Tag Archives: Charlie Hunter Trio

Charlie Hunter and Lucy at Woodward Mississippi Studios Thursday, December 5th 2019

Set one. Great performance again.

I gotta say I could not have asked for a better concert experience than what I had last Thursday. That nigh Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward with Doug Belote on drums played two incredible sets at Mississippi Studios which blew my mind. The show was killer, the food great and we had such a great time together.

Jenny came over right after work and we left for the Mississippi section of Portland. We ate at Interurban which I had never been to but Jenny had. Really great menu. I got some carrot fritters and a trout BLT. Both I thought were interesting and creative creations. The carrots reminded me of thanksgiving because of the puréed sweet carrot mixture and honey drizzle. The trout was just short of being candied or better yet jerky which for me was a new spin on the classic BLT.

The place itself really had some ambiance which sets it up. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was how dark it was inside. I know it’s winter and it’s dark at 5pm but this was crazy. It’s very small already and being so dark its easy to trip over things. Maybe a dozen tables on the main floor and half as many on the second floor which I also thing has the kitchen. Outside patio is available but no space heaters that I saw so it depends on how cold you like it if you sit outside. Seat yourself and staff will just come by. Local beer and mixed drinks which was nice.

We finished dinner pretty early so headed to the venue. It was only two blocks down from Interurban and once we got in we grabbed a round and headed outside. Conveniently they had a gas fire pit and allowed smoking around it. If we wanted a better seat we should have gone straight in but we would have missed running into Charlie at the front door!

After spending some time around the fire we decide to head in and grab our seats. As we are about to walk into the music hall side of things I catch Charlie Hunter walking in the front door. I quickly shock his hand and started chatting him up. I was way more composed this time than when I met him at the Jammin Java. I introduced him to Jenny and we chatted for several minutes. They just got back from a European swing of the tour. Lucy was flying in from Amsterdam and Charlie came from Charlotte, NC to California before driving the van north to the Portland show which I believe was the first back in the states. Charlie was obviously tired but you could tell there was this energy about him. This encounter I was much more composed and relaxed and I think everyone could feel it.

We didn’t find a close seat but that didn’t matter. The place is so small all seats have good views of the stage. We got a couple seats dead center and no one sat in front of Jenny so she too had a good view as well.

Having just seen them I thought this was a better show overall than Vienna. The playing was more fluid and the song selection unique. They played three Nina Simone and Jenny about lost her shit she was so excited. They also played some newer songs they are testing for the forthcoming album. It will be recorded early 2020 so I’m excited for that. I hope they release the album soon and do another tour to support it. I think they would be a fun band to see in Europe if given the chance.

On occasion I would look over at Jenny and I would smile she was so into it. It was so much fun hanging out with her that evening and seeing Charlie Hunter. I felt like i really could just be myself and do my thing and Jenny was right there ready to enjoy and have a genuine blast doing it. It was very comforting. Just a great night over all and I can’t wait to do it again.

Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward w/ Doug Belote on drums
Thursday, November 5th 2019
Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR

Start time 8:02pm

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    8:45pm set over

Set two starts at 9:16pm

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    Show over at 10:04pm

10:05pm encore starts

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    10:13pm house lights
A special guest trumpeter for the close out of set 2 and the encore.

Charlie Hunter Trio Mississippi Studios Thursday, December 13th 2018

When Charlie Hunter came through town last year I missed the show. I never thought it would sell out and guess what, it sold out. This year when it was announce he was playing Mississippi Studios in Portland I bought my ticket as soon as they went on sale. I saw that he was playing in Seattle and kept waiting for something to be announce here in Portland. I was seriously considering a day trip to Seattle but glad they decided to make a stop in Portland.

It was a long day at work so unfortunately no pre-game before the performance. I did manage to take in the fresh air for a while and get a walk in. I also managed to talk to a friend at length which was good. Always nice to catch up. This lowered my stress levels and put me in the right mindset to enjoy the show.

Mississippi Studios certainly fits the bill of a typical Charlie Hunter venue. A narrow venue that surprisingly has a second level balcony. Pretty big stage with tall ceiling and exposed beams all over the place. This certainly looks like they took an old building and remodeled it with a healthy budge for improvements.

