Go way back past The Beatles to Elvis, break the music down and what you get is basically guitar and drums. That’s what virtuoso Charlie Hunter did, and with the deftly percussive interplay of drummer Scott Amendola, he’s ridden that instrumental groove through two recent albums and a tour that makes an encore stop on Feb. 21 at The Bienes Center for the Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.
The duo’s new album, PUCKER, which focuses on Amendola’s compositions, complements 2012’s Hunter-penned Not Getting Behind Is the New Getting Ahead. Both are a departure from 2010’s intriguing Public Domain, Hunter’s solo covers of early-1900s classics selected by his 100-year-old grandfather.
In 20 years, Hunter has collaborated with some seriously stellar names (Norah Jones, John Mayer) but stylistically he’s kindred with genre-benders like John Scofield and Bill Frisell – and just as hard to put a hat on. He’s a freakish improviser who emerged from the jam-band-happy ’90s, but is he rock? He recorded six albums for Blue Note Records, but is he jazz? Blues? R&B? Funk? With a sound informed by the chops and sensibilities of all of the above, and a mastery of simultaneous melody and bass lines on a custom eight-string guitar, maybe it’s best just to call him one hell of a guitarist.
— Greg Carannante
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