Jazz Plus Picks 016 | Anton Hunter | 22.01.18

We recently caught up with Manchester-based Anton Hunter, best known as the guitarist in the Beats & Pieces Big Band, to find out his recent musical picks.  Anton can be spotted in all sorts of settings, usually with a heavy dose of improvisation not too far away.  His next project is Article XI, the album with his 11-piece improvising ensemble. It features Danish alto saxophonist Mette Rasmussen, Cath Roberts on baritone saxophone, Sam Andreae and Simon Prince on tenor saxophone, Beats & