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Chris Standring: Soul Express

Chris Standring, one of the most lyrical guitarists in smooth jazz, is an expert at fusing groovy, retro-guitar licks with big dollops of sexy R&B and cool chill music. On Soul Express he also proves he’s a player with some amazing guitar solos.

Standring called in the Babyface of smooth jazz, Paul Brown, to add a rhythmic kick to his first single, the alluring “I Can’t Help Myself.” It’s a loping, sweet piece of frothy ear candy. Standring’s fans will probably recognize another sweet tune, a remixed track on the CD that’s already been a hit. He recorded “Through the Looking Glass” a few years ago as a single, and it hasn’t been available on any of his CDs until now.

As he likes to do, Standring pulls out his vocoder on “A Method to the Madness,” while Jeff Robinson’s background vocalese brings a melodic, George Benson-like sensibility to the track. Standring’s influences are in abundance on the CD, which once again features the talents of his musical partner Rodney Lee. The soul-vibe of Erykah Badu comes to mind in “Catwalk” and the smooth and polished sound of Seal in “Kaleidoscope.” The guitarist even tackles John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” where he reharmonizes the verse and alters the rhythm in some sections.

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