With a career spanning more than 25 years and 20 albums, renowned guitarist Charlie Hunter consistently pleases audiences as an innovative writer and bandleader. Accompanying Hunter on this tour stop in Little Rock are celebrated jazz vocalist Dara Tucker and Grammy Award–winning drummer and percussionist Keita Ogawa.
Charlie Hunter speaks on the joy of intimate concerts, simple settings, and timeless music:
Music has changed a lot in some ways over the years that I’ve been playing, but not in others. The spectacle has changed: a lot of people are using multimedia in performance now.
But I still do what people were doing 100 years ago: I play using my narrative ability and my instrument.
I’ve always been kind of a small, boutique musician. I think it can be a more human experience and a more primal connection between the musicians and the audience–a connection we’ve been making throughout the evolution of music.
It’s a deeper, more personal, and immediate experience to attend a simpler concert. As we get involved in social media in everyday life, it’s nice to have that deeper connection in a musical event.
As crazy as it sounds, as much as I have toured this country over decades, I’ve never played in Little Rock. So I’m looking forward to playing in the Ron Robinson Theater. We usually play at venues from 100 to 500 seats in our concerts, so the Ron Robinson is right in the middle.
On the rewards of a musician’s life
Every day that I get to go to my shed and practice—that’s my reward. And the other part of the reward is when the audience shows up and wants to be part of what we’re doing that night.
I’ve done total improvisation before for entire concerts, but for this concert, it will be improvisation within a framework. Dara Tucker, who will be singing with us, is a great singer.
Instead of doing my own works this time, we’ll be focusing on blues, spirituals, and jazz standards.
Most of the time, I’ve done instrumental music in the past. But in 2017, I did a record with singer Silvana Estrada where we had the singer, percussion, and me. Unfortunately, Silvana was then denied a cultural performer’s visa to come tour with us. My friend Lucy Woodward stepped in initially to sing in her place, and now Dara will be singing here in Little Rock.
Touring’s not as intense as it used to be when we would go on the road for 8 months at a time. Now I’ll do two weeks on, two weeks off. We’re going through North Carolina, Texas, New Orleans and Atlanta. Then in December we’ll head to the West.
Catch the Charlie Hunter Trio at their first-ever Little Rock performance, this Friday night, November 9 at the Ron Robinson Theater! Tickets are $10 and available here: cals.org/event/charlie-hunter-trio/