Impressions is a rock and blues-fueled look at the instrumental range of guitarist Chris Winters. Having toured with Mississippi Heat, Aaron Burton, Otis Clay, among others, Winters appears to be extremely at home with a groovier aspect on contemporary jazz. On this album, the guitarist is backed by John Kattke on organ and piano, and Steve Howard on Bass; the drum tracks are varied between Larry Beers, Mark Gratama, and Kevin Johnson.
The album begins with the swinging blues-heavy sounds of "Trials and Tribulations"; it also introduces the intricate fretwork that Winters is capable of as he chops his way in and out of wah-wah’ed rocksteady runs. Delving deeper into the guitarist’s bluesy side, "Stacy" comes off as a sweetly melodic and B3 filled groove, while "Skippy the Peanut" has a heavier feel. "Mysterious Woman" croons with smooth Latin’esque fretwork, while "Sylvia’s Mood" is a superbly smoky cross between straight ahead urban jazz and Winter’s thick blues chops. Sounding something like a 4am southern rock ballad, "Love’s Lament" is an odd piece with panned instrumentation to give it a different feel; another of the album’s ballads is the smooth and sultry "Eye of the Storm". Running through be-bop, rock, and blues, "Back at the Jam", "Skuffle", and "Ventura Blvd." all have the feel of a purely improvisational jam session.
Although the album’s pre-mastering and sound-quality is somewhat lacking in areas, Winters’ songwriting and execution of instrumentation is excellent. Be sure to catch this guitarist live when you can.