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Friday, March 3, 2006


Charlie Hunter, Chinna Smith, Ernest Ranglin "Earth Tones"

What happens when Charlie Hunter, one of jazz's hottest young guitarists, teams up with Ernest Ranglin, Jamaica's session man extraordinaire, and Chinna Smith, Bob Marley's rhythm guitarist? "Earth Tones" -- a unique and extraordinary blend of Hunter's special eight-string guitar with Smith's rhythm-ready acoustic and Ranglin's crisp lead lines.

The deep tones of Hunter's bass-heavy guitar harmonize perfectly with Smith's chording and Ranglin's lead, but more than just a study in contrasts, the CD is rich in feeling. Though the song list runs from Edie Brickell's "What I Am" to McCoy Tyner to Peter Tosh, the atmosphere is all Jamaica as hip Rasta grooves underpin flat-out jazz jamming.

Hunter dug into reggae on 1997's "Natty Dread" (a jazz take on Marley's classic album), but the added experience of Smith and Ranglin makes for intricate structures and laid-back cool on an especially wild and joyous outing.

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