Chris Standring — Ten

Feb. 24, 2016

Smooth, funky, classy, gritty, edgy, and loaded with full-bodied grooves, guitarist Chris Standring is back with Ten, a reference to the Chris Standring Tennumber of solo albums he’s presented to us over his years of get-to-it soul-influenced c-jazz guitar work. This cat has that work-it-from-the-bottom- up attitude that always has staying power. Turn him and a great composition loose together in a studio, and you’re guaranteed to see sparks fly.

This album is filled with phat grooves from the very beginning. He opens with the sassy “Ready Steady Flow,” which not only features top-tier guitar work, a great funky rhythm, but Standring providing more edge with a talk box. In other words, the tune is just one good n’ nasty groove.

He follows that with a mid-tempo bluesy/soulful track that’s also driven by the forces of funk, “Snake Oil,” and his beloved Benedetto Bambino archtop guitar which you hear throughout the album. Saxman Dino Soldo further does the jam big justice.

After about 11 minutes of laid-back, reflective tracks meant especially for just sitting back and absorbing, the guitarist gets back to kicking in that dance groove as he jumps into the up-tempo “Like This, Like That” and a soul-satisfying, mid-tempo journey of melody and substance on “Soul Vibration,” again working that expressive talk box. He then works a slick, strolling, soul-drenched ditty called “Bossa Go Go” (this one may catch you a bit off-guard as the ‘bossa” part isn’t anything like I expected, but the groove lives in it just the same).

The album closes with “Never Too Late” (no, not that one), a soft, slow walk through the calming waters of c-jazz’s milder side, highlighting the introspective element that Standring can turn on so easily. Just drift away with this one, following Standring’s peaceful lead and the mellowness of Dan Lutz’s acoustic bass. A release for whatever is weighing you down.

I’m still very partial to Standring’s previous release Don’t Talk, Dance!, but this latest endeavor is still Standring blazing a trail all his own and always doing it with class. – Ronald Jackson