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Bebop Spoken There

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Chris Standring Quartet @ The (Jazz Co-op) Globe Jazz Bar - January 17

Chris Standring (gtr); Alex Bennett (keys); Phil Mulford (bs); Jack Pollitt (dms).
(Review/photo by Ken Drew).
Chris Standring attracted a large audience to the Globe – 30+ in pre-sales - with many coming from as far afield as Durham, Teesside and Edinburgh eager to see this popular LA guitarist.  The trio supporting him are from SE England and what a Band they form! As solidly tight and polished as Clark Tracey’s quintet which performed here in November.   
A totally different style to mainstream, straight ahead  or improv jazz, the music was totally funk and groove based (not sure where the Smooth Jazz label comes from) but the audience thoroughly enjoyed the driving funk rhythms.  It’s not a style of jazz I’ve followed – but many obviously do, as seen by the keen attendance of his UK fans here in the North.  Chris lets the groove (along with his loyal archtop Benedetto) do all the talking (“You can never get enough of a good groove.”  says Chris) and together with the whole band produces a mix of soul-funk-jazz overlaid with a rich soundscape of guitar and piano/organ electronica vibe.
Chris’s guitar playing was spot on throughout, playing several techniques with ease across different styles and rhythms, the drumming (Jack Pollitt) was constantly driving yet varied with maestro solos by Alex Bennett on keys and Phil Mulford on bass.  The standout exception to the funk was the Jobim number  How Insensitive in the second set which provided a more gentle pace and a wonderful contrast bringing the guitar (and Chris’s musicianship) centre stage.  
On their way out, the audience had obviously enjoyed the night and those that I spoke to thought making the trip to the Globe Jazz Bar was well worthwhile.  Another successful night, drawing in many new faces to the still-developing venue.
Ken D.

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