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  • Songs from the Analog Playground
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Songs from the Analog Playground


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Audio CD, September 25, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Charlie Hunter always put his emphasis on the groove, using his eight-string guitar to create an uncanny blend of bright leads, bass lines, and chord riffs that can simulate classic funk organ. For Songs from the Analog Playground, he's added a series of guest vocalists to the mix, touching on pop sensibilities with an eclectic mix of originals and cover tunes. Norah Jones is the big news, bringing a breathy intimacy and soulful depths to Bryan Ferry's "More Than This" and Nick Drake's "Day Is Done," making them very much her own in the process. Theryl de Clouet, from the funk band Galactic, is a gritty, forceful presence on Earth, Wind & Fire's "Mighty Mighty" and the classic blues of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful," while Mos Def raps on "Street Sounds" and takes his own stab at R&B singing on "Creole." Kurt Elling's loose treatments of "Desert Way" and the Afro-Cuban suffused "Close Your Eyes" invoke traditional jazz singing. Tying it all together--vocals and instrumentals alike--are Hunter and his working quartet, stripping soul jazz down to its essentials, then rebuilding it in their own image, with frequent Latin and Caribbean touches expanded on by drummer Stephen Chopek and percussionist Chris Lovejoy. Hunter and tenor saxophonist John Ellis shine on jams like "Rhythm Music Rides Again" and "Run for It," alternately digging into the beat or floating atop. --Stuart Broomer

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Street SoundsCharlie Hunter Featuring Mos Def 2:32$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Rhythm Music Rides AgainCharlie Hunter 5:58$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Mighty MightyCharlie Hunter Featuring Theryl De Clouet 3:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Mitch Better Have My BunnyCharlie Hunter 6:11$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. More Than This (feat. Norah Jones)Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones 4:10$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Desert WayCharlie Hunter Featuring Kurt Elling 6:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Run For ItCharlie Hunter 7:54$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. SpoonfulCharlie Hunter Featuring Theryl De Clouet 5:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Close Your EyesCharlie Hunter Featuring Kurt Elling 1:37$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Percussion ShuffleCharlie Hunter 5:48$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. CreoleCharlie Hunter Featuring Mos Def 5:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. Sunday MorningCharlie Hunter 1:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. Day Is Done (feat. Norah Jones)Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones 4:36$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • ASIN: B00005NU6A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,176 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Russell Diederich VINE VOICE on January 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
There are few musicians who can actually make my jaw drop, but Charlie Hunter is definitely one of them. You'll notice that the only instruments in the band are saxophone (John Ellis), percussion (Chris Lovejoy) and drums (Stephen Chopek), and Hunter on guitar. There's no organist and no real bassist, even though you can hear all these instruments on this album. Hunter's 8-string guitar is a meld between the first three strings of a bass and the five top strings of a guitar, and he plays everything else you hear.
Hunter's sound mostly consists of Latin jazz. This album is a mix of both slow and up-tempo songs with both instrumentals and singing. The album opens to a percussion piece with a bossa nova feel. Hunter displays his guitar talent starting with "Rhythm Music Rides Again" backed with some great sax from Ellis. "Mitch Better Have My Bunny" returns to the bossa nova rhythm again. Listen to how Hunter mixes a walking bass line with the guitar rhythm. Hunter has several guest along to add to the mix with their voices. "More Than This" is a slow piece allowing focus to be given to the beautiful voice of Norah Jones. Hunter also does a cover of the classic "Spoonful" with the gravelly voice of Theryl De Clouet. An excellent job. Mos Def and Kurt Elling also appear on this album. Each singer lends their talent on two songs each.
The rest of the band are excellent musicians themselves. Both Lovejoy and Chopek provide an entertaining beat to the music. These two are a joy to listen to, and even more fun to see live. It's amazing what these gentlemen do. If you're a fan of guitar, jazz, or even music, check out Charlie Hunter. If you can see him live, he's well worth the price of admission.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chris Kelly on October 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Charlie Hunter and his latest cadré of east coast musicians have created some fine jazz and funk here. Now ensconced in the New York City scene with two albums already recorded there, the eight-string guitarist has returned with music worthy of his striking career. There are vocals on eight of the thirteen tracks and they work well with the songs most of the time. Introducing vocals after seven albums of pure instrumentals is a bold move and there are rewards.
The record opens with a percussion barrage courtesy Chris Lovejoy and Stephen Chopek and some spirited vocals by Mos Def. Hunter and Co. then jump into the saddle for "Rhythm Music Rides Again" an uptempo latin-tinged rhythm tune that shows off how tight and in good form this group is. Next, The quartet gives up the funk to back Theryl De'Clouet on some strong, impassioned vocals for "Mighty Mighty". Clouet is the best fit vocally for this group, as his tone, natural ability to shift his phrasing to the demands of the song and the ease with which he does this demonstrate.
Charlie and tenor saxophonist John Ellis create some great harmony as they cruise their way through the Gerry Mulligansque melody lines of "Mitch Better Have My Bunny", the brightest and most joyful of this outing, recalling the joie de vivré of Ready, Set...Shango! and Natty Dread.
The breathy delivery Norah Jones gives on "More Than This"(originally a hit in the 80's by Roxy Music)lacks the conviction this cover needed. Hunter's bass line and transitions have their usual perfection, and Ellis gets to show off his chops at light balladry. The track evokes the memory of Jobim when he worked with Sinatra.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Clay Hathorn on October 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I've always liked Charlie Hunter recordings more for their originality than their execution. His catalog is filled by remarkably innovative stuff with his jazz, rock and groove influences all in the right order. The three albums I have (prior to this one), however, left me wanting a little more. 'Natty Dread,' for example, was a cool record but the guitar/sax wankery never held my attention for the whole disc.
That criticism doesn't hold for the downright tasty "Songs from the Analog Playground." This is Charlie Hunter album I've been waiting for. It's not about a jazz guitarist; it's all about the grooze. The guest vocalists add variety and spice, while the percussion keeps it funky. There are a couple of songs I'm not crazy about, but they are overshadowed by such choice cuts as More than This, Spoonful and Percussion Shuffle. All in all, an inventive and entertaining slice of acid jazz that's both fresh and organic.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "sketchy@beer.com" on September 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
OK...first of all, the album IS out. It was released on Sept. 25th. I didn't realize it was out either until I saw that contest on MusicToday.com where you can win a jam session with him. So I decided to pick it up and I just gave it a spin in the car on the way home from the store. This is, hands down, Charlies best album yet. By bringing guest vocalists such as Mos Def, the Houseman, Kurt Elling, and Norah Jones into the mix, Charlies musical prowess shines through. To think that this guy is playing all of the melodic lines with his 8 string guitar is just mind boggling. Charlie Hunter is just one of those cats that can connect with you musically in ways no one else can. My suggestion - get off your but and buy this album. You won't be dissapointed!
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