Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Charlie Hunter & Pound for Pound - Return of the Candyman

After releasing Natty Dread, Charlie Hunter decided to form a new band, one without horns. The ensuing Pound For Pound features Hunter with a drummer, synthesizers, and vibraphonist Stefon Harris. Removing the horns puts Hunter's guitar in the spotlight, and he rises to the occasion, fulfilling the promise he's displayed on all of his previous releases. There's a stronger groove here than on any of Hunter's previous records, but what's remarkable about the album is the way he keeps the groove rolling while pushing the music into unpredictable, adventurous territory. That fusion of groove and challenging jazz makes Return of the Candyman a thoroughly rewarding listen. - by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG

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." - from Charlie's website

Artist: Charlie Hunter & Pound for Pound
Album: Return of the Candyman
Year: 1998
Label: Blue Note
Total time: 52:23

1.  Bongo Confront (Charlie Hunter) 1:20
2.  Enter The Dragon (Charlie Hunter) 6:09
3.  Fly Like An Eagle (Steve Miller) 4:31
4.  Dope-a-licious (Charlie Hunter/Stefon Harris/Scott Amendola/John Santos) 4:46
5.  Mystic Relaxation (Charlie Hunter) 1:07
6.  Return Of The Candyman (Charlie Hunter) 5:11
7.  Pound For Pound (Charlie Hunter) 6:37
8.  Grinch Comfort (Charlie Hunter) 0:38
9.  People (Charlie Hunter) 6:41
10.  Shake, Shake It Baby (Charlie Hunter) 1:54
11.  Turn Me Loose (Charlie Hunter) 6:51
12.  Huggy Bear (Charlie Hunter) 5:09
13.  Of Things To Come (Stefon Harris) 1:23

Charlie Hunter (Guitar)
Stefon Harris (Vibraphone)
Scott Amendola (Drums)
John Santos (Percussion)


  1. I have everything Charlie has put our commercially, and many boots too. The guy is such a monster player, but I have to say this one didn't resonate with me as much as many of his others, like the self-titled Charlie Hunter and Right Now Move. however, after reading the reviews here, i'm gonna pull that one out and give it a fresh listen. It deserves it, i'm sure. BTW, thanks much for all the great posts here at Into the Rhythm!

  2. well... you didn't give the password, so the bandwidth and time to download this was just wasted.

  3. Dear friend, see first "About me " section"....

  4. Dear friend, just take your time and enjoy this fantastic blog. Everything will manifest itself with time

  5. Thank you, itr!



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