Charlie Hunter: A New Beginning

By: Jarrod Dicker

Charlie Hunter by Greg Aiello

Charlie Hunter can do it all. Creating an instrument that translates all his musical desires, Hunter simultaneously plays bass lines, rhythm guitar and lead with incredible ease; making him one of the most exceptional jazz players currently on the circuit.

Recently departing from the group he co-founded, Garage A Trois, Hunter went right back to work on a new album and tour to be introduced and carried out in the New Year.

Hunter is celebrating the release of the new album Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, with a residency at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn now. The album was released on January 12, 2010 through Hunter's own Spire Artist Media and digitally through reapandsow.

On this record, Hunter is accompanied by a new set of artistically endowed musicians to compliment his always radiant and unique guitar work. Joining Hunter is a new horn section composed of trombonists' Curtis Fowlkes, Alan Ferber and trumpeter Eric Biondo. Grounding the rhythm section is a familiar "jam scene" friend, the improvisational drummer Eric Kalb, who's toured with Deep Banana Blackout, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and many more. Biondo and Fowlkes will be joining Hunter for the Rose Live Music residency.

JamBase spoke with Charlie Hunter about the new album, his upcoming tour, the talented musicians that currently surround him and the explanation behind his departure from Garage A Trois.

JamBase: You have a new album, Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid. What inspiration did you draw from musically for this new record? Is it a collection of random songs or does the entire album carry a familiar theme?

Charlie Hunter: Well, I wanted to make a record with a brass type sound. Some of the songs were already written previous to creating the record, but then I wrote others with the brass theme in mind. And on this record I added a new brass section.

JamBase: What approach do you take when entering the studio to lay down a new record? Do you cut it live or is it dubbed, re-recorded and more of a procedure?

Charlie Hunter: There was no dubbing on this album at all. It's cut entirely live. This album was recorded to two-inch analog tape, mono, with no overdubs at all. It was just mixed on the fly. Everything was live.

Throughout the month of January you've scheduled a residency at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn. Why did you opt to do the residency at this particular venue?

Charlie Hunter by Bay Taper
I live in New Jersey so it's not terribly far from me. I really like playing at Rose Live Brooklyn as well. It's a smaller more portable kind of scene, you know? But I guess just like anywhere else there are people that will be interested in the music, and you go set up and play and just hope that they come to the gig.

How is this album unlike your previous releases? What makes Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid unique?

They're all unique. All have their own individual kind of thing. I try to never make the same record twice. I mean, if I had to name a common thread running through all of my albums it would be that my "instrument" is always used on them. However, I don't always play it the same way. It's always a little different depending on the vibe, so this is definitely a different record than anything I've done previously. Also it's in mono; first record I've done in mono, as well as two trombones and a trumpet. I've never had that configuration before.

Fans associate "Charlie Hunter" with your live and in-studio utilization of custom seven and eight string guitars. How did you come to ascertain this technique, making yourself an innovator as well as a player in the field?

It just formed from a natural-type progression. I created the concept by being involved with drums, guitar and bass all at once. If you put those instruments together, then you create this thing I use. From there you just try to evolve that concept and make it better and more effective.

Which guitars were used on this album?

I just used one on this album. It was a custom-made seven string created by Jeff Traugott.

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