charlies axe


Stanton Moore (with Charlie Hunter & Skerik)
"Kooks On Parade"

" Moore plays all over the beat on All Kooked Out, sometimes laying a bit behind it and letting things simmer, other times getting slightly ahead of it, making the music feel about to trip, just before his command of rhythm snaps things back into place. It is this aspect of his partnership with Hunter that is most impressive. Perhaps due to Hunter's rhythmic prowess -- he plays a custom eight-string guitar with three bass and five lead guitar strings, which he plays simultaneously -- he and Moore synch up so perfectly that when they accent a beat together, it sounds as if they're being directed. Hunter's talent also shines in his effort to not be overtly present on the record, proving that understated, supportive playing is more the sign of a great musician than any self-indulgent chops. "

(Alex Oliver, Offbeat Magazine, April 1998)


(the one on the left)

Charlie Hunter is a superbad eight-string guitarist and former Blue Note artist. His unique axe has five guitar strings, three bass strings, and two pickups - allowing him to play bass and guitar at the same time...

Charlie was kind enough to participate in Stanton Moore's debut album All Kooked Out!


charlies axe Charlie was a staple of the San Francisco Bay Area jazz scene for years. Playing his custom-made 8-string guitar (3 bass strings and 5 guitar strings), Charlie performs for audiences of all musical tastes. Incorporating jazz, funk, rock, and blues into his music, Hunter is merging the gap between these musical genres and in the process creating a sound and style of music all his own. In the process, he has become somewhat of a jazz ambassador to fans who have not yet found an attraction to jazz but who can grasp the immediacy and often lowdown funkiness of his grooves.

charlie in studio Charlie's subsequent move to Brooklyn may make it easier to maintain his relationship with Blue Note Records, but really resulted from his need for new challenges, and an eagerness to be around musicians who make him feel like "a little fish in a big pond". That he would find himself back in San Francisco in late 1997 at the Great American Music Hall, waiting to go onstage and sit in with a lesser-known band called Galactic, is (we would hope!) evidence of his good graces and the skills of the boys in that band. Regardless of the reasons, Charlie was there and he was called onstage early into the show, and what was supposed to be a tune or two turned into an all-nighter... and it was after that show that Charlie and Stanton started conspiring to work together at some point in the future.

Four months later, Charlie graciously agreed to join in on Stanton Moore's first solo record. The music reflects the good time that was had by all, of course. But we do suspect that the key drawing card for Charlie was Stanton's mom's southern cooking which arrived at the studio every afternoon...

Charlie was interviewed for the "Icons Among Us" documentary, which we highly recommend you seek out. Here's an excerpt:

" the whole concept of labeling things is, it's really a manifestation of living in a capitalist system where you need to bring things to market, you need to commodify things. And the easiest way to commodify a product is to name it and label it and give it a very specific focus so that your target audience, they'll be like 'boom this is product A' and then boom they're to product A. And a lot of that is kind of like manipulating the reptilian mind and our normal human tendencies towards that kind of group thing you know. And you know, in the early stages of my career I tried to fit into that cause I didn't understand how to relate all of the kind of cultural things I wanted to within this very, very narrow kind of a viewpoint. But I found that, that ultimately by slowly cutting off every possible (laugh) avenue of remuneration I could have for myself, I've come to a nice happy medium of being able to play the music that I want with the people I want, for the audience I want, more or less generally. Which is great. And I just think it's a lot harder work, you really have to put your nose to the grindstone. But ultimately it ends up being a lot more rewarding because you feel like you're really a part of, at the end of the night after finishing your gig, you just leave it there. Just feels good, you feel like you've communicated with the audience, they accepted you for what you are, and maybe that audience is only a hundred people instead of 10,000 people. But to me you know as long as I can manage to make a living and play for that kind of audience, that really makes me feel like I don't have to look over my shoulder, I don't have to feel like in a few years I'm gonna be really embarrassed you know. Although I have been embarrassed, but that's all part of the process you know"

Charlie's website includes a great online journal of Charlie's west coast "All Kooked Out!" tour - with sound clips from this incredible series of shows.