Guitarist Charlie Hunter may be something of a jazz popularizer, but his creative restlessness makes his music interesting as well as accessible, as is clear from a pair of recent recordings. By far the most straightforward is Mistico, a Fantasy Records release credited to the Charlie Hunter Trio that manages to rock and swing at the same time. Considerably weirder (and arguably worthier) is Groundtruther: Altitude, a two-CD collaboration between Hunter and electronics manipulator Bobby Previte that's part of Thirsty Ear's long-running "Blue Series." In conjunction with guest keyboardist John Medeski, Hunter and Previte forge alternately driving and atmospheric soundscapes with no regard to genre boundaries. They go where the music takes them, and the destinations they reach are consistently rewarding. So, too, is Hunter's music in general, in large part for his ability to simultaneously push the edge of the envelope and stay comfortably within it.
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