|Recording information: The Truck Farm Studios, New Orleans, LA (2005).
Though he's often classified as a fusion guitarist, Charlie Hunter has none of the penchant for overplaying that frequently accompanies practitioners of the genre. Recorded in New Orleans, COPPEROPOLIS has a vibrant looseness and good humor that manifests itself in pieces like "A Street Fight Could Break Out" and the second-line beat of "Swamba Redux." Hunter's sidemen, horn and keyboard player John Ellis and drummer Derrek Phillips, supply an empathetic bedrock accompaniment that colors the guitarist's lyrical, deceptively simple phrasing on tracks like "Drop the Rock" and the band's Latin- and New Orleans-influenced treatment of Thelonious Monk's "Think of One."
Hunter's trio has the beating heart of a jazz group -- one that's particularly good at combining studio resourcefulness with live energy.
3 stars out of 5 -- It's essentially an enlightened blowing session for the trio and it succeeds admirably as such with each musician exhibiting individual ideas while maintaining the group's unique ensemble sound.