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Interview:
Duo format allows Charlie Hunter to be fearless about musical explorations
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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One thing Charlie Hunter is not wanting for these days is work.

The jazz guitarist is on the road with drummer and regular collaborator Scott Amendola, promoting their 2013 release "Pucker." The two have also recorded a series of four EPs featuring covers of material by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Hank Williams and the Cars. And next month Hunter will start recording an album of Dionne Warwick covers with R&B singer Dionne Farris that the duo is funding via a Pledge Music campaign.

"Well, look, there's a lot of us out there, and I'm glad to have enough work to pay the mortgage," says the Rhode Island-born, California-raised Hunter, 46, a former student of rock guitar hero Joe Satriani whose customized guitars allow him to play melody, rhythm and bass pattern. "that's about the amount of work I have. It's not easy. You've got to really hustle, but I'm glad to even be in a position to have a hustle."

Hunter and Amendola, meanwhile, have spent the better part of five years honing their style as a duo. "Pucker" features Amendola's songs, while 2012's "Not Getting Behind is the New Getting Head" was dominated by Hunter's material. And, Hunter says, he can't imagine the two ever having trouble finding some new direction to explore.

"We're just two guys; we have to figure out how we can tell a story with that, with the information we have," Hunter explains. "You're so stripped down, and you don't have a pure melodic instrument like a singer to lean on. But Scott is a great drummer for this; he's got a great balance of compositional, conceptual thinking and the ability to groove as well -- not a lot of people can do that.

"So now it feels very comfortable. You use the space a lot, and you just develop a sound within it to find what works. It certainly keeps you on your toes."

The Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo performs Wednesday, April 9, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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