In a culture so besieged by the conflict between art and commerce, it's perhaps natural that the use of pop idioms is disparaged by the critical elite, anxious to protect their canon from dilution. Charlie Hunter has dodged such dismissive darts aimed at his eclectic jazz treatments, which have spanned the musical map from Bob Marley to Brian Wilson to Nirvana, bridging boundaries like a diplomat and liaison for the Blank Generation.
An archetypal iconoclast, Hunter has a colorful history that includes teenage guitar lessons from Joe Satriani, a stint with Michael Franti's hip-hop group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, and participation in the jazz outfit T.J. Kirk, whose moniker perfectly captures Hunter's aesthetic -- combining pop elements such as William Shatner's Star Trek character with the names of musical heroes, Thelonious Monk, James Brown, and Roland Kirk.
No discussion of Hunter is complete without mention of his prodigious technical proficiency. The thirtysomething former San Francisco Bay Area resident uses a custom-made eight-string bass/guitar with which he plays both rhythm and lead. Hunter picks bass notes with his right thumb, fretting them with his left index finger, while at the same time finger-picking guitar chords and single notes with his right hand's remaining four digits as he frets with his left hand's other three fingers.
Sun., Sept. 12, 8 p.m., 2010
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