197

Charlie Hunter Trio: Copperopolis

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Charlie Hunter Trio: Copperopolis Charlie Hunter's first trio record since 2003's Friends Seen and Unseen balances his talents as a composer (he wrote or co-wrote every track except for the set-ending take of Monk's "Think of One ), as a bandleader, as a band member interplaying with drummer Derrek Phillips and John Ellis (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, Wurlitzer organ and melodica), and as lead guitar hot shot.

Hunter rips the lid off with the first cut, "Cueball Bobbin', which crackles with the electricity of amplified rock, specifically Jimi Hendrix's funk-acid-rock circa his Band of Gypsys soul patrol with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. The mobile fluid bottom moves thick and deep and dark and heavy, following the lead of the guitar's electric squall as Hunter murderously wrings nasty-toned blues licks from the neck of his guitar. (Says the guitarist, "I was just feeling rocky, I guess... )

The trio nails this Monk classic, which isn't always quite so user-friendly, down flat. The bass, drum and saxophone funk trio that opens up its middle passage is deeply soulful, quicksilver small ensemble jazz—played, I suspect, in precisely the light and humorously way that a grinning Monk would love to hear it.

Monk's sensibility also seems to seep into the title track. Ellis' tenor seems to softly pad in and look around for its opening, then settles down into an extended blues duet with Hunter's electrified Delta guitar. It seems to suggest the interplay between tenor and piano in a blues played by Monk; its melody seems to build upon its notes in oddly geometric, little incremental steps, like many Monk melodies do, too.

"Blue Sock and "A Street Fight Could Break Out mine more inspiration from the blues. "Sock swings through an airy bridge into juke-joint soul you might hear at a barbeque throwdown with Eddie Harris and Les McCann, and comes to rest with Hunter plucking soft country guitar blues as Ellis' melodica howls like a harmonica, just kickin' back on the front porch. "A Street Fight Could Break Out tethers from its central passage of just bass and drum, cavernously thumping dub reggae style, thick and spacey.

(One possible problem with this sequencing: The hard-rockin' "Cueball Bobbin' is easily the best piece, yet it doesn't seem to have much to do with the rest of this set, which seems more structured, lending more emphasis to the compositions then the playing of the compositions. Making it the leadoff track seems to set rock-oriented listeners up for a payoff that never comes.)


Track Listing: Cueball Bobbin'; Frontman; Swamba Redux; Copperopolis; Blue Sock; The Pursuit Package; A Street Fight Could Break Out; Drop the Rock; Think of One.

Personnel: Charlie Hunter: 8-string guitar; John Ellis: tenor sax, bass clarinet, Wurlitzer, melodica; Derrek Phillips: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Juggling Kukla" CD/LP/Track Review Juggling Kukla
by John Sharpe
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!