Fuzzed-out, rock-infested, funk-strewn jazz: That's what's on "Copperopolis," the latest album from Charlie Hunter, who remains one of the few truly innovative-yet-accessible jazz musicians on the scene today.
With two familiar cats by his side' Derrek Phillips on drums and John Ellis lending not only his always killer horn work, but also some funky licks on various electric keyboards' Hunter tears it up here. For those unfamiliar with Hunter, the guy plays a modified eight-string guitar that enables him to produce both typical guitar and bass parts simultaneously.
Thing is, while we look at most people who attempt such feats as merely creative, Hunter actually makes this sound good. And on this album, recorded during the 2005 New Orleans JazzFest, Hunter lets the fuzz-tones hang out more than usual, giving the music a loose, infectious feel. If this isn't Hunter at his most unfettered and exciting, it's pretty darn close. Recommended.
- Dave Bond