Let the Bells Ring On, the vigorous first album from seven-string guitarist Charlie Hunter’s trio with drummer Bobby Previte and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, is, on paper, a pretty transparent work. “Anthem USA” takes from rock music; “Hillbilly Heroine Chic” has a country influence. But this clarity extends to more than just song titles. The music itself is obvious; you never have to wonder about what’s happening. Previte lays down hard, minimal beats, as if making a statement about groove and discipline. Hunter, whose instrument allows him to play bass and guitar at the same time, gets funky in the middle. And Fowlkes is the soulful sugar on top. There is no mistaking the roles these musicians play or the energy they bring. Same goes for the music, which is simple, funky and lean. Let the Bells Ring On is wonderfully unambitious. These are tunes, not compositions.
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