Guitarist, composer, and arranger Chris Standring is one of the most prolific and successful artists on the contemporary urban jazz scene. With 13 Billboard Top 10 singles and 6 singles that reached number one on the chart, Jazz Monthly has said of Standring, “One of contemporary jazz’s most dynamic and in-demand guitarists, Standring’s sensual chill, ambient soul and retro-groove pop jazz is fashioned around his trademark hip-swaying guitar.”
Now, with Wonderful World, his 14th release as a leader, he is once again pushing the envelope of taste and style with a project that is wholly different from anything he has done before.
For Wonderful World, Standring wanted to take his art in a different direction. Unlike all his other projects, he composed just one of the tunes on the album and instead concentrated on putting his own unique spin on songs from the Great American Songbook. The album also features a 19-piece orchestra, which is something he always wanted to do. He has been playing standards for many years, and he chose songs for Wonderful World that he has always enjoyed. Standring says, “I chose these songs because I like them but also because they could be arranged for a full orchestra or a trio setting. I think there’s something magical about the sound of a guitar and orchestra playing together, but I won’t always be in situations where it’s possible to use an orchestra. So the arrangements had to be flexible enough to work in a trio setting.”
Standring wanted the album to be lush and sentimental, and he needed players who could capture the emotional tone he wanted and also navigate the subtle arrangements. He put together an all-star band that includes RANDY BRECKER on trumpet, PETER ERSKINE, HARVEY MASON, and DAVID KARASONY on drums, and CHUCK BERGHOFER, DAREK OLES, and GEOFF GASCOYNE on bass. All are top L.A.-based musicians except for Gascoyne, who is an old friend of Standring and still lives in England. Gascoyne wrote the string arrangements and helped Standring create the feel he wanted. Gascoyne also assembled and conducted the orchestra at the famed Abbey Road studios.
Also featured on one song is vocalist KATHRIN SHORR, an alternative-folk/pop singer who has recorded several CDs with her group Sweet Talk Radio. She and Standring released a CD of all original Christmas songs in 2011. Standring thought her smokey voice would be an excellent choice for “What a Wonderful World.”
Wonderful World will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally everywhere on September 3, 2021