Karl Hunter “Organ’ic” Quartet
3/22/14 – Squashed Grapes
Karl’s thoughts on the gig:
Last night’s KH quartet gig was awesome!!! Jimmy Calire, Mario Calire, and Hans Ottsen killed it. Jimmy brought his B3 and from the moment we saw it in the back of Jimmy’s van there was a hushed reverence. I’ve never seen a B3 with so much character. Both aesthetically and aurally. The power and sound of the organ was so fun to play off of. Especially when played by Jimmy. Mario’s drumming was so groovy and tasty. His technique and style are a joy to watch. I had the best vantage in the place, right next to him. He reminds me of all the reasons I love drums and drumming. Hans played one amazing solo after another and accompanied Jimmy’s playing perfectly. Jimmy even sang a couple of tunes and sounded amazing. I had no idea he had such a great voice. Plus Jimmy brought a bunch of his original tunes to the plate that seemed custom fit to this band. The guys all played their collective arse off. On top of that the show sold out! I can’t wait to do this again and I want thank the guys and everyone who came out. What a blast! My new friend Pam did a blog post with pictures from the gig on her site VenturaRocks. Thanks Pam! Much love to all who shared this awesome night. Thank you so much!
Karl Hunter – Jimmy Calire – Mario Calire – Hans Ottsen
Written by Karl Hunter and originally posted on Facebook 3/20/14
So, the first KH quartet,back in November, was in the fusion vane. We played a bunch of Herbie Hancock tunes and went ballistic. It was a wild ride and a whole lot of fun! Rufus Philpot, Aaron McLendon, and Andy Langham killed it. It was amazing! I’m still listening to the recordings!
The second installment of the Karl Hunter Quartet is going to explore another one of my favorite sub-genres of jazz, the organ trio/quartet. One of my favorite musicians is Jimmy Smith. His playing is firmly rooted in the blues. But there is something about his phrasing on the B3 organ that is so unique. I’ve been listening to Jimmy a lot over the years and he did a lot if great records with amazing tenor players.
We had a rehearsal last night for Saturdays “organ”ic quartet gig and it went great. Jimmy Calire brought a bunch of his tunes and they are really great. Plus, I brought in some of my favorite Jimmy Smith classics. I brought all my horns with me, soprano, alto, tenor, Bari and I couldn’t put my tenor down. It just sounds so good in that organ setting. I’m really excited about Saturday’s gig. It’s going to be great!
Speaking of great, Mario Calire, Jimmy’s son, and an amazingly tasty drummer, sounds great, and always instinctively gets what each tune requires. He always keeps musicality at the forefront. His grooves always feel so good and make it so easy to play over. It’s no wonder that Mario was picked up to play with the Wallflowers at such a young age. His knowledge of the proper styles and grooves in jazz and Latin music is amazing and I look forward to learning a lot from him.
Hans Ottsen is also amazing and such a intuitive musician. Guitar has so many functions in Jazz and Hans knows precisely where and how to play each functionality. It’s a delicate balance between showcasing your own personal voice and serving the music and I’m learning a lot from Hans’ playing as he balances both beautifully. I love how his playing is both cerebral and inventive, and at the same time he’ll throw in that perfect phrase that fits the groove and genre to a tee. A perfect balance of paying respect and moving jazz forward.
When I moved back into the “805” about 5 years ago, I settled in Ojai. And without fail, when I met someone, and mentioned that I was a musician, the response was always, “Oh, you must know Jimmy Calire.” Well, I didn’t at first, but I’m so glad I do now. Jimmy has been in the Ojai area for many years, he originally hails from Buffalo NY and came out to our sunny shores when he played with the band America. I always liked when I heard an America song. I knew they had a few hits etc. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy shared a bill with America several years ago, and while sitting on the side of the stage I was blown away by how many hits they had. One amazing hit after another. There wasn’t one song in their entire set that I didn’t know well. So I finally met Jimmy and got to hear his B3 organ playing and was blown away. A lot of piano players dabble in organ, but Jimmy is the real deal and makes it sing. He has tons of experience and it shows when he plays. He has the knowledge of harmony and passing chords that you don’t just learn playing real-book tunes in the practice room. You can tell Jimmy learned his craft the right way, on the bandstand.
I’m feeling so much gratitude to be able to play jazz with so many great players lately. Jazz is a language, and there is no better way to become more articulate then to immerse yourself in the conversation.
If you are free this Saturday and would like to hear a few things we have to say musically, come down to Squashed Grapes in Ventura. It’s on Main Street, a half block east of Seaward. The experience there is amazing and the folks that work there seriously could not be any nicer or supportive. It really is a Ventura treasure. We start at 7:00. I hope you can join us.
(Editor: Call Squashed Grapes for ticket availability: 805-643-7300. Also, while you’re at it, see our review & photo gallery for Karl’s last performance at Squashed Grapes).