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INTERVIEWS

Charlie Hunter: Roots, Hard Work & Inspiration

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A self-proclaimed boutique artist, guitarist Charlie Hunter could not be more proud of his work or the audience that enjoys it. He is ultimately modest about his achievements, such as they are, emphasizing the work he's put in over the years in a variety of formats, honing a craft he honestly and rightly believes represents his own unique voice on a very unique instrument: the seven-string guitar.Charlie Hunter used an eight-string instrument for a number of years, though, hearkening first of all to the 1995 formation of the unsung jazz-fusion quartet TJ Kirk. Hunter's Blue Note era included ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter: Not Getting Behind is the New Getting Ahead

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Charlie Hunter is such an original thinker, composer and musician, that his albums are always interesting. But on this wryly and topically titled project with longtime collaborator and kindred spirit drummer Scott Amendola, the seven-string guitarist outdoes himself.With a rustling flourish from Amendola's kit, the duo slips right into a groove on the languorous, blues-derived “Assessing the Assessors, An Assessor's Assessment." The history of the duo dates back to the 1995 formation of unsung jazz-fusion quartet TJ Kirk (not to mention Hunter's stellar Pound for Pound (Blue Note, 1998) ensemble as well as the Charlie Hunter Quartet), so ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Charlie Hunter: Burlington, Vermont, April 24, 2011

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Charlie Hunter with Erik KalbClub MetronomeBurlington, VTApril 24, 2011 The last time guitarist nonpareil Charlie Hunter came to the greater Burlington area, drummer Erik Kalb also accompanied him--so this recent show was one of the few instances of the idiosyncratic guitarist repeating himself in his last ten years of appearances in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Nevertheless, it was perfectly acceptable to find the duo set up on the tiny stage upstairs from the famous Nectar's club on Main Street, and wholly satisfying to watch and hear them play together again. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter: Public Domain

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There's no particular insight in the suggestion that most musicians lay their musical lives bare through their recorded work: near-instantaneous, fully formed leaps into greatness for some; more gradual upwards curves for others; and for all, even the occasional misstep. Still, there are times when it seems as though a little discretion would go a long way. Amongst endless reissues fattened out with often superfluous bonus material and new releases from promising young artists not yet ready to make the leap into leadership, Charlie Hunter has always stood out as an exception. His debut as a leader--Charlie Hunter Trio (Prawn ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter: Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid

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As ever, 7-string guitarist Charlie Hunter can be counted on to shake things up every couple of discs. After two trio sets with keyboardist Erik Deutsch, Hunter returns to the horn-driven breadth of Right Now Move (Ropeadope, 2003). On Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, however, Hunter trades Right Now's unorthodox harmonica/sax/trombone frontline for the equally unusual line-up of two trombones and trumpet. But more than just the line-up has changed.

Emerging in the mid-1990s as a true guitar wunderkind, Hunter marveled with his seemingly unmatchable ability to play a ...

INTERVIEWS

Charlie Hunter: Seven-String Samurai

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Jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter is not a musician who's comfortable resting on his laurels. With nearly twenty albums under his belt and no sign of stopping in sight, Hunter continues to wow audiences with the wizardry of his seven-string guitar technique, by which he lays down bass grooves and simultaneously wings guitar solos along the frets with flawless finesse. This has earned him a reputation as an intrepid musician and an incredible showman who draws packed crowds into jazz clubs across the U.S. and overseas to see his magic at work. But the razzle dazzle of his unique virtuosity is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter: Baboon Strength

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After a series of major label releases, the last of which was a recording with a new trio, Charlie Hunter makes significant changes for Baboon Strength. The idiosyncratic guitarist's innate joie de vivre remains constant, however, as he decides to release the album independently and, prior to that, recruits a new drummer.

