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(BLUE NOTE RECORDS 1999)


 

Charlie Hunter - 8-string guitar
Stefon Harris - vibraphone
John Santos - percussion
Scott Amendola - drums

TRACK LISTING
1. Bongo Confront 1:21
2. Enter the Dragon 6:10
3. Fly Like An Eagle 4:31
4. Dope-a-licious 4:47
5. Mystic Relaxation 1:07
6. Return of the Candyman 5:11
7. Pound for Pound 6:37
8. Grinch Comfort 3:36
9. People 6:41
10. Shake, Shake It Baby 1:55
11. Turn Me Loose 6:52
12. Huggy Bear 5:09
13. Of Things to Come 1:25

Produced By Lee Townsend

Recorded at Mobius Music, San Francisco, CA September 16-18, 1997
Mixed at Different Fur Recording, San Francisco, CA

in loving memory of Calder Spanier
January 29, 1966 - December 4, 1997

     

For his fifth release, Hunter points himself in a refreshing new direction. "I not only wanted to play in a more percussive setting this time out, but I also wanted to dig into new realms of tonality and timbre. Don't get me wrong. I love the horns, but I'd been doing that for so long that I wanted to go after something different. Above all I wanted to make a groove album which meant coming up with a strong rhythm section."

"I had been listening to alot of vibes players lately, people like Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, and especially Steve Nelson who sounds great on Dave Holland's latest album (Dream of the Elders). I was excited by the fresh tonal possibilities as well as the versatility of the instrument and how it would blend in with the rest of the rhythm section. The people at Blue Note had been hipping me to [Stefon Harris]. They sent me a tape of his music and Stefon was killing. I knew I had to get his sound and intensity of playing. He was so great to work with. Stefon's such an open-minded cool dude. Plus, he's got a great attitude. He gives 100% to the music."

Hunter sought out John Santos for his addition on percussion "to add extra funkification to the vibe," and with Scott Amendola on drums, Charlie found what he was searching for. "This is what I had in mind when I first started thinking about this album. I'm really pleased with the results. We recorded a great record for hip-hop DJ's to sample."

Why call this lineup Pound for Pound? "Catchy, isn't it? I just like how it sounds. I got the idea watching the boxer Roy Jones Jr. being interviewed on a talk show. He was saying that as a middleweight or light heavyweight boxer, he didn't make a whole lot of money, but pound for pound he claimed he was the best fighter in the land."

Why is the album called Return of the Candyman? Charlie smiles, "Because we wanted to have a creepy picture of a clown on the cover. It's so freaky. It's supposed to look like one of those black velvet paintings. Plus, I can't think of another jazz group that would ever put out an album with a cover like this."


Bongo Confront - "I wanted to write pieces that were meant to serve as interludes. Again, I wanted to do something different, to make these little band statements that fade out. I think of them as these tiny organic samples."

Enter the Dragon - The complex time signature starting off this tune was inspired by the late martial arts expert, Bruce Lee.

Fly Like An Eagle - "We were at a gig in North Hampton and we said we would take requests from the audience. And someone requested 'Fly Like and Eagle' and [John Coltrane's] 'Giant Steps.' Both are just preposterous requests. So we decided to do both of them at the same time, or in one arrangement. And I started doing it and realized it's a pretty good tune for what it is. The way we played it was ironic or something - playing it close to the original. Scott put that go-go beat on top of it. So we said, 'Why not?'" Steve Miller is the corniest motherfucker ever," says Hunter. "But you know his production was killing. His guitar playing was really fucking good. And his rhythm section on that cut is killing. That is badass. I remember listening to that on my transistor radio when I was eight years old and being blown away, especially be the intro."

Dope-a-licious - All members of the band wrote this tune in rehearsal. "It is a fun little New Orleans-type ditty. We hit it and grooved."

Mystic Relaxation - This is another interlude, but it is an interpretation of a Ronnie Foster tune entitled "Electric Relaxation".

Return of the Candyman - Another funky tune Hunter had performed with his previous band. He made no changes to the arrangement of this tune.

Pound for Pound - This tune was influenced by Curtis Mayfield's music. "The tune may not sound like Curtis, but I think of him whenever we play it."

Grinch Comfort - Another interlude.

People - Here is a tune Hunter used to play with the Quartet, but here he rearranged it from the way it used to be played. "I changed it around because I felt we needed at least one real slow tune for the album. I'm really happy with how it came out."

Shake, Shake It Baby - This tune features John Santos on congas. "It's a little Latin boogaloo that we baked up. We put John's conga solo up front and ended with the head rather than starting with it."

Turn Me Loose - "Straight funkification. We change the key toward the end so that Stefon and I have a different groove to solo over."

Huggy Bear - Another slow tune Charlie changed around a bit from playing it with past lineups. Charlie calls this one a "shuffle ballad".

Of Things to Come - Harris wrote this last interlude to close the album. "That's a great little sample number. Any hip-hop DJ who doesn't sample this is a fool."

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