An Interview with Charlie Hunter

Latest recording from 7-string guitarist is his "Mistico".


Omaha, Nebraska – The new Charlie Hunter Trio's first studio recording is Mistico. Hunter, a virtuoso guitarist, is joined by Simon Lott on drums and Erik Deutsch on keyboards. Together the trio creates a musical hybrid of rock, funk and jazz which fuels a mesmerizing program of originals.
Charlie Hunter picked up his first guitar at the age of 12 and had the good fortune to study with Joe Satriani while Hunter was living in Berkeley, California. At the urging of friends Hunter started to become better acquainted with jazz music, and after several false starts he was hooked. The addition of jazz music to blues and pop music helped to mold Hunter's sound. "Growing up in the Bay Area had a profound effect on my music. I was exposed to everything from the Dead Kennedy's to P-Funk to Art Blakey. In the Bay Area, you have all of these different musical cultures living together and all of these different musical cultures and their music gets semi-assimilated into this non-polarized state of being where hybrids are free to grow, and there are all of these genres and cross genres to play in and around."
Charlie Hunter had his first 7-string guitar (2 bass strings, 5 guitar strings, 2 pickups) made for him in the late eighties. After figuring out how to play his axe, Hunter paid his dues as a street musician in Europe and later in San Francisco and Berkeley. He toured with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy which included a year's worth of huge stadium gigs opening for U2 along with Primus.
Desiring to move on to a more jazz-oriented group, Charlie formed his first trio in 1994. The distinctive, groove-oriented band caught the attention of fans and critics alike. Feeling the need to expand musically, Hunter relocated to the New York area in 1997, opening himself up to work with a who's who in jazz, and expanding his band in the process. Hunter has also worked on various side projects including T.J. Kirk and a duo recording with Leon Parker, in addition to recording, performing and touring worldwide with his group.
Hunter is also trying to grow musically, and spiritually. "I mean I don't want to get all hippy-dippy, but the goal is to reach the spiritual center of whatever music you're searching for. In that search, for me, it's real important to bring in other people and to have it be a real honest scene in which the audience is also part of the music. I know it's a good show depending on how the crowd is getting into the music. I can feel it when they get the groove, and we play off that." Last Call featured an interview with Charlie Hunter Trio in October 2007. Click on the link above to listen to the interview. Recording Engineer: Mike Hansen. Photo credit: Chris Cooke.