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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Jan 27, 2012

Charlie Hunter has established himself as one of the premier modern fusion/jazz-rock artists. Hunter will often find a funk groove and turn it into an amplified, wah-wah pedal induced free jam that competes with saxophones, keyboards and even violins. Since the early 1990s, Hunter has released 17 acclaimed albums featuring his dizzying technical and virtuosic 8-string guitar playing. Hunter has collaborated with preeminent names such as Christian McBride, Michael Franti, Norah Jones, Kurt Elling, Mos Def and even took lessons from master guitarist Joe Satriani.

 The guitar phenom's Solo Jam opens the "PDX Afrobeat Breakdown"  at the PDX Jazz and the 2012 US Bank Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines at the Crystal Ballroom on Saturday, February 25th at 9:30pm. He will be followed by performances from Portland artists Scott Pemberton with a surprise special guest, Ben Darwish's COMMOTION, and Jujuba. The program will explore and "breakdown" the historical Afrobeat discipline as a pivotal root in the modern funk and jam band experience which combines the improvisational character of jazz with the raunchiness of funk and flavor mixture of African.

 I spoke with Hunter, who now plays a custom seven string guitar, about the perils of solo performances, how his unique style has influenced his composition, and how he views the music business in the digital age. Click here to listen to the conversation, which includes musical selections:

Charlie Hunter - “Ain’t We Got Fun” and “Limehouse Blues” from Public Domain. Hunter and his grandfather, who just turned 100, picked classic American oldies that have passed out of copyright into the public domain for this album. Hunter plays a 7- string guitar solo on these tunes.

Charlie Hunter – “Fables of Faubus” live at the Kommotion Club San Francisco, CA September 1991. A solo turn from a concert in 1991, playing the Charles Mingus classic.

Charlie Hunter – “High Pockets and a Fanny Pack” from Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid.  Hunter isn’t shy in sharing his opinions about the music business, as he indicates in our talk. This mischievously titled album featured Hunter on 7-string guitar, Eric Kalb on drums, Alan Ferber and Curtis Fowlkes  on trombone, and Eric Biondo on trumpet.

Charlie Hunter & Pound for Pound – “Dope-A-Licious” from Return of the Candyman. One of my favorite Hunter collaborators is vibes player Stefon Harris, who along with John Santos on percussion and Scott Amendola on drums make up Pound for Pound. I asked Charlie if there is any chance of a reunion tour, and while he would love to do so, he is afraid the economics of the road might make it impossible.

Charlie Hunter Quartet – “Rhythm Music Rides Again” from Songs from the Analog Playground.  On one of his final Blue Note recordings, Charlie put together a tight band - John Ellis on saxophone, Stephen Chopek on drums and Chris Lovejoy on percussion to go with his 8 string guitar. Guest artists make the album a real treat, as singers Kurt Elling and Norah Jones, among others, drop in to lend their vocals to the mix.

Ticketing Info: Portland Jazz Festival Box Office Hours of Operation: 2-5:30 pm, Monday-Friday Order by Phone: (503) 228-5299  In Person: 133 SW 2nd Avenue, Ste 420, Portland, OR 97204 Email:  Crystal Ballroom Box Office Walk Up: 1332 W Burnside 11:30 am - 6 pm Daily By Phone: 855-CAS-TIXX Tickets range from $25-$45