Charlie Hunter got his groove back on the endlessly accessible Baboon Strength

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Charlie Hunter’s work in the 2000s wasn’t quite as consistent as it was in the 1990s, but he remained one of foremost practitioners of outlaw jazz guitar. Maybe I’m a bit unfair in applying the “less consistent” label, as he is always modulating his style. Still, I found myself, back then, becoming a bigger fan of his collaborations with Garage a Trois and Groundtruther than the Charlie Hunter solo stuff.

Then came Baboon Strength, self released on September 9, 2008. It continued the guitar/keyboards/drum format Hunter started the year before with Mistico – a record that raked in some good reviews, but didn’t do nearly as much for me as the more experimental Altitude from Groundtruther did from about the same time.

Baboon Strength, on the other hand, was more like it.

The first four songs are pretty concise, with the rocking “Athens” leading the way, and the disco-oriented “Welcome To Frankfurt” being the only real miscue on the whole record. After that, the numbers are more extended, giving the players more room to stretch out. Charlie Hunter’s blues-rock ruminations on “Fine Corinthian Leather” are mighty nice.

Along the way, Baboon Strength became one of Hunter’s most accessible records – ironic since, initially, you could only get the disc through his web site. Throughout, Charlie Hunter presented tighter compositions that didn’t waver so much between an R&B-influenced feel and the abstract.

Oh no, this one was wholly devoted to the groove.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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