Bay Area product Charlie Hunter returns to his old stomping grounds May 14-16 for a three-day stopover at Yoshi's San Francisco. The trouble with Charlie has always been that he's too damn talented and prolific for his own good. Contemporary jazz guitarists don't get a lot of play these days, but Hunter is one of the best there is. His melodic, groove-oriented style is best described as fluid yet thick, and he's able to coax notes out of his custom, 7-string axe (which alleviates the need for a separate bass player) beyond the reach of conventional musicians. The onetime Berkeley High product has released a staggering seventeen albums since 1993, suggesting, perhaps, he's able to record in his sleep. Either that, or he doesn't sleep at all.
Charlie's most recent release, Baboon Strength, is another solid entry in his catalog. It's filled with laid-back, unpretentiously rockin' tunes like "Athens" and "Welcome to Frankfurt," and the band nails the organtastic Squeeze homage "Difford-Tillbrook," which always seems like it's just about to segue into "Tempted" (but never does) every time you listen to it. For his Yoshi's shows, Hunter will be performing as a duo, with Dirty Dozen Brass Band's Terence Higgins, which should make the proceedings even more intimate than his usual trio set-up.