Charlie Hunter Quintet - Right Now Move


Since the emergence of guitarist Charlie Hunter in 1993, the jazz world discovered another unique voice that raises the bar of quality musicianship. Charlie’s unorthodox approach to playing the eight-string guitar encompasses tonal bass lines, while sounding much like an organ by using a steel pedal creating this unimaginable dexterity expressing Hunter’s uncanny talents as a musician. His debut on Mammoth Records titled “Charlie Hunter Trio” (1993) has since been followed up by 7 distinctive recordings on Blue Note Records boggling the minds of the unknowing and challenging the unforgiving purist. 

Charlie’s 9th recording and debut on “Rope A Dope Records” titled “Right Now Move” continues to excel in an unpredictable direction prompting new comers to rethink they’re approach to music. His voice transcends musical limitations while steering clear of the rat race of modern music accepting no substitutes while exploring new avenues within the realm of classic soul jazz makes “Right Now Move” well worth the visit. 

The Players: Charlie Hunter, 8 string guitar & Panderio – John Ellis, Tenor Sax & Bass Clarinet – Derrek Phillips, Drums – Gregoire Maret, Chromatic Harmonica and Curtis Fowlkes, Trombone. 

The opening track “Mestra Tata” sets the pace for this 60’s “soul-jazz” excursion evoking a masterful journey streaming flavors from the past with complex interplay by this remarkable quintet.  Subsequently, this tune was inspired by Hunter’s travels too San Paolo, Brazil in quest too discover the pandeiros and other instruments in a local music shop. During his visit there, he encountered a local percussion legend named “Mestra Tata” (which means Master in Portuguese according too Charlie) therefore inspiring this lyrical piece. 

Oakland” drops in at the second spot with the humming bass lines of Hunter followed by Gregoire’s harmonica interweaved with verbal background chant by the quintet. Hunter and the gang begin to exchange solos by the Fowlkes trombone and John Ellis’s sax trading places within the piece making this mid-tempo girder solid as a rock.   

A hip Cuban flavor composition falls into the 3rd position titled “Changui”.  This groove is accented by once again by the flexible interplay of Ellis on sax and Fowlkes trombone unveils toxic rhythmic changes escalating into a breathtaking musical excursion.  

“Try” is a tribute too trombonist Fred Wesley. The raspy horns sounds engaging in conversations at the intersection; while the soulful organ like groove by Charlie’s guitar intervenes, Maret slides in with the sweet sounds of his harmonica reminiscent of “Toots Thielemans” and the boys in the band intercede with the bopping and chopping sax and bone sounds once more making this one hip groove (this track was inspired by a road trip with Fred Wesley and drummer Mike Clark)! 

Charlie’s penmanship draws from another chapter of the “Soul-Jazz” archives, this inspiring moment evolves impressively with twists and turns that reflects the consistency on this project kicking tight grooves like the jazzmen from back in the day with a piece called “Whoopass”.  Ellis and Fowlkes continues to amaze me with their tonal interplay making they’re musical kinship a blissful arrangement. 

“Interlude 1” makes its appearance at this point of transition (according too Charlie this is one of many interludes that was recorded for this project). 

The Gospel classic “Wade In The Water” finds it’s way into this set of noteworthy tunes as the quintet again compliments each other successfully with their adorned talents making this a memorable piece. 

Hunter is obviously influenced by guitarist Grant Green with a groove titled the “20th Congress” this cut elevates into what “Charlie describes as Robert Walter inspired tune”. His sidemen comfortably churns this groove into a familiar playground with exception. 

Interlude 5” sails in at the nine spot. Ellis turns his bass clarinet into a revolving chant supported by his band mate Marte’s flattering harmonic melodies. 

Winky was originally written as a vocal arrangement on Notes from the Underground” Hunter again reveals why he’s a giant amongst his peers exhibiting unsurprising potential as an artist. This self-penned composition travels seamlessly through the passages of “soul and bop jazz” strapped by a garment of funk whitsling chopping solos by these journeymen that beckons your attention. 

Freak Fest” is a Latin groove executed with tight precision with solos by the bone-man Fowlkes, he moves in stride burning the midnight oil with this tasty number. Off the beaten path with complex rhythms “Freak Fest” roars with spook and vigor making it one of my personal favorites on the cd. 

Mali” draws from the harmonic structures of world music, chanting melodies and cascading rhythms molds perfectly into Charlie’s concept of “Right Now Move” providing yet another splendid effort by this incredible quintet.  

Le Bateau Ivre” wraps up this flawless musical experience. Charlie relishes the ideology of  soul-jazz” accented by other positive musical influences that could possibly break barriers and set new standards throughout this project and future recordings as well.  

Charlie Hunter is one of the most important voices in contemporary jazz since his debut in the early 90’s. Why? Simply because his voice is illusive yet innovative therefore, continuing too inspire others to create music that borrows from an era of importance to them individually while creating their own distinctive sound within the context of that source. “Right Now Move” is highly recommended for the more adventurous music lovers.