Courtesy of LIVAMP; live-streamed in it’s entirety from the Pizza Express Jazz Club Dean st Soho in London, July 14th 2016.
New recording planned soon for our songwriting collaboration – this is our first recording, from last year. The new direction is more electric/rocky/bluesy.
Playing with Memphis legend Charlie at Ronnie Scott’s Sunday 09th October – fantastic band, music from his latest album New Souvenirs
Brand new group formed by incredible pianist John Turville, playing contemporary tango quintets. The Almagro Ensemble is a new group comprising some of the most exciting players and composers in the UK. We aim to present some of the new innovations in tango from Argentina to a European audience, commission new works from Argentine composers and compose brand new music exploring the space between the tango, jazz and contemporary classical worlds. Website just launched at www.almagroensemble.com
Nice review for new album in ‘Get Ready to Rock’:
Perdido [Release date 10.06.16]
Chris Allard probably won’t thank me for saddling him with the jazz fusion tag, but he’s a subtle guitarist who evokes the likes of John Schofield and Lee Ritenour over 10 tracks full of inspired interplay, essential spontaneity and deep solos that rise surreptitiously from the most introspective of beginnings.
Allard is a touch player who gently caresses his strings and varies the intensity of his notes to explore different nuances. On the second track ‘Critter’, he pushes the trio on to another level with sculpted, crystal clear guitar lines that make an emotional connection.
He’s also a conversational guitarist who engages the listener with an ethereal feel to beguile us with the gentlest of touch, while his restless creativity leads to spiralling solos that always retain a linear direction.
He also sets himself little tensions which are resolved by a clever use of dynamics over a melange of styles. His music may be rooted in jazz fusion, but it’s not necessarily defined by that genre.
He cuts the main body of the tracks with his trio and then overlays them with a variety of tones, while the gap between the two provides a potent dynamic thrust.
Listen for example, to the chiming resonance of the title track, on which he threads a delicate web of interwoven guitar lines, which snake their way through the song like a guide.
On the opening ‘Morphic Resonance’, he spends the first 1 minute and 45 seconds constructing an introspective ambient landscape before any semblance of a thematic development, while building up a tension with strummed chords.
The understated style is revisited on the sonic featherbed of ‘Extended Mind’ which draws the listener into another angular journey.
‘Hekla’ is a meditative tranquil piece with an undulating sweep, melodic beauty and a well crafted finish with a gentle fade. Coming at just past the half way point, it acts as a musical pit-stop, before Allard heads into the fusiony ‘Finn’, a track glued together by yet more intricate interplay.
Wayne Shorter’s ‘Fall’ provides an exhilarating lift to the album as Allard makes a deft use of space, time and a delicate tone to make the piece his own.
Bassist Oli Hayhurst is both an unobtrusive accompanist and an occasional soloist, as on the gently plucked ‘Distant Storm Clouds’, a percolating piece which evokes the song title perfectly.
Drummer Nick Smalley’s consistent phrasing also gives the album substance and continuity, allowing Allard’s notes to rise, twinkle and fill the tracks with tonal variety and a range of emotional nuances.
In an age of instant downloads and short attention spans, ‘Invisible Landscape’ is a brave album built on artistic integrity, framed by Allard’s inventive musical vision and realized by the band’s technical and improvisational excellence. ****
Review by Pete Feenstra
Chris Allard releases ‘Invisible Landscape’ on 10th June through Perdido Records [DOR-1601], his fourth album as a leader. Regarded as one of the UK’s finest contemporary jazz guitarists/composers, he has performed and recorded with Jacqui Dankworth, Gwilym Simcock, the BBC Big Band and Jamie Cullum, amongst others. A guitar-led contemporary jazz group firmly rooted in and informed by jazz tradition, yet encompassing elements of rock, world, classical, blues and folk influences, the Chris Allard Band has performed all over the UK and in Europe, including the International Guitar Festival and Ronnie Scott’s. Critical acclaim has included 4 stars in Guitarist Magazine.
Returning to the open yet challenging guitar trio format, ‘Invisible Landscape’ features top musicians Oli Hayhurst on double bass and Nick Smalley on drums. After laying down the main guitar parts on Gibson 335 electric guitar live with the trio, extra guitar parts were added to a number of the pieces – dimensions and colours of various different guitars; steel-string acoustic, classical guitar, other electric guitars with differing textures and effects.
‘Invisible Landscape’ features seven original tunes, plus a trio version of Wayne Shorter’s beautiful ballad ‘Fall’, and two songs with very special guest; Memphis legend Charlie Wood on vocals and keys: ‘Let’s Get Lost’, and ‘Was’.
Chris is playing guitar in the orchestra for the UK Il Divo arena tour in May 2016, with venues including the O2 arena in London
Charlie Wood’s song Promised Land won the ‘World’s Leading International Songwriting Competition’, jazz category, 2015. Reporting this rather late as I only just heard about it… Very proud to play on this record.
Here we are in studio recording it:
The Gatehouse Theatre, Highgate, London – 31st August at 2pm. £20/£18.
Playing Charlie’s latest album New Souvenirs – with all the musicians from the album.
Charlie Wood (piano/keys/vocals), Tom Walsh (trumpet), Ben Castle (tenor saxophone), Mark Nightingale (trombone),
Chris Allard (guitar), Dudley Phillips (bass), Nic France (drums).
Currently on 80+ date tour with the UK’s biggest-selling classical artist, multi-platinum singer Russell Watson. Very eclectic programme, and fantastic lineup of piano, string quartet, and Chris is playing classical, steel-string acoustic and electric guitars, and also electric bass and mandolin. And there’s a choir. Too many dates to put on gig list – come along if near you!