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Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States

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Chris Letchford biography
Chris LETCHFORD, a young Texas-based virtuoso guitarist, may be most well-known for his work with popular instrumental prog metal band SCALE THE SUMMIT, but the extended-range instrumentalist also has another passion - Jazz and fusion. Born in Houston, TX in 1984, LETCHFORD developed an aptitude for music early and began playing music at age 8. His passion grew over the years and he attended the Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, CA as a guitar major. There he met his future bandmates in SCALE THE SUMMIT and his professional music career was born.

LETCHFORD, whose career with STS began in 2007, developed a wide array of musical connections and friends, and pulling on this net, he set out to produce an album for that other passion of his, jazz. In 2014, with the help of friends from the band THE REIGN OF KINDO, among others, LETCHFORD wrote and recorded his debut fusion album, Lightbox. The album is a true amalgamation of all of Chris' influences, with motes of the virtuoso scale-climbing that SCALE THE SUMMIT is known for, groovy and melodious tapping sections, and lots of clean jazz-fusion flavor. LETCHFORD and his band produce a very mature and professional sounding album with Lightbox, which will likely pave the road for a very successful solo career for LETCHFORD.

::::Andy Webb::::

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3.73 | 6 ratings

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 Lightbox by LETCHFORD, CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.73 | 6 ratings

Chris Letchford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by buddyblueyes

4 stars Like the satisfied feeling of watching a John Oliver Last Week Tonight segment and knowing someone out there is fighting the good fight, listeners can be inspired and pleased to know that there are some musicians out there doing the same -- promoting exceptional skill and instrumental composition above the influx of regurgitated pop music flooding our secular world at an alarming rate, resulting in the acceptance of mediocrity by the general public as the norm. The music of the young Chris Letchford and the band Scale The Summit prove not having a vocalist does not necessarily mean a band should throw in the towel for having wider recognition and getting higher profile shows. Scale The Summit, through hard work and destined individual chemistry, has been able to open for acts like Cynic, Periphery, and Between The Buried And Me. Chris is more than the sum of just shred metal-based guitar playing in Scale the Summit. In fact, it's probably a mistake to classify Chris solely as a dent or metal player with this solo release. The music he crafts offers the listener a wondrous musical journey -- and for guitarists, a wealth of study in rhythmic variation, fresh phrasings and a keen sense of melody. On Lightbox, he offers these musical sensibilities in a lighter, jazz/fusion-type setting, allowing him to explore and invoke new dynamics, like space and tone, into the music.

Chris' vivid and clean electric guitar tone is stunningly majestic and blends exquisitely well with the piano, reminiscent of Al di Meola, but with his own charismatic feel. Bass whiz of the new guard, Evan Brewer, contributes to the compositions in a mighty fashion (and for those who are not aware of Brewer definitely check out his solo album, Your Itinerary). Both the drums and piano provide tasteful support without overpowering the music. The drums still retain a solid fusion rock backbone and offer up some tasty beat displacements more in the math rock vein.

The crisp music on Lightbox is poignant, the selected tracks are well-defined with purpose, differentiating this music from true jazz, however. There is no swinging, triplet feel on the drums, or solo explorations over comped instrumentation, placing emphasis on melody and tight, shorter arrangements with every note in it's place. Progressively structured in the same vein that Dean Watson and Special Providence approach their song arrangements. It's a great collection of songs that will hopefully provide die hard rock & metal fans a gateway to see if fusion and jazz music will appeal to them.

What's more, it's young, creative musicians like Chris and Evan that are encouraging the next generation of players not to confine themselves to playing just one genre of music. Much like my 5 star rating for Kiko Louerio's Universo Inverso, this reviewer was blown away and thrilled with Chris's softer, fusion-tinged compositions that offer just as much complexity as the technical metal world he's been revered for. However, there's a more fascinating emotional range and maturity present in this music. Mentoring instructors at music schools around the globe teach the philosophy that music is a conversation between the artist and the audience. In that regard (as I'm getting older) it's more satisfying listening to Chris' music now that it isn't screaming at me.

Wishful concert pairing: Special Providence (for the more metal side) or Dewa Bujana (for a jazzier ride).

Thanks to andy webb for the artist addition.

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