Dennis Webb - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 13:44:40 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Up close and personal with guitarist Chris Standring http://jazzreview.com/jazz-artist-interviews/up-close-and-personal-with-guitarist-chris-standring.html http://jazzreview.com/jazz-artist-interviews/up-close-and-personal-with-guitarist-chris-standring.html Chris Standring is a well known jazz guitarist who has performed live and done a great deal of session work with many super stars of smooth jazz. Today he performed in Avalon on Catalina Island at the 13th Annual Jazz Trax Festival. He played music from his current CD, Velvet, and his soon to be released CD, Hip Sway. The performance was first class as his band masterfully blended Hammond B3 and Saxophone voices with Chris's custom Benedetto guitar. My favorite song "Big Pant People" beautifully …
Chris Standring is a well known jazz guitarist who has performed live and done a great deal of session work with many super stars of smooth jazz. Today he performed in Avalon on Catalina Island at the 13th Annual Jazz Trax Festival. He played music from his current CD, Velvet, and his soon to be released CD, Hip Sway. The performance was first class as his band masterfully blended Hammond B3 and Saxophone voices with Chris's custom Benedetto guitar. My favorite song "Big Pant People" beautifully merged the sounds of hip hop into jazz. What a treat.

He trained classically at the London College of Music. Chris played ten years in London prior to engaging into the Los Angeles music scene. I asked, " when did you first become interested in music?"

At the age of two he was playing toy guitars and began on a real guitar at six. He said that he remembered listening to Glen Campbell when he was six to nine years old. While he was practicing he recalls that his parents would tell him that Glen Campbell was on TV and then he would hurry over to watch. Chris explains in his British accent, " Here was this great guitar player, playing this instrumental stuff......it was little things like that that just inspired me to continue." He took classical guitar from six to thirteen years old, then he became interested in rock and roll.

He went to music college as his interests became stronger. He took a year away from college, went to L.A., saw greats such as Robben Ford and Larry Carlton performing and he says, "that did it for me.....this is what I need to do, this is the standard that I have to attain." He went back to London College of Music and spent the next three years practicing hard while attending college. He played in London for ten years before coming to L.A., to work as a musician.

We talked about practice and how much he required.

Chris feels that he should practice more, but he believes that his technique is about as good as it is going to get. He feels that it would be nice if he could improve technique, but he believes that it is more important to get better at writing and improving his "melodic sense." He said that he is not really a great fan of very technical guitar players. "They leave me a little cold", he said. He is not interested in taking technique to a ridiculous level because it takes away from the musicality and "he wants to basically communicate to an audience of people who have no musical knowledge." He wants to make his music accessible to anyone at all. Chris believes that putting on a show is important, and he is just learning how to do this well. He wants to make something fresh by crossing genres and blending musical forms.

What would Chris be doing if he was not performing music?

"That's a very interesting question because for the longest time all I was interested in was in making it. I was very obsessive about my career. It took over everything.....I feel like I can sort of relax a little bit now and get interested in other elements of life, which I am hoping is going to help the music as well." Chris is very interested in web design and he thinks that the internet is an important factor in music. Chris has a very good site, chrisstandring.com, and is beginning to use it more. When he meets people such as at CD signings, he gets their email addresses so that he can communicate to them when he is going to be in their town for a concert.

How did Chris make the transition from a sideman and session musician to doing his own act with his own band?

He has always enjoyed being a sideman and he has recently played with some great performers such as Richard Elliott, Rick Braun and Marc Antoine, but he wants to be an artist, performing his own music. He most recently has played on the Richard Elliott tour, he believes this is Richard's best record by far. Even though one can make a good living as a sideman putting the same energy into performing one's own material is more rewarding. "I feel like I am doing something that other people are not doing musically, so that is a driving force."

I asked Chris to compare his experience of the 1998 versus the 1999 Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival.

He felt 1999 was a lot easier because people knew him and performing music under those conditions is more enjoyable.

What inspired your soon to be released CD, Hip Sway?

