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Duo (1999)

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Charlie Hunter

If it doesn't sound like a trio, that's because Charlie Hunter plays an eight-string guitar (five treble strings, three bass) and has apparently sold his soul to Satan in return for the ability to sound like two players at once. (There are other guitarists who play basslines with their thumbs and chords and melodies with their fingers, but none of them sound like this.) That doesn't mean that Hunter's playing sounds gimmicky -- on the contrary, his virtuosity makes this duo album sound like a nice, conventional guitar trio date. Percussionist Leon Parker is a bit more active than most jazz drummers, and that works out very nicely in this context, especially on the Latin-tinged "Mean Streak" and on Parker's own "Belief." There are also fine interpretations of the old jazz chestnut, "You Don't Know What Love Is," and of Brian Wilson's "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)." Hunter's funky "The Spin Seekers" harks back to his work with T.J. Kirk. This is a wonderful, warm, rewarding album. ~ Rick Anderson