Charlie Hunter plays his own way. He does this so much so that his quest to find a way to emulate his influences — Joe Pass and Tuck Andress — led to his developing a custom-designed eight-string guitar. The instrument’s extra strings afford him an allowance to play bass lines and melody as one event, sounding like he is two players at once. Pass and Andress’s playing on six-string instruments allowed them to add bass notes to melody.

Hunter’s crafted guitar is a Novax by Ralph Novak. The rest is the mastery, exploration and experimentation and adventure of Hunter stretching limits and finding the sound. It defines him and his artistry. A determination to achieve a sound that took him all the way to a unique path of creativity.

Influence is a powerful thing. Hunter’s were not all guitarists; the diversity of players whose ways and means he was excited by included the single-line horn giants like Coltrane and Charlie Parker. The courage and fearlessness of the lines. The drive and explorations. Jimmy Smith and Stevie Wonder were also in that generous and diverse rainbow of influences. The collective result is a uniquely Charlie Hunter kind of engaging blend. It’s a defining ride.