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Right Now Move

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Album Review

On his first album for a new label (after seven with Blue Note), the mercurial Charlie Hunter again works with a new group of musicians. Unlike the vocal-heavy Songs From the Analog Playground, Hunter returns to instrumentals on these 13 tracks. But it's the unique makeup of his band that gives this music its offbeat, eclectic, yet soothing qualities. Backed by drums and a two-piece horn section (Curtis Fowlkes on trombone and John Ellis on tenor sax), it's the group's fifth member — Gregoire Maret on chromatic harmonica — that really twists this music into unusual and previously unchartered waters. Easygoing, somewhat tropical funk and strong horn lines infuse a gentle, breezy, but not flimsy quality to this music. The horn players are both spectacular. Kudos in particular go to Fowlkes' trombone on the percussion-heavy "Freak Fest" and harp player Maret, whose minor key lines on "Mali," the album's longest track, add a European edge to the tune's lighthearted funk and complex horn charts. Arguably lost in the shuffle at times is Hunter himself, whose guitar/bass patterns underscore the proceedings, but only occasionally command center stage. Still, it is his concept that provides the foundation for the brass to work against, and his ever-present chords, many of which sound like keyboards due to various effects, provide the album's context. His spare George Benson-like style spars with the horns most effectively on "Le Bateau Ivre," the set's closing track, and "Wade in the Water," the sole cover. Hunter is at his playful best when his bouncy bass rules and the horns swing on the compact four-and-a-half-minute "Whoop-Ass." The New Orleans beat on "20th Century" — featuring dueling sax and trombone goosed by Derrek Phillips' lively drumming — is another highlight on an album filled with them. Though the approach is unique, it becomes less exciting and the tracks are more difficult to differentiate as the disc unfolds. Regardless, Hunter, to his credit, is trying something different (once more) and established fans of his jazz fusion worldbeat will not be disappointed.

Customer Reviews

Must have for jazz lovers!

Charlie Hunter is without a doubt the best living guitarist. His ability to play the bass, comp, and solo at the same time is unmatched. The heavy latin beats of derek phillips lay down dancable, yet complex rhythms. John Ellis is a great saxophone/bass clarinetist in any style. The complex chording of Gregorie Maret and Curtis Fowlkes makes for great harmony. My favorite song is Mali.


Born: 1968 in Rhode Island

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

As a young guitarist growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Charlie Hunter was looking for a way to stand out in the '80s. His primary influences were jazz great Joe Pass and the fluid Tuck Andress (of the guitar/vocal duo Tuck & Patti), both six-string guitarists who were adept at blending bass notes into their standard guitar melodies to make themselves sound like two musicians at once. But Hunter wanted to take it one step further and set out to find an instrument on which he could simultaneously...
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Right Now Move, Charlie Hunter Quintet
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