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Review: Chris Standring – Love & Paragraphs

John Hilderbrand Avatar

Acid jazz was the hip new style taking the States by storm in the 90s. While much of it was created by producers and deejays from abroad, two west coast musicians decided to tackle the genre themselves by fusing jazz melodies with hip hop stylings on the release Solar System (1996). The musicians responsible for that funky outing are none other than guitarist Chris Standring and his longtime co-collaborator and keyboardist Rodney Lee. Today Standring is well known for his retro-soul compositions on releases such as Hip Sway (2000) and Groovalicious (2003). On Love & Paragraphs, we find Standring exploring chill and ambient sounds while maintaining the soulful mood that his fans have come to expect. The album’s opener “Qwertyuiop” is a funky bass-driven groove featuring a smooth blend of Standring’s Fender Strat along with Everette Harp’s tenor. The title track is a snappy midtempo piece with a hook that you’ll likely find yourself humming after a few listens. I also enjoyed the more ambient pieces on the release such as “Liquid Soul” and “Have Your Cake And Eat It” which is co-written by Lee and features an interesting talk box solo by Standring. If you like your contemporary jazz with a retro-soul vibe, do yourself a favor and take a listen to Love & Paragraphs. You’ll be glad you did.

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