Tony Mason actually commences the album on "Athens" with a heavy downbeat that is his calling card--predecessor Simon Lott, who appeared on Mistico (Fantasy Jazz, 2007), was a much busier percussionist. His muscular approach to the music becomes even more prominent on "Welcome to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter: Baboon Strength

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Guitarist Charlie Hunter is a musician on a journey. Never to be satisfied with a ravishingly successful recording career spanning 17 albums, he has continued to explore his own musical tastes, not to pander to his fans, or necessarily in search of something, but merely following the currents of his musical self. Continuing the evolution of his style and sound, Baboon Strength builds convincingly on the preceding Mistico (Fantasy, 2007), drilling down deeper into a groove aesthetic that has seemingly been a magnet to him throughout his career; one that he perhaps overshot more than once. The funk from earlier ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte as Groundtruther: Altitude

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Music correlating to physicality gives it a fertile meaning, a meaning that lifts it out of its abstract plane into a zone that is identifiable. Listening becomes more than moving through time; it becomes a process of imagination and fulfillment.

Drummer Bobby Previte and guitarist Charlie Hunter have interpreted three descriptors of the earth in a trilogy of releases. Latitude came in 2004, Longitude in 2005, and now Altitude in 2007, all on Thirsty Ear. The first two were true to their names. The music negotiated its way on a sonic surface. The orientation and interaction ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte as Groundtruther: Altitude

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After three years and as many records, drummer Bobby Previte and guitarist Charlie Hunter bring their experimental trio project Groundtruther to a triumphant conclusion. Previte and Hunter have invited a rotating third member to play on each release; Latitude (Thirsty Ear, 2004) featured saxophonist Greg Osby, while Longitude (Thirsty Ear, 2005) starred DJ Logic. Keyboardist John Medeski joins the duo for Altitude, their third and final album.

Osby and Logic each put their own stamp on the trio, but neither seem as ideally suited to the project's varied scope as Medeski. The collective's most expansive session, Altitude ventures ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte as Groundtruther: Altitude

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Like a three act play, guitarist Charlie Hunter and percussionist Bobby Previte's Groundtruther project saves the best for last. Latitude (Thirsty Ear, 2004) teamed them with intrepid saxophonist Greg Osby and while both Hunter and Previte have never been technologically challenged, it represented, individually, their most extreme integration of processing/sampling with conventional instrumentation. Likewise, Longitude (Thirsty Ear, 2005), featuring guest turntablist DJ Logic, found a curious meeting place between free improvisation and groove; moving away, however, from the general funkiness of Latitude in favor of a more hard-edged rock attitude.

Altitude continues the pursuit of even greater extremes, this time ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Charlie Hunter Trio: Mistico

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On the CD tray photo of Mistico, all three members of The Charlie Hunter Trio are shown laughing heartily with each other. It's an appropriate picture, given the joy they exude playing together on this CD of original music by the guitarist/bandleader, which suits the evocative cover art and album title.

The Charlie Hunter Trio sounds like the essence of easygoing right from the start as they amble into motion on the opening track “Lady!." Their deceptively casual approach belies the detail contained in the guitar and keyboard work, both up front and in the background. The presence of keyboardist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter Trio: Mistico

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On Mistico, Charlie Hunter finally, after a couple of near misses, gets in touch with his inner rock guitarist. The disc's immediate predecessors--Copperopolis (Ropeadope, 2006) and Longitude (Thirsty Ear, 2005)--inhabited similarly full-on visceral territory, but here those albums' funk quotients are reduced to practically zero in favor of dirty, confrontational, rock 'n' roll. Nothing on Mistico is on the one. It's all on the two and four. It ain't bad so much as it's nasty.

It's simple, lo-fi music, and we're told that most tracks were recorded in one or two takes, without any charts. There's only one ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Charlie Hunter Trio and Christian McBride Band at TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival

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The face of drummer Simon Lott said it all. He and pianist/keyboardist Erik Deutsch are the newest members of The Charlie Hunter Trio after the departure of saxophonist John Ellis and drummer Derek Phillips. Judging by the new sound Lott and Deutsch bring, the new Charlie Hunter Trio could make a case as the new Garage A Trois.

They sat huddled around in a semi circle and played. The crowd rushed the stage (a scene that would repeat itself for McBride). To call Lott's drumming style ferocious could be the understatement of the year. He does not attack the drums ...



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