Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Charlie Hunter - All About Jazz

Gentlemen I Neglected To Inform You
You Will Not Be Getting Paid
Charlie Hunter (Spire Artist Media)

Gentlemen I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be
Getting Paid, recorded in Brooklyn last summer, is
seven-string guitarist Charlie Hunter’s 17th record as a
leader. For this outing Hunter plucks and strums his
way across nine radio-friendly tracks (only one is more
than five minutes long) with solid drumming from Eric
Kalb and the unobtrusive assistance of two trombones
(Alan Ferber, Curtis Fowlkes) and a trumpet (Eric
Biondo). The tunes, all written by Hunter, never stray
too far from a laidback groove that rarely enlivens the
pulse but still provides enough soulful riffage.
The seven-stringed guitar is divided into three
bass strings and four guitar strings, allowing Hunter to
occupy both roles simultaneously. His level of selfreliance
exists on a plane usually reserved for pianists
and organists. Hunter has made this technique a
permanent part of his sound, which, even in its
quietest moments, requires the utmost attention to
balance and originality.

The record opens with Hunter’s inimitable
interplay leisurely chopping out chords while his
thumb strolls below before the horns jump in with
brassy puffs of sound to fill out the tune. Throughout
the record the horn section mostly serves to backup
Hunter’s solos. Occasionally he lets them reach beyond
the charts and use a little soloing muscle but often
reins them in before they can go too far out. The record
serves mostly as a vehicle for Hunter’s likable blend of
R&B and jazz, supporting spacious guitar lines with
rock-solid bass. “High and Dry” shows off Hunter’s
ability to play brisk and drowsy simultaneously while
“Ode to My Honda Odyssey”, a tribute to his touring
chariot, allows Hunter to dig deep into a vibrato-laden
solo while the horns hover in the background, egging
him on.

The independent voices emanating from Hunter’s
amplifier sound more and more distinct with each
passing release. This record, with its vintage
instrumentation and production (“In glorious mono”
boasts the cover!) emphasizes grooves over flash,
proving that Hunter has yet to run out of challenges
for his over-worked fingers.

Charlie Hunter @ All About Jazz - New York

1 comment:

Mark said...

Two things you neglected to mention:

1) "Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid" may possibly be the best title for a jazz record ever.

2) The liner notes proclaim that this album was recorded "in glorious mono." I haven't heard the record so I can't say how glorious, but the locution itself is glorious.