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Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola 

When: Thu., Nov. 8, 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $20
Guitarist Charlie Hunter has always moved gracefully between the rock and jazz worlds. And while he’s often played rock clubs when he’s swung through town, Hunter says he’s a particular fan of Nighttown (it’s where he first debuted “Rust Belt,” a track on his new album Not Getting Behind is the New Getting Ahead). Plus, he says the whole question of whether his music is jazz or rock isn’t one with he wrestles with. “It’s something I don’t struggle with, but other people do,” he says via phone from his New Jersey home. “The jazz thing is so important to me because I don’t think there’s any better way to learn rhythm, melody and harmony in the same place. I grew up with my mom’s music on the old record player, which is all the old blues stuff: Robert Johnson and Lead Belly. It was very guitar-istic stuff. I spent so much time in the world of guitar and going to see Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Robert Cray and Albert King and John Lee Hooker and guys like that. That’s the guitar vernacular: Lonnie Mack and the Beatles. And Stax Volt. It’s all of equal importance to me as Dexter Gordon or Louis Armstrong. It’s just about doing as much research as you can and not trying to make yourself into something you’re not.” Hunter, whose career stretches back nearly 20 years, embraces a variety of musical styles on Not Getting Behind. The album commences with the atmospheric “Assessing the Assessors, An Assessor’s Assessment” and then segues into songs that seem to get progressively funkier and more animated. Perhaps that’s a reflection of the album’s theme. “When we made this record, I was telling [band mate drummer] Scott [Amendola], ‘This is our music; this is American music. This is what we are qualified to do. We’ve studied this our whole lives. They have something they call Americana. I don’t want that kind of Americana. I don’t want the Americana of the mountaintop liberal or a tenured professor. I want the Americana of those two dudes beating each other up in front of the liquor store waiting for the Greyhound bus.’” (Jeff Niesel)

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