Telluride Jazz Celebration welcomes Charlie Hunter back to town, 3/4-5

Telluride Jazz Celebration welcomes Charlie Hunter back to town, 3/4-5

[click “Play” to hear Charlie Hunter talk about his music with Susan]



CharlieHunterPressPhoto2010 Any time guitar phenom Charlie Hunter shows up in Telluride, the producers have to shoehorn his fans into the room.

The Telluride Jazz Celebration welcomes Charlie Hunter back to town for two encore concerts, Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5, at The Llama, where he performs with his trio: Eric Kalb (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and John Scofield) on drums and John Ellis on sax, bass clarinet, and Wurlitzer. The concert will be streamed live, part of the Telluride Jazz Celebration’s Live from the Llama webcasts to give music lovers from around the world a chance to enjoy concerts emanating from one of Telluride’s premier live music venues.

Once upon a time, Charlie Hunter was just another kid from Berkeley – that is until he picked up his first guitar at age 12 for $7 and began taking lessons from Joe Satriani. Perhaps just another local kid winds up with a career in music under Charlie’s influence. During his visit, in addition to the live concerts, students from all over the Telluride region get to enjoy Charlie’s sound as part of the Telluride Jazz Celebration’s Artist in the Schools Program. Charlie performs at the Michael D. Palm Theater, Friday, March 4, 2:30 – 3:15.

“It’s an exciting way for young people to be exposed and interact with an internationally acclaimed musicians; gaining insight into his music and the life of a professional musician. It’s always a great learning and entertaining experience,” said Paul Machado, Executive Director of Telluride Society for Jazz.

“For some kids, this is their first exposure to jazz,” said Charlie. “They see how cool the music is and become intrigued enough to want to check out records by Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. If our mission succeeds, hopefully we’ll have helped to turn a generation of people onto a much more spiritually and soulfully executed music than what gets played on MTV.”

Playing guitar was part of Charlie’s genetic soup: his mother repaired the instrument for a living. By age 18, the same year he discovered the jazz of Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian and John Coltrane, Hunter became a street musician in Paris. Early in his career, Charlie got signed to Blue Note, where he played bass on the top strings and chords on the bottom of a curiously tuned 8-string instrument, using effects pedals and an amp cobbled together to approximate the output of an electric organ.

At one point in his career, the media attempted to pigeonhole Charlie’s style, labeling his sound “acid jazz.” Charlie disliked the term so much, he created his own tag for the music he plays: “antacid jazz.”

Today, Charlie Hunter’s audience is very diverse: guitar gearheads, jam-band followers and music lovers lusting for descendent of the 1960s Blue Note school of soul-jazz. Lots of women come to his shows, lots of teens and young adults, who bring their parents. Lots of moms and dads bring their kids to hear Charlie, who regularly performs at major festivals, including rock, and blue chip jazz clubs.

Like Bill Frisell, another Telluride Jazz Celebration alum, Charlie Hunter is distinctly unflashy. He lets the music carry the day.

“The goal is to reach the spiritual center of whatever music you’re searching for. I also feel a real urgency in life and that’s reflected in my music. It’s my only creative outlet. It’s the only avenue I have to scream about my life and what’s happening in other people’s world. It’s my fail-safe antidote to the world.”

Charlie Hunter is touring in support of his latest release, Public Domain on Spire Artist Media, his independent label.

Tickets are available for $20 at or at the door for $25.

To learn more about Charlie Hunter, click the “play” button and listen to his interview.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.