Charlie Hunter: guitar; Kirk Knuffke: trumpet; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone; Bobby Previte: drums.
Charlie Hunter, a New York-based guitarist with a catchy sound and superior technique, has a new album whose long title, Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth, was taken from a quote uttered by the heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
Hunter returns to the quartet format, adding the extraordinary trumpeter Kirk Knuffke to his regular bandmates - focused trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and exciting drummer Bobby Previte, who had partaken in his previous album, Let the Bells Ring On.
The title track invests in a persuasive jazzy bass groove, intuitive guitar chops, and well-calibrated drumming. The horn players, whenever not blowing in the same direction, fill the available spaces with tasteful detail. First solo of the recording was conceded to Fowlkes who didn’t disappoint.
“(Looks Like) Somebody Got Ahead Of Schedule On Their Medication”, doesn’t stand out only because of its super enigmatic title, but also for being slightly more abstract in its approach. Hunter shows off an engaging sound, establishing a fruitful connection with the reedists while Previte substantiates he's a true master in rock-style cross-cuts.
“Leave Him Lay” and “No Money, No Honey” are sketched with chunks of funk, blues, and rock. The former begins in the guise of an effulgent blues before shifting into a horn-driven extravaganza delivered at typical 4/4 tempo; the latter bursts with punchy rhythms occasionally disrupted to let the horns assume the command with authority.
The gently exotic “Latin For Travelers” does justice to its title, changing completely the mood and displaying the best solo of the record, splendidly conceived by Knuffke.
“Who Put You Behind The Wheel?” adopts the form of a cartoonish dance in which we find the bandleader smothering the sound of his strings. It reserves a surprising variation for the finale.
In turn, “(Wish I Was) Already Paid And On My Way Home” flows at a more relaxed pace than the brassy and reggae-ish “The Guys Get Shirts”, which inevitably takes the path of blues afterward.
Hunter shows all his polyvalence on guitar and forges a great album strongly rooted in the traditions of blues and rock. The quality of his arrangements is an asset.
02 – (Looks Like) Somebody Got Ahead Of Schedule On Their Medication ► 06 – Latin For Travelers ► 08 – Who Put You Behind The Wheel?