Many years ago, there was a radio station, WJBR, broadcasting from Wilmington, Delaware. The call sign stood for Just Beautiful Radio and that was precisely what you got. No-one called it easy listening or anything like thatit was the early 1960sbut listeners got a predictable dose of Percy Faith
, Ray Conniff
, Frank Chacksfield, nothing too challenging. The announcers had a predictable style as wellmodulated, mellow, reassuring. In those days, with the possibility of nuclear war never far from anyone's mind, WJBR broadcast music which went well with sherry, a cocktail, or even a January snowstorm. Or if you were too young for alcohol or caffeine, then hot chocolate flowed. In any event, it was music to soothe the nerves. That format disappeared in the mid-1980s and remains a kind of memory trace of ostensibly simpler, if not necessarily better times. Today, it stands for nostalgia.
That is not necessarily a bad thing. Heaven knows a dose of the evening news today can send you screaming from the room. But if anything can bring you back, refreshment in hand, Wonderful World
can. Chris Standring
is a respected jazz guitarist. His liner notes strongly suggest he understood that the Covid Pandemic had simply freaked people out. So shimmering strings, a reassuring Kathrin Shorr
vocal ("Wonderful World"), and the exceptional, if backgrounded, talents of Randy Brecker
, Peter Erskine
, Harvey Mason
, Chuck Berghofer
, and others, may be just what you require. Listening to standards such as "Green Dolphin Street," so arranged, reminds one that these are beautiful melodies too, not just material for a blowing session There must have been a first time for hearing "Alfie," and it was assuredly not what, say, Buddy Rich
had in mind when Ernie Watts
refused to play it up-tempo and quit. Once upon a time, Johnny Smith
could bring similar peace to your living room as the elders tried to decompress. While it may not be purely nostalgia that Standing was aiming for, "something different," Standring avers; the stylized "Stereophonic" moniker that decorates the cover is something of a dead give-away.
WJBR would have happily programmed this recording before it went for younger ears in 1985. In any event, enjoy it as you will.
How Insensitive; Night and Day; Autumn in New York; Estate; What a Wonderful World;
On Green Dolphin Street; Alfie; Falling in Love with Love; Sunrise; Maxine; My Foolish