7-string guitar master, Charlie Hunter shares the spotlight with longtime colleagues, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and drummer Bobby Previte, who are recognized for their pivotal work within New York City's progressive jazz circuit and beyond. Let The Bells Ring On is an atypical jazz groove effort of substantial proportions, not simply due to the slightly unorthodox trio setting, but more about Hunter's catchy and memorably melodic compositions that equate to a rather timeless union of funk, blues, jazz and R&B. Its hipness incorporated with not one tainted iota of filler material integrated within the program.
With hearty doses of snap, crackle and pop, the musicians turn in a surfeit of foot-stomping pulses while often redesigning the respective and largely, harmonious themes via alternating time signatures and the frontline's contrasting solo spots. Even though they exercise more than enough grit and chutzpah, it's not a chops fest, coupled with the obvious fact that the threesome is having a blast in the studio. And Hunter's uncanny ability to play the bass parts concurrently with his guitar voicings negate the need for a bassist, coupled with Pevite's sonorous bass drum sound.
Volumes could be written about the respective artists' bios and accomplishments as this band is an extension of Hunter's lengthy duo performances and recordings with drummer Scott Amendola amid his desire to expand textural opportunities in the studio and during live performances. No doubt, Hunter's deft picking, extended notes, sinuous single note runs and closed-hand techniques impart a multi-purposed fusion of disparate genres along with Fowlkes's bold phrasings. And excitement abounds as Previte dishes out a slippery up-tempo funk beat on "Pho-Kus-On-Ho-Ho-Kus," where the frontline punches out brusque unison lines. Think of jazz funk with a college education, refined by Hunter's nimble picking and accelerated by the trio's toasty closeout.
At times, the musicians resonating dialogues often circle around a previously stated motif or the primary theme with a horde of zesty inflections and nods to mainstream electric roots music. But they wind matters down with a haunting ballad "Fellini Farm Team," anchored by Previte's regimented mallets pattern across the toms, followed by yet another tuneful and catchy straight-four bump and grind, "Ojai Housecoat of Arms." Taken as a whole, the band transmits the epitome of good taste with pieces that stick to your ribs and caress your soul, analogous to a time-honored Texas barbecue with all the fixings, and then some.
Anthem:USA; These People?; Pho-Kus-On-Ho-Ho-Kus; Let the Bells Ring On; Hillbilly Heroine Chic; Welcome to Nutley; Fellini Farm Team; Ojai Housecoat of Arms; Vernel; Spence.
Charlie Hunter: chitarra; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone; Bobby Previte: batteria.