The March 23 album release, featuring appearances by Bob James and Mica Paris, will be preceded by the rousing radio single, “Love Street.”
STUDIO CITY (18 January 2018): Much like a prism refracts light into a colorful spectrum, guitarist Chris Standring’s “Sunlight” reflects rays of multihued jazz into a vibrant sonic palette of joy and positivity. The Los Angeles-based, native Brit will drop his twelfth album on March 23 on the Ultimate Vibe Recordings label, marking the twentieth anniversary since the release of his debut disc (“Velvet”). Paving the way for the new collection penned and produced by Standring is the jaunty “Love Street,” set to cast an alluring spell as the first radio single.
Diverse strains of jazz reign on “Sunlight” with Standring’s clean electric jazz guitar shining brightly throughout the ten tracker plus a reprise that closes the session. The prevailing sounds and engaging textures create warm, organic backdrops for his nimble fretwork forays that traverse lush rhythms and grooves. Wave after wave of Fender Rhodes keyboards and Hammond B3 organ wash over the taut beats serving as the rhythmic spine. Vintage elements offer a compelling contrast to the imaginative electronic nuances, deftly making the recordings feel retro, futuristic, experimental and visionary all at the same time while Standring’s cool-toned guitar slices through to the fore cranking out nifty licks, precision fills and impassioned melodic sojourns.
Helping flush out his vision for “Sunlight,” Standring shares the spotlight with contemporary jazz forefather Bob James (piano) on the stratospheric exploration “The Revisit” and UK soul-pop chanteuse Mica Paris on the lusty R&B, jazz and electronic hybrid “No Explanation,” the latter a tune he wrote with seven-time Grammy nominee Lauren Christy. Also lending their artistry to the platter are noted saxmen Pete Christlieb and Brandon Fields, keyboardists John Novello, Mitchel Forman and longtime collaborator Rodney Lee; bassists Jimmy Haslip, Andre Berry and Roberto Vally; and drummers Chris Coleman and Dave Karasony.
“For the first time, I feel a huge degree of comfort stylistically. ‘Sunlight’ seems to be a much more refined version of who I am. Musically, I can’t shake off who I am. It just is. It’s a fusion of my traditional be-bop background with infectious soul and funk grooves, and a sense of arranging and orchestration that comes very easily now. My influences are not from my contemporaries. They come from orchestral music, traditional jazz and European chill, lounge and progressive club music plus a good dose of R&B. It’s a weird mix, but I guess that’s what results in everything sounding like me when it all comes together,” said Standring who purposely infused the set with uplifting notes of hope and glee.
Perhaps a commentary on our times or just a thoughtful embrace of a longtime personal favorite, Standring reimagines Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows” as a serene guitar meditation.
“The album is upbeat and joyful for the most part. Perhaps it is somewhat reactionary to these challenging times we are presently living through, but I am inherently a positive soul who tends to see the bright side of things, albeit with a touch of British cynicism. Sunlight represents positivity and joy to me, hence the title.”
Standring celebrated three No. 1 singles in 2017: his solo hit “Like This, Like That,” and duet collaborations with trumpeter Cindy Bradley (“Category A”) and two-time Grammy-winning producer-guitarist Paul Brown (“Piccadilly Circus”). The classically-trained guitarist’s ambitious catalogue of instrumental R&B, soul jazz and electronica includes his hit debut single, “Cool Shades”; the No. 1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Track of the Year in 2010, “Bossa Blue”; and a 2014 Billboard No. 1 single, “Sneakin’ Out the Front Door.” Coming to the U.S. after a lengthy and prosperous run at the BBC and on London’s West End in theatrical orchestras, Standring was a session ace who recorded with Jody Watley and Bebe & Cece Winans among many others. He partnered with Lee to form the acid jazz outfit SolarSystem before touring extensively backing trumpeter Rick Braun. Standring issued “Velvet” soon after, launching his solo mission that continues to climb in trajectory and scope.