A duo is Charlie Hunter's preferred way of working these days -- for both economic and aesthetic reasons.
"We can move it around more both financially and musically. It's very mobile" says the genre-hopping guitar virtuoso from New Jersey. "When we do a trio, the third person is usually a horn, which is great for that specific jazz thing. But having a due, you have the ability to go to all these different musical kinds of spaces without having the horn always bringing you back to the jazz space, just sonically.
"Now, there are some horn players who can play and not go automatically to jazz, but they're rare. So (the duo) is very flexible, which I enjoy a lot. And it keeps the hotel bills down."
Hunter, 45, is out this time with his longtime drummer Scott Amendola. The two have recorded a new album, "Not Getting Behind is the New Getting Ahead," whose songs -- including "Assessing the Assesors, An Assesor's Assessment," "Rust Belt" and "Economy With Dignity" -- offer instrumental impressions about today's harsh economic realities. And, Hunter explains, even though these aren't conventionally protest songs -- especially not without lyrics -- he's confident that his audiences understand and hear the message he and Amendola are delivering, tonally.
"I think that's kind of our job as an artist; we're supposed to reflect the current zeitgeist or situation, but in a non-verbal way," Hunter says. "And it's not about answers, it's just about reflection.
"Plus, everybody can relate to it, for sure. Everyone is in that same position, every single person I know. I don't know anybody who is taking advantage of the current situation. So (the music) just increases the dialogue."
The Charlie Hunter Duo performs Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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