On September 30, 2016, the Ohio-based sextet Huntertones will cut loose a live LP, culling together some stage recordings from last fall taped in a couple of cities within their home state. Seeing that the Huntertones currently have only a single EP under their name that might seem a bit odd to leap right into a collection of live performances that includes songs the band has already recorded in the studio. But actually, this is the right call. Because, #1, the Huntertones have made several records together as the Dan White Sextet, and #2, this is a tight, tight band who need no studio magic to handle their smart, witty arrangements. Hearing that done live, it sounds even fresher and more invigorating.
In my mind, Huntertones is really a fusion of two units: the funk-rock band of drummer John Hubbell, guitarist Josh Hill and bassist Adam DeAscentis, with the jazz front line of trumpeter Jon Lampley, trombonist Chris Ott and saxophonist Dan White. That was kind of the original idea behind the rock band Chicago, to insert a sax, trombone and trumpet horn line into contemporary music and make it sound like it always belonged there. The front three share the songwriting workload and work selflessly together to pour sriracha on any tune, while the rhythm section — sometimes with Theron Brown on keys — maintain the funky backbone.
“Circles,” penned by White, is indicative of their forte in satisfying both your head and your feet. White’s down-to-the-bone sax solo pleased the crowd but when he, Ott and Lampley play intricately together and keep it all in the pocket at the same time, well that’s when the most magic happens. It all culminates into a rousing series of staccato notes blasted in perfect unison leading up to the final chorus.
I get the commotion over Snarky Puppy, and the Huntertones deserve the same kind of buzz. Going off of “Circles” and a handful of other tracks I’ve heard from Live, it’s hard to imagine them sounding any better than this.
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