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Ready... Set... Shango! (1996)

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Charlie Hunter

Although it is never clear what "shango" is, this set by guitarist Charlie Hunter's quartet is quite accessible and enjoyable. Marketed as some type of new alternative jazz, the music in reality is bop-based and not that far from soul-jazz. The most unusual aspect of the set is that Hunter plays an eight-string guitar, which not only allows him to play basslines (there is no bassist on the CD) but at times to emulate an organ. Both tenorman Dave Ellis, who would soon start his own solo career, and altoistCalder Spanier have plenty of solo space, while drummer Scott Amendola keeps the music grooving and moving. The nine selections may all be originals, but the music is also tied to the swinging tradition. Recommended.