The love affair that popular music has long enjoyed with the festive season has never been stronger or more enduring than the romance contemporary jazz has with Christmas. Over the years the discographies of many smooth jazz artists have been populated with at least one ‘holiday album’ and this has led to a wide range of individualistic interpretations of how music of the season should sound when played in a jazz groove. Now it is the turn of Chris Standring with the outstanding ‘Silent Night’, a sumptuous collection that immediately begs the question “what took him so long?”
‘Silent Night’ will be released digitally October 14, 2022 on the Ultimate Vibe Recordings label and is quickly into the seasonal groove with an enchanting rendition of ‘Deck The Halls’. Elsewhere and just as good ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’ is a number that demonstrates Standring’s boundless creativity while a standout of the whole collection is his take on the instantly recognizable ‘Christmas Song’. Another instant favourite is the shimmering title cut that Standring presents simply but with an arrangement exuding warmth yet all things considered the Smooth Jazz Therapy top track is the beguiling ‘We Three Kings’. With Dave Karasony on drums and John Leftwich on upright bass it passes the litmus test, and then some, of Christmas music you would be happy listening to in July.
Bass player Kevin Axt completes Standring’s backing line-up and all are superb in jazz trio mode for a hip rendition of ‘Winter Wonderland’ and, although Standring uses ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman’ to conjures up images of (extremely jazzy) carol singers trudging through the snow, it is his reworking of ‘The First Noel’ that will send your mind spinning back to how you remember the best Christmas you ever had.
Talking of music that has stood the test of time the evocative ‘I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas’ checks just about every box imaginable so to say that Standring takes this memorable tune to a whole new level is testimony to the sensitivity with which he handles it. It provides a fitting end to a superb recording that is sure to be a huge seller, not only this year but for many more Christmases to come.
Why not be good to yourself, download the album, pour a glass of wine, light a roaring fire and make your Christmas come early.