Charlie Hunter Trio (3 stars)

Charlie Hunter Trio

Mistico (Fantasy)

JAZZ

Guitarist Charlie Hunter changes tack with this trio outing, which moves even further into rock territory than its more funk-oriented recent predecessors, and consequently, further from Hunter’s earlier and more overtly ‘jazz’ work as well. The music is recorded as close to live as possible, stringing together a series of earthy, deliberately lo-fi workouts over crunching backbeats from the guitarist, drummer Simon Lott and keyboard player Erik Deutsch, variously featured on piano, Fender Rhodes and CasioTone.

Hunter has also modified the signature sound of his familiar eight-string Novax guitar by removing one string and shaving down the neck, but he still manages to extract a huge range of torn and twisted sonic variations from it. By jazz standards it is pretty basic stuff in the harmonic and rhythmic departments, but disctinctly and enjoyably exploratory in terms of raw energy, sonic experiment and off-kilter guitar and keyboard textures.

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