You can easily call Chicago guitarist Chris Forte a music veteran. If only for the 25 years he’s been on the scene or for the fact that he has played and recorded for every possible gig – from television to radio, jazz or pop, acoustic or electric, originals to musicals, live and studio.
Couple the hugely accumulated experience with formal musical training (Jazz Studies from Roosevelt University), and you can be assured that with his recordings you will not encounter some sloppy, half-baked music.
Yet, with experienced, well-trained musicians can come complacency and just going through the motions type of only trying to please the mainstream.
Luckily, that is exactly what Forte tries to avoid on his 14-track release Backyard Astronomy, with some excellent results.
The quality may lie in the fact that Forte devoted quite some passion and inspiration to this project, actually reflected in the album’s title, as amateur astronomy is one of his personal hobbies.
“The title, Backyard Astronomy, came together as Astronomy is a big hobby of mine, and continued as well through the pandemic. It also brought the material together as the songs are so varied stylistically. Just like all the constellations in the sky are different but come together to make the night sky, the varied styles of the songs come together as they are inspirations of one guitarist/musician (in the throes of a pandemic).”
So says Forte, and actually delivers, as he moves stylistically from folk to jazz, classical, pop and elsewhere on these 11 instrumental and three vocal tracks. Yes, Forte is a guitarist, guitar is at the forefront here, but, Forte puts it in use of the music and not as a show-off of his dexterity, making Backyard Astronomy something of a very enjoyable varied playlist type of an album.