Justin Stanton & Chris Bullock | Artists | GroundUP Music

Justin Stanton & Chris Bullock

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Justin Stanton & Chris Bullock Bio

Multi-instrumentalists, composers, and producers Chris Bullock and Justin Stanton are musical globetrotters renowned for their diverse talents and contributions to the world of music. Since meeting in Texas in 2005, they’ve spent countless hours together both on the road and in the studio, working on their own diverse solo projects as well as the projects of numerous other artists. A significant thread connecting their careers is their long-standing involvement with Snarky Puppy. Since the early stages of the group, they have been core members, contributing to the band's five GRAMMY Awards and genre-bending sound not only as instrumentalists, but also as composers. However, their solo work is where their unique gifts in songwriting and production truly shine. Justin’s solo releases showcase his genre-defying compositions (Secret Place) and his innovative take on classical works (Flor Peeters: 35 Miniatures), while Chris’s ever-evolving sound is exemplified by his two solo efforts, Boomtown and Radio Child, where he explores the landscapes and meeting points of jazz, chamber music, and electronic music.

Chris and Justin have extensive experience together onstage as well as in the studio, collaborating with artists as diverse as David Crosby, Michael McDonald, Lalah Hathaway, Kirk Franklin, Laura Mvula, Fatoumata Diawara, Salif Keita, Chris Thile, Charlie Hunter, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Metropole Orkest. Their first true collaboration together as a duo, Claro e Escuro (Light and Dark), was recorded in Rio de Janeiro in the spring of 2023 and showcases not only Justin and Chris’s kinship at the production helm, but also puts on display the artistry of several young and gifted musicians in the vanguard of the Rio scene. Claro e Escuro is set to release in the summer of 2024.

Music

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Claro e Escuro (2024)

At the end of 2022, after fourteen years of living in Brooklyn, Chris Bullock’s circumstances suggested it might be time to take a break; to venture out and experience life elsewhere for a while. Having some friends and contacts there, he booked a flight to Brazil with no clear plan or expectations. What he discovered was a vibrant and creative community of musicians, artists, and weirdos pushing Brazilian culture forward.

After spending three months immersed in the music culture of Rio de Janeiro - meeting, performing, and recording with a host of remarkable young musicians - Chris went back on the road with Snarky Puppy. At the end of a tour in South America in June 2023, Chris returned once again to Rio, and this time he brought along bandmate Justin Stanton. Chris’s idea was to spend a week recording a collection of new songs that he and Justin had each written, employing the talents of a precocious group of Carioca musicians who he had gotten to know. Among them were electric bassist Giordano Gasperin, saxophonist Tunicho Secchin, percussionists Juma Rodrigues and Boka Reis, guitarist Cello Cascino, drummers Claudio Lima and Gabriel “Barbeize” Barbosa, drummer and trombonist Antonio Neves, and vocalists Luciane Dom and Matu Miranda. Justin and Chris also enlisted longtime friend and musical confidant, Brazilian musical icon Carlos Malta. Playing a huge role in the genesis of this album was recording and mixing engineer Marcos Schaimberg, who offered his studio, Iglu Estudio, to document the music, and lended his engineering and mixing talents.

Over the course of the week that Justin and Chris spent tracking the foundation of the music, different configurations of musicians were used in order to fit the vibe of the specific songs. Songs that might have been originally conceived with certain grooves and feels sometimes changed depending on the musicians in the studio on a particular day, lending fire and spontaneity to the interpretations and performances. Once the songs started to take shape, it was clear that there was a sort of theme of contrast between the respective songs of Justin and Chris. Justin’s tunes tended to have a lighter sound and feeling, while Chris’s had a darker, sometimes sinister, hue to the them. Uniting the contrasting songs were the performances of the young Brazilians as well as the decades-long friendship, strong working rapport, and mutual respect between Justin and Chris.

The album’s name, Claro e Escuro, is a Portuguese translation of the phrase “light and dark.” It’s a celebration of the vibrancy of Brazilian culture and music as well as a showcase of the marriage between that culture and the two unique songwriting visions of Chris and Justin.

1 Botafogo Bop
2 Bee Dub
3 181 Hawthorne
4 Jogos Bobos
5 Rolezão
6 Macuna
7 Into the Night

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