Chris began playing the piano at age seven, when his painter grandmother first got him interested in music. At age 14, he was earning money as a musician, participating in several rock bands during his high school years. Following his graduation from high school, he enrolled at the College of William and Mary where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music.
Chris' performance of Chopin's 2nd Concerto with the Richmond Symphony earned him a fellowship at the University of Richmond, where he acquired a Master's degree in Music. Additionally, while pursuing his degree, Chris was soloist with the Richmond Community Symphony Orchestra.
Upon graduation from the University of Richmond, Chris took his act on the road for six years, during which time he was featured at numerous supper clubs and resorts in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, California, West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. When Chris returned to his hometown of Savannah, Georgia, he released his first album, ''Wind of Change," in 1990, which included eight original compositions, as well as Johnny Mercer's "Satin Doll and Antonio Joabim's "Wave".
Then, in 1993 Chris found his niche with the release of "Southern Charm & Swing," a tribute to the works of Johnny Mercer This selection of 10 songs, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and arrangements by the late Ken Palmer, thrust Chris into the spotlight, enabling him to develop a significant following in the coastal regions of the Southeast. In fact, this project formed the foundation for Chris' appearance as headline entertainer for the Gala Opening of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in September 1996. During this performance, he was accompanied by Connie Haines, former big band vocalist with Frank Sinatra, Harry James, and Tommy Dorsey, for a medley of Mercer favorites.
Following "Southern Charm & Swing," Chris became actively involved with The Friends of Johnny Mercer, where he served as Vice President and President. Through their efforts, April 19 was proclaimed Johnny Mercer Day in the state of Georgia by Governor Zel Miller. In this regard, Chris has organized and promoted many special events, including a collaboration with Set Sail for Savannah! to establish an annual festival series paying tribute to Mercer. During the 1994 Inaugural Festival, the Chris Chandler Connection opened for Mel Torme Chris also served as the Technical Production Coordinator for the concert and festival.
Chris is the 1995, 1996 and 1997 recipient of the ASCAP Popular Song Award for musical selections from his most recent recording project, "Lover's Holiday," released in 1997 Produced on Chandler's independent label, Playing Dude Records, "Lover's Holiday" is an eclectic mix of originals and includes tunes which may be termed jazz and adult contemporary. Mixed and mastered at Disney Studios in Orlando, Florida, the CD features Dan Toler, former guitarist with the Allman Brothers, on four of the 10 tracks. Additionally, the exceptional horn work (both trumpet and fluegle horn) of Dave Ferguson, 1996 Helen Hayes Award winner is showcased on the final two songs of the album. It also features the co-production talents of independent Polygram record producer Ken Hatley. Additionally, tracks from this project have been submitted to the Jonathan Krane Group for possible use in the soundtrack of the upcoming feature film "Lay of the Land." The proposed title track "Lay of the Land" is featured on "Lover's Holiday " The CD can be found at Blockbuster Music on Peachtree in the Jazz Room.
Chris Chandler is supported by as many as 10 musicians, with a band foundation that features Allen Murphy (toured with Count Basie) on drums/vocals, George Grier (featured on Curtis Mayfield's most recent album) on acoustic/electric bass, and Dave Ferguson (Helen Hayes Award winner and session player with the Stone Temple Pilots) on trumpet/fluegle horn. They can perform in various configurations. from solo to big band, to accommodate any event size, from intimate gatherings to gala affairs.
Jerry Jeff Walker - Mr. Bojangles