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‘Positive soul’: Jazz guitarist Chris Standring ‘upbeat and joyful’ on latest album

Life is full of surprises.

In Chris Standring’s case, he woke up early on a recent morning and noticed that his water heater had gone kaput.

Not something anyone wants to wake up to, yet Standring takes it in stride.

“This one has lasted me 13 years,” he says in a phone interview. “What are you going to do? It has to be replaced. It’ll get done. This is one small thing in the grand scheme of things.”

It’s this easy attitude that has helped Standring navigate a successful career in the music industry.

The British jazz guitarist is celebrating 20 years as a solo artist. He also released his latest album, “Sunlight,” on March 23.

“I release a record every two years,” he says. “It takes about that much time to put it together. I also have the time to write new material because I’m not sitting on a bus for nine months and touring. Mostly my tours are just weekends.”

Working on “Sunlight,” Standring enlisted the help of other musicians.

He has pianist Bob James join him on the track “The Revisit.” Then there’s British singer Mica Paris helping out on “No Explanation.”

Not to mention that saxmen Pete Christlieb and Brandon Fields, keyboardists John Novello, Mitchel Forman and longtime collaborator Rodney Lee; bassists Jimmy Haslip, Andre Berry and Roberto Vally; and drummers Chris Coleman and Dave Karasony also contributed to the album.

“For the first time, I feel a huge degree of comfort stylistically. ‘Sunlight’ seems to be a much more refined version of who I am,” Standring says. “Musically, I can’t shake off who I am. It just is. It’s a fusion of my traditional bebop background with infectious soul and funk grooves, and a sense of arranging and orchestration that comes very easily now. My influences are not from my contemporaries. They come from orchestral music, traditional jazz and European chill, lounge and progressive club music plus a good dose of R&B. It’s a weird mix, but I guess that’s what results in everything sounding like me when it all comes together.”

Within a week of the album’s release, it reached No. 1 on the Billboard jazz charts.

Standring says it was enjoyable to work on the album, which he says represents where he is today.

“The album is upbeat and joyful, for the most part,” he says. “Perhaps it is somewhat reactionary to these challenging times we are presently living through, but I am inherently a positive soul who tends to see the bright side of things, albeit with a touch of British cynicism.”

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