Saturday, January 17, 2009

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Charlie Hunter

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring guitarist Charlie Hunter, who will be in St. Louis next week to perform Wednesday, January 21 through Saturday, January 24 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Hunter's music is characterized by a mix of jazz, funk and rock influences, as well by an idiosyncratic guitar technique that allows him to play melodies, chords and bass lines more or less simultaneously. Given this ability, he usually works without a bass player, and that will be the case here next week, as he'll be playing in a duo setting with drummer Simon Lott. (For a little more about that, see this very short interview Hunter did earlier this week with the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson.)

Alas, there seem to be no good video examples online of Hunter playing in a duo configuration; instead, today we've got three clips that should help reveal various aspects of his musical personality.

First up is an undated but fairly recent solo performance by Hunter of the gospel standard "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" on 8-string guitar fed through a Leslie cabinet. The second clip shows Hunter in a trio setting (with drums and Rhodes piano) at an outdoor concert last July in Hollywood, performing a tune called "Wizard Sleeve."

The final video goes back to 1994 and shows one of Hunter's early projects, TJ Kirk, which had the stated aim of blending together the music of Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. The clip was shot in San Francisco, and shows Hunter, John Schott and Wil Bernard on guitars with Scott Amendola on drums playing Monk's tune "Humph."

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