Chris Standring Is Ready for Prime-Time

Written by Michael Marsh

“Soul Express”, on the Trippin’ N Rhythm label, represents his third CD release and is, without a doubt, his best work yet. His first two releases “Hip Sway” (2000) and “Groovalicious” (2003) are very good and, are definitely worthy of adding to your collection. However, with “Soul Express”, Standring is absolutely taking it to the next level. This CD is strong from beginning to end, opening with a very groovy “Catwalk”. "Catwalk" is a head-boppin’, finger-poppin’ number, that will have you cruisin’ down the avenue in style. The second track mellows things out very well with a dreamy rendition of “Kaleidoscope”, followed up by a very nice cut entitled “Constellation”, in which Standring’s guitar playing will definitely have you thinking about Wes Montgomery. Standring keeps the groove rolling right along on the fourth cut with “A Method To The Madness”, a funky/mellow number on which he is joined by Jeff Robinson on vocal. With the fifth cut, “I Can’t Help Myself”, Standring settles things down again with an easy-flowing, bluesy guitar that will most definitely have your foot tapping on the floor. He is joined by Paul Brown, normally known for his own guitar playing, who on "I Can’t Help Myself" adds percussion and "groovyness" in abundance.

“Soul Express” is the sixth track on the CD and, it again keeps the mellow mood flowing along peacefully. You’ll definitely want to be in your favorite easy chair when “Soul Express” is on. The seventh cut “Through The Looking Glass” is the one that I predict will get the most air-play on the smooth jazz radio stations around the country. It just has that “smooth jazz radio” sound and I guarantee you will like it. After Standring has us peering “Through The Looking Glass”, he jumps into another mellow/funk number with “Mumbo Jumbo”, followed by his jumpin’ cover of Stevie Wonder’s “As”. Standring will definitely have your body rocking on this one, as he plays it fairly straight in the beginning and then starts to stretch it out with his own improvisations near the end. Standring closes out his CD with “Shooting Star”, which represents his tribute to the “old school” jazz sound, and “Giant Steps”, which represents his tribute to the “old school” jazz master, John Coltrane. Both songs are well done and clearly demonstrate Standring’s versatility on guitar. “Soul Express” gets 5 stars out of 5 in my book and, is a “must have” for your music collection.

Michael Marsh is the jazz reviewer for TNCP. To make contact, you may e-mail him at for review.