“A homespun marvel” -New York Times
“…a man who [has] built his badass reputation by conquering hairy bass lines and heady post-bop melodies simultaneously on custom eight-string instruments… Hunter is still a musical beast.” -Guitar Player
“…Hunter - well known for playing a seven-string instrument - rips through the air with superrock fuzz and fusion mettle.” - Rolling Stone
Friday, October 23, 2009 — Charlie Hunter’s latest recording effort, Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, features the jawdropping guitarist alongside drummer Eric Kalb (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, John Scofield) and a new horn section including trombonist Curtis Fowlkes (Jazz Passengers, Lounge Lizards, Bill Frisell), trombonist Alan Ferber (Don Byron, Kenny Wheeler) and trumpeter Eric Biondo (Antibalas, TV On The Radio). Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid marks Hunter’s second full-length release on his independent label Spire Artist Media, and will be available physically in retail outlets nationwide and online at www.charliehunter.com and digitally everywhere through reapandsow music starting Tuesday, January 12, 2010. Hunter will celebrate the release of Gentlemen with a four-week Tuesday night residency at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn, NY beginning January 5, 2010. Interviews and photos are available upon request.
Hunter follows up his latest trio album, Baboon Strength, with an ambitious effort recorded live direct to two-inch analog tape. No mixing, no overdubs, just straight-ahead powerhouse playing captured by the finest recording equipment dating back to the ‘50s. This is familiar territory for Hunter as all of his recordings are recorded live. He comments, “We wanted to do an old sounding record, it’s fun to do it all analog. Artists are into mixing, and that’s fine, but I’m so on the raw side of things, I get the sounds I like and go. You need to know how to play if you do it this way. I could never do it digitally, I play live with a lot of improv, so I go with my strengths. Why not go all in!”
With a nod to the history of brass music, Hunter set out to embrace the full brass experience on Gentlemen. A fan of Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, he enlisted two trombonists and a trumpeter to open up the nine original compositions to infinite possibilities. Hunter says, “I love the sax, but it’s a modern jazz instrument, and when you hear it, it forces you to play a certain way. Brass is more malleable, how it works with an electric instrument, it can be so out of left field. I love that. There are so many things you can do.” Gentlemen leads off with a mid-tempo soul-shaker titled “You Look Good In Orange,” Hunter’s idea of a weird song-craft kind of tune. He notes, “There’s a real simple melody and it’s a standard song. But it’s interesting, it changes keys in the second A, going up a half a step and you don’t even know it.” He wrote the second track on Gentlemen, “Antoine,” while in Garage A Trois, an ensemble that formed in 1999 featuring Hunter, drummer Stanton Moore, saxophonist Skerik and vibe player Mike Dillon. With the horns in tight syncopation, Hunter lays down a melody and funky bass line that “always brings a smile to my face. The band really swings it on this track.”
Following a short stint performing with trumpeter Ron Miles (Bill Frisell) on some Colorado dates earlier this year, a sweet and laid back major 7th chord progression continued to resonate with Hunter. What resulted was the guitar, bass and drums tune “High And Dry.” He comments, “I kinda ripped the idea off of Ron. Man, it was great to play with him. We plan to tour together in 2010.” Translating into English as “All that glitters isn’t gold,” the track “Tout Ce Qui Brille Ne Pas Or” is a bluesy gem initially led by Hunter and drummer Eric Kalb on brushes. The horn section stands out with three-part harmonies, while the rhythm section slowly elevates the 12/8 number into an improved jam featuring a dizzying guitar solo. In Hunter’s own words “High Pockets And A Fanny Pack” is all about “being at a Target or the county fair, and being like yeah, she was wearing high pockets and a fanny pack.” The track clearly brings the funk, and brings it hard with slamming horn solos and head-bobbing rhythm guitar licks.
“Drop A Dime,” which also appears on Hunter’s Mistico, resurfaces with the full brass attack featuring dueling trombones and infectious harmonies, and a dubbed-out bass line to glue it all together. Hunter notes, “It’s a trombone bully track, you don’t know where one bone ends and the next begins. I really wanted to do this song with brass, and I finally recorded it.” As for “Ode To My Honda Odyssey” he says, “I’ve got a 143,000 miles on mine, and it’s still going strong. I put this many miles on it in six years, now that’s a lot of gigs!” The standout ballad on Gentlemen is appropriately called “Every Day You Wake Up New York Says No.” This slow-burner has the bass doing tenths, and at its core is just a song that fits so well with its title. The final track, Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, has a straight Albert Collins or Lonnie Mack vibe. Hunter comments, “This is a guitar novelty tune, with some left hand gestures in it. It’s a doctor or lawyer’s song… ya know those guys who want to play in their bedroom at night. I was messing around with this tune, and the next thing I knew, it was a full song.”
With a career spanning 16 years and almost 20 albums, Hunter consistently ups his game as an innovative writer and bandleader. He has worked with the likes of Norah Jones, Mos Def, John Mayer, D’Angelo and countless others. He is widely considered the authority on the seven and eight-string guitar, and continues to stun audiences with his ability to simultaneously bust out tasty bass parts, melodic leads and swinging rhythms. Hunter has previously recorded for the venerable Blue Note label, Concord, Ropeadope and others. His recent independent venture is steered by his motivation to release music that most inspires him. Critics have touted his genius technique, but it’s his profound artistic sensibility that propels his original music. Hunter’s signature style of writing and performing has secured his place as one of today’s great guitarists.