Charlie Hunter Trio

Old Town School of Music
Chicago, IL
Sept. 30, 2007
Charlie Hunter Trio

Charlie Hunter Trio

Story and Photos by Wade Vonasek

The Charlie Hunter Trio rolled into Chicago, currently touring in support of the new album Mistico, for two sets of his particular brand of jazz. But to simply call California-born Hunter a jazz guitarist is selling him a bit short. His new Trio, featuring drummer Simon Lott and keyboardist Eric Deutsch, seems to be moving slightly towards a more rock-edged sound while still keeping the jazz influence. The crowd gathered at the Old Town School of Folk Music was diverse, from young hipsters all the way to older jazz intellectuals, reflecting Hunter’s broad appeal and ability to cover a wide musical spectrum.

During the first set, the musicians traded off a lot, warming up individually and as a group. In my opinion, the first set was not as “up” as the second, as if Hunter wanted to work his way into the livelier numbers. The crowd was along for both sets though, and because of the size of the venue, Hunter seemed to be interacting with them, at times flashing a crooked, Jim Carrey-esque grin when shouts of “Woo” or “Yeah” were heard.

The new Trio did not disappoint. They all soloed at various points in the show, and drummer Lott displayed not only mad drum skills, but also a healthy dose of stage presence. Though Deutsch was not as energetic, it was clear he was a master of the keys. And Hunter himself, upon watching him play, leaves one asking themselves, “How the *&#@ is he doing that?” To hear a bass part and a guitar part, and see only Hunter playing, is puzzling but impressive. To put it bluntly, the guy is a genius.

The band looked very comfortable with one another and their material. They appeared in a semi-circle with Hunter in the middle, and Hunter would maintain eye contact with both members, especially Lott, for extended periods of time, as if looking into one another’s musical souls. Hunter did not introduce the songs, sometimes flowing from one song into the next, so there was not a lot of dead air. But no matter what the group played, they delivered.

And I could’ve sworn I heard parts of Parliament’s “Flashlight” in one of the pieces, but I can’t confirm that.

Charlie Hunter Trio
Charlie Hunter

Check out Charlie's homepage

Check out other recent concerts reviews and photos

Return to jazzchicago home

Contact Brad Walseth and JazzChicago.net at bwalseth60@aol.com

Return to jazzchicago home