Tonight’s show was going to be a seated performance but with no tables. A small intimate venue and one that was for the most part quite. In the back a few for some reason thought it was a good idea to talk which was annoying. The stage is only a few feet off the ground so the band really feels close to the audience. Just a great venue for this style show

This time around the trio was a little different with a member being female vocalist Lucy Woodward. It has always been three instruments in the past. Each tour in fact is a different trio which is awesome. The song selection was very well done. First set was about 50 minutes and more traditional blue and jazz songs. After a short set break they came back for another set that was an hour long with encore. The second feature a local trumpeter for most of it, including the encore. The second set also got a little more funky.

Charlie never disappoints with his Trio over the years. This year with the addition of Lucy it was a totally different show then I have seen in the past. Just a great night of music and a little banter with Charlie on a Thursday night. He tours regularly with his trio and it seems like Portland is a regular stop for him. I can’t wait to see him next year.

Charlie Hunter – 8 string guitar
Lucy Woodward – vocals
Derrek Phillips – drums

Set 1 start at 8:05pm
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Set over at 8:52pm
Set 2 starts at 9:16pm
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Set over at 10:03pm
Encore starts at 10:04pm
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House lights at 10:15pm

Charlie Hunter Trio Jammin’ Java November 14th 2010

Charlie Hunter Trio@Jammin' Java Vienna, VA
Charlie Hunter Trio@Jammin’ Java

All weekend I have been celebrating my birthday, starting on Friday, continuing to Saturday and wrapping things up on Sunday.  Charlie Hunter was playing at the Jammin’ Java in Vienna and Jeremy and I decided it was worth another night out on the town.  I of course wanted to see the show, but motivating my body to get off the couch after a long weekend and head to Vienna took a little doing.  But I kept telling myself, once I get to the venue and the show started I would be fine.  I was right and the show certainly did not disappoint.

We arrived around 7:30 to an empty parking lot and I started to wonder just how many people would actually be at the show. When we walked into the venue I got my answer, not many.  We discussed this fact after the show and figured maybe a 100 people went through the venue that night with at most 60 patrons at any one time.  I always feel bad for the artist when a show has a small turn out, but Charlie and the boys made the most of it.

We each got a coffee, it is a coffee house after all, and sat down to enjoy the show on some of the most uncomfortable seats known to man.  Just after 8pm the band walks on stage and you can see it on their faces they are not very thrilled with the attendance, Charlie even mentions he should have brought his audio recorder.  As soon as he said that I knew things would be ok, Charlie played his heart out and gave those that did attend a worthy performance.

I have no idea what the set list was that night but it certainly kicked ass.  They played songs from Charlie’s most recent solo album, Public Domain, and many from the latest trio album, Gentlemen I Neglect to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid (what a mouth full).  We got two sets that night, each lasting an hour and I could have been there for another set if they wanted to play.  The venue was intimate and with such a small crowd the show felt very personal, like Charlie was playing for me.  In fact during the set break I saw the band members milling about the venue talking with audience members and Charlie even signed a few cds.  You wouldn’t get that at the 9:30 Club or the State Theatre now would you.

Jammin' Java - Vienna, VA
Jammin’ Java – Vienna, VA

As soon as they started I was into the groove and couldn’t get enough.  As a classic three piece jazz band each member got their solos and would play off of each other like you would expect.  At the end of most songs you could hear them bantering back and fourth on what song to play and you could tell they picked songs they love to play and jammed the hell out of them.  In fact at one point when Curtis wailed away on his trombone the acoustics of the room allowed you to hear the mechanical sounds of his keys as he depressed them.  I was just blown away by that simple fact.  Same goes for Eric’s snare drum, it would rattle every time Charlie would play.  In a much larger venue or if it was packed to the gills with people these small nuances would have been missed.  For me they added to the show and made it that much more special.

I have seen the Charlie Hunter Trio 4 others times, the last time was five years ago in Alexandria, and they still got it.  In fact this show was much more of a traditional jazz performance then his past shows I have attended.  A job well done and I can’t wait to see him again in such a tiny venue.  As the saying goes: if you missed it, you missed it.