Charlie Hunter

If you think someone's got crazy multitasking skills because they can play guitar and sing at the same time, consider jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter--he plays guitar and BASS at the same time. That's right; using a specially modified guitar and some incredible right hand picking technique, Hunter lays down tight bass grooves as he busts out fluid leads. His unique cross-breeds of jazz, blues, and straight-up weirdness would be impressive enough ignoring his dual instrument virtuosity. Hunter's solos are especially tasteful. Though he can play as fast as the rest of 'em, he rarely does so, opting to carefully sculpt melodic phrases that often emphasize dissonance. He often is content to lay down a funky groove and allow the rhythm section to take charge.

Here's "Cueball Boppin'," one of the more upbeat tracks from 2006's "Copperopolis." The fuzzy main riff recalls early 70's blues-rock artists like Cream and Hendrix, but Hunter soon launches into one of his distinctive solos. Sax lines jump in later to provide a foil to the guitar.

You've got to go to a Hunter concert--his playing needs to be seen to be believed. I saw him a year ago at Yoshi's in San Francisco, and he and drummer Terence Higgins unleashed 75 minutes of simply explosive jazz. Check him out if you get a chance; you won't regret it.

Charlie Hunter - "Cueball Boppin'"

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