simplicity, elegance, top-notch production values, and a melody you get right away, the kind of melody you could be humming after just one play.  It sounds like the kind of song that will not only work today, but will also be in our library a year or two from now. We moved "Steven" right into our power rotation - four plays a day - after hearing it just a couple of times on the air.

smooth jazz 105.9
Chris Standring's solo debut, Velvet, is all about precision and technique. Though George Benson is the most immediately apparent influence, Chris has spent quite a bit of time working with Rick Braun. Rick adds his flugelhorn to Chris' wah-wah guitar on the disc's debut single, "Cool Shades." Another outstanding track is the infectious "Victoria Road." As a whole, the CD is full of shiny-smooth synth washes, shuffling grooves and some of the best guitar work around.

smooth jazz vibes
Chris Standring's debut album on "Instinct Records" is one of the primest Cd 's I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.  This 11 tracks album is thoroughly consistant.  For one thing it serves up with a few different flavors, such as the track " Victoria Road " which in my opinion redefines the term smooth jazz. The instant I heard this track I couldn't restrain myself from moving with the smoothness of the beat.  As for " Solitaire ", this would be the highlight of the album with Kirk Whalum doing his usual thing which is needless to say impeccable each and everytime.  Chris lays out the rhythm with his smooth strummin' and leaves it open inviting Kirk's even more dominantly smooth tenor sax.   And let's not forget Mr. Braun and that distinctive trumpet sound of his, or in this case his flugelhorn.  Rick as always dictates the tune and then mellows out to meet with the rest of the instruments.  One of the finest debuts to come in a long time.   It's a sure bet for any smooth jazz listeners.

all about jazz
By Robert Spencer
Chris Standring is an English guitarist with classical training and a predilection for smooth funk-jazz grooves. His contempo guitar sound has turned up already on recordings by Bebe and Cece Winans, Jody Watley, Omar, the Solsonics, Carole Bayer Sager and Rick Braun.
He's played with Braun, Marc Antoine, Patti Austin, Bob James, Dave Koz, Richard Elliott, Boney James, Peter White, Kirk Whalum, and Al Stewart. Trumpeter Braun and smoothie tenorman Kirk Whalum appear with him on Velvet, his debut CD as a leader.
Velvet is. That is, it's a collection of laid-back playing by Standring and his mates over a set of deep funky grooves, creating a pleasing tension and a sense of the calm at the eye of the storm. Standring is fine throughout this disc, but "Sneaky" is a particular showcase for his groove-laden, bluesy approach, which is set perfectly over a Steely Dan-like keyboard foundation. Braun shines on "Cool Shades," with a mellow flugel tone; Whalum's moment comes on "Solitaire," and he is as smooth as ever on tenor. Velvet is cool, groove-laden, and danceable. A smooth start for Chris Standring.

WJCD 105.3
By Larry Hollowel
The liner notes on guitarist Chris Standring's debut CD Velvet (Instinct) include ringing endorsements of his skills from smooth jazz superstars, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun. In fact, they are such believers that they volunteered their help on the project.
Standring grew up on a farm in England, then went on to London to work for the BBC and various orchestras in London's celebrated west end theater district. Velvet is well produced and is a thoughtful balance of romantic lyricism and daring contemporary rhythms. Compositions such as "Silhouette" and the radio friendly "Cool Shades" are medium tempo tunes that show the guitarist/producer's ability to improvise around a melody while locking in a groove. "West Coast Changes" and "'Nuff Said" are more adventurous and funky without coming off edgy or busy. Standring has both taste and discipline. He is the most promising jazz guitarist to emerge from England since Ronnie Jordan and Peter White. Velvet will surely turn you into an instant Chris Standring fan. Let's hear it for farm boys everywhere!!