Chris explained that his very first album Solar System was a "hard core acid jazz" recording that was a bit too funky to do well on radio, but he loves that type of music. So he has now merged his mellow melodies with more funky grooves. "In order to make the music accessible it has to be infectious."

What effect do you believe that Art Good, from JazzTrax, has had on the jazz world?

"Personally, Art Good is responsible for "Smooth Jazz". Literally he started this whole format out of a studio in San Diego and it just went crazy, we have a lot to thank him for. And also, the great thing about Art is that he is an entrepreneur in his own right, he is not interested in following trends that anybody set....he does what he wants to do. He plays things that he wants to hear." Chris is sure that Art will play his own favorite tunes off of his new album Hip Sway when it is released.
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Dennis Webb) Jazz Artist Interviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 11:20:07 -0600
Groov'in For Grover http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/groov-in-for-grover.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/groov-in-for-grover.html It was a treat to attend this concert at the Historic Pabst Theater to listen to jazz super stars Gerald Albright, Richard Elliott, Jeff Lorber, and Paul Taylor. This was a perfect venue to celebrate the life of a classy jazz artist, Grover Washington Jr. A wonderfully diverse crowd gathered to experience the awesome concert ahead. As the concert began, Jeff Lorber came on stage first and introduced Paul Taylor, Paul then introduced Richard Elliott, and then Richard introduced Gerald Albright
It was a treat to attend this concert at the Historic Pabst Theater to listen to jazz super stars Gerald Albright, Richard Elliott, Jeff Lorber, and Paul Taylor. This was a perfect venue to celebrate the life of a classy jazz artist, Grover Washington Jr. A wonderfully diverse crowd gathered to experience the awesome concert ahead.

As the concert began, Jeff Lorber came on stage first and introduced Paul Taylor, Paul then introduced Richard Elliott, and then Richard introduced Gerald Albright. Gerald then told the audience about the format. The first set consisted of songs written or covered by the fabulous four artists from their most popular releases, and the second set was all about Grover Washington Jr. Both sets went on for about an hour each. It was awesome.

Paul played first with the backup group, which included Nathan East on bass guitar. They played Run Away and On The Move. The sound mix continued to improve for the first few tunes and by the time Richard came to the stage and played Crush with his famous tenor sax the audience was already screaming and standing on their feet.

When Richard played his famous cover You Make Me Feel So Good the crowd was already up to full speed. Richard then introduced Gerald Albright who played his soulful alto sax through a very smooth My My My. The mixture of tunes was excellent and fit well with the format as Jeff Lorber did a great job of blending and providing continuity.

Gerald introduced a new CD called Kicking It Up by playing a great song, To The MAX. Jeff, a Narada artist, then played Gigabyte accompanied by Gerald on tenor sax. The whole group entered the stage to finish the set with another Lorber cover, Ain’t Nobody But You. Lorber needed to get out from behind the upright keyboards for this one so he strapped on his "guitar-like" keyboard for the grand finale to the first set. The audience responded with enthusiasm and appreciation.

The second set began with Soulful Strut played on soprano sax by Paul and Gerald. Richard played Inner City Blues masterfully on tenor sax, followed by the very, very mellow alto sax of Paul Taylor. Wow this was some really cool stuff.

Gerald and Richard then received a standing ovation for Black Forrest. It was beginning to feel like Grover was in the room. I only had the pleasure of hearing him one time live, on Catalina Island. It was a treat and this brought back a lot of wonderful memories of that evening.

In a dueling fashion Paul and Richard played Can You Dig It and the crowd began to stand and clap to the music for the rest of the evening. This was great. Anyone that gets the chance to hear this concert really should, especially if you loved Grover like most jazz listeners did.

Gerald played Wine Light next then everyone came to the stage again for the finale of Mr. Magic. All again played, all the audience stood to give their applause. Everyone played the encore, On The Cusp. At this point a jam session ensued. Wow, what a night. Most people were exhausted by now, but everyone was very appreciative of a great performance by a great group of musicians.

I was awfully happy to be there.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Dennis Webb) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:36:55 -0600
3rd Annual Zeigler Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/3rd-annual-zeigler-kettle-moraine-jazz-festival.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/3rd-annual-zeigler-kettle-moraine-jazz-festival.html The 2001 version of this event just ended and in this writers opinion it was a huge success. This is based primarily on the very positive fan reaction, enthusiasm generated by the performers, and my own humble opinion based on the mission of the founders of this event, more information on these views are explained at http://kmjazz.com/bg.htm. I have been to the Jazz Trax Catalina festival eight times and would recommend it to anyone, but considering that Kettle Moraine is a benefit and wa
The 2001 version of this event just ended and in this writers opinion it was a huge success. This is based primarily on the very positive fan reaction, enthusiasm generated by the performers, and my own humble opinion based on the mission of the founders of this event, more information on these views are explained at http://kmjazz.com/bg.htm. I have been to the Jazz Trax Catalina festival eight times and would recommend it to anyone, but considering that Kettle Moraine is a benefit and was started as an idea to raise a few bucks for the community activities of West Bend Wisconsin, trust me, it is awesome. It is very difficult to compete with the beauty of a place like Catalina California, but the farm community of West Bend offers a bit of natural beauty as well, and by the way Art Good of Jazz Trax showed up to check it out last year (As any of you followers of Jazz Trax know, Art is a huge baseball fan and came back this year to among other things, see Miller Park and his Padres vs. the Brewers.)

Performers at the festival are world class, but the atmosphere is laid back and very midwestern .I should know I live here. By the way, we have cool stuff too you know. A food court and art galleries encircle the stage area tent. The sound system is very adequate for the performers. As you all know some smooth jazz is quite intensely loud and dynamic .while very smooth, as are the very cool people that enjoy this music. This crowd is quite civilized. General seating is first come first serve. Early arrival at the gate insures an awesome seat. Others respect the claim that you've staked on your seat throughout the day as you visit other on site locations to mingle, acquire food, beverages, or art.

This year the inclement weather was barely noticed as greats Daryl Stuermer and Peter White played around the rainstorm while the crowd-sought shelter under the tent. The entertainment this year included the great artists listed above plus Jesse Cook, Ramsey Lewis, Chieli Minucci & Special EFX, and awesome entertainer and closing showman Rick Braun. More information on these artists can be found at http://kmjazz.com/enter.htm.

Very good talent from local Midwest groups Lake Effect and Christopher's Project helped to complete the show.

Lake Effect has been together with this group of musicians for about a year and they are currently in the process of recording a CD. Their original music titles "Jet Set," "Mister Groove," and "Urban Dance" to name a couple were well thought out and very enjoyable sounds. The group also played some covers with a lot of class. Their sound seems to modeled after the Yellow Jackets and a former Milwaukee group called Oceans. (Note: Lake Effect will be performing at a Milwaukee venue called Astor Street on September 21.)

Christopher's Project a very good Milwaukee-based group played with a lot of enthusiasm and force. They have been nominated for the Wisconsin WAMI's, in the categories of rhythm and blues and contemporary jazz. They have released a couple of CD's and play at numerous venues in the Milwaukee area.

But I must admit ..although most of the people at Kettle Moraine this year were awesome and are personal favorites of mine, it really blew me away that the Ramsey Lewis Trio was on stage 45 minutes North of Milwaukee in a little town called West Bend. Wow, I really enjoyed their performance.

Ramsey Lewis has had three Grammy awards and five gold records. He discussed the basis for his music and said that certainly jazz, but also classical and gospel played a very heavy influence in his music. He and his group were able to make such wonderful music with minimal amplification. His adept piano playing is very enjoyable to listen to. One shouldn't be too surprised; Ramsey began playing at four and has played professionally throughout the country for over forty years. What a wonderful performer and what a wonderful performance.

Ivory pyramid is the name of his recording studio and production company. His 1999 Narada Records release "APPASSIONATA" reflects the three musical influences mentioned above. He not only hosts a weekday morning drive time show in Chicago on WNUA-FM, but hosts a syndicated weekly program, "Legends of Jazz," and "Jazz Central" on BET (Black Entertainment Television).
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Dennis Webb) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:35:40 -0600