Chris Guthrie Project | Gaining Altitude

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Instrumental
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Gaining Altitude

by Chris Guthrie Project

The album is a mix of pastoral ballads and up tempo numbers featuring both piano and guitar, blurring the line between traditional and contemporary.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Gaining Altitude
4:20 $0.99
2. Bombi's Bounce
4:19 $0.99
3. Soledad
5:53 $0.99
4. Danger Cat
4:30 $0.99
5. When You Speak Softly
5:00 $0.99
6. Feelin' Snappy
3:26 $0.99
7. What Time Remains
5:03 $0.99
8. Good Old Mac
3:42 $0.99
9. Jeux d'or
4:48 $0.99
10. Elysium
5:07 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Gaining Altitude" is a new release from Seattle's Chris Guthrie Project. The album features 10 original tunes co-written by keyboardist Chris Guthrie and contemporary jazz hit maker Steve Oliver (who also produced the record). It's a fresh point of interest on the contemporary jazz landscape.



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Sundial Media Group

Contemporary yet classic. For fans of Lyle Mays, Joe Sample and David Benoit!
In “smooth” jazz, where the fan to artist relationship and the perception of community seems to count for more than the music itself, it’s a challenge to get new music heard unless it’s crafted by the dozen or so veterans of the format. Often, fresh releases come through like mass-produced product on a conveyor belt - without much to set one apart from the others. But for those who take the time to listen with intent, rewards can be plenty. In the case of “Gaining Altitude”, the new album release from the Chris Guthrie Project, there is a familiarity in the music that will appease long time fans (who insist the genre peaked in the late 90’s) but also the sense of exploration that comes from an unknown player.

“Gaining Altitude” was born out of a renewed friendship - between Seattle newcomer Chris Guthrie (piano, keyboards) and genre hitmaker Steve Oliver (guitars, guitar synth, bass, drums, percussion and vocals). Childhood friends from the San Francisco bay area, the pair met up in early 2016 while Oliver was on tour with Acoustic Alchemy. Those discussions spawned ideas - and the genesis of a project took shape. Subsequent recording sessions at Oliver’s southern California studio developed into a collection of tunes and the album was complete.

Having a built-in credibility, Oliver could have easily cranked out a typical, radio-friendly set heavy on programmed loops and R&B vibes - but the result is in fact the opposite. While tunes like the title track and “Danger Cat” have generous enough hooks and some electronics to entice radio programmers nationwide, the project on the whole is quite eclectic and charming. Guthrie’s playing on “Bombi’s Bounce” is rooted in a Joe Sample like melody which harkens back to the aforementioned glory days of contemporary jazz. “Soledad” (Spanish for “solitude”) sways along in a wash of world music meets fusion with Oliver’s faint vocalese teasing the name of the tune. “Feelin’ Snappy” would be a close relative to Santana’s “Smooth” with electric guitar and piano fighting for position. The back end of the album contains more introspective tunes that shine a light on Guthrie’s sense of lyricism. “When You Speak Softly” is a breezy track with keys and nylon string guitar weaving in and out in playful collaboration. The thematic tones and orchestration on “What Time Remains” are comforting and haunting simultaneously while the endearing ballad “Jeux d’or”, written for Guthrie’s father, provides a pastoral motif that approaches Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett territory in its arrangement.

On the whole, “Gaining Altitude” is a unique work that sits comfortably as a jazz album. At times smooth - but containing enough risk that it should please fans of instrumental music in many styles, decades and subgenres. Highly recommended.