Sometimes when we see something incredible, something someone has figured out that's completely different, do you ever wonder 'is that really good or is that a gimmick'? I catch myself thinking that on occasion, as I caught myself thinking that about Charlie Hunter. Well I did so very briefly because the man has such a broad knowledge of music and the fact that he is playing the guitar and bass part at the same time is simply incredible.
Charlie Hunter grew up in Berkley, California on a healthy diet of visiting rock/pop/funk/soul/jazz bands. Currently residing in New Jersey, he travels the world with his unique guitar (three bass strings, four guitar strings), as a true musical surfer!
I had the opportunity to see him play a solo set at a Brooklyn bar called Sycamore. He played a variety of songs from all kinds of genres with the confidence of sincerity. Each tune he tackled would be instantly his own, partially due to the physical restrictions of the instrument but mostly, I think, due to his spacious, groovin' perspective on music. No matter what the tune, the time and time feel was relentless. It reminds me why great musicians is great - it's the clarity of simplicity, timing, space and of course having the vocabulary at your fingertips. When I was talking to my friend Sean Berry about this, he brought up Stanley Jordan, also somebody who could be in the same category of talent as Charlie Hunter, even if they make quite different music.
Charlie's recent project is called Public Domain - public domain songs chosen by his Grandfather. Here is a few great videos:
This one is quite entertaining as well:
And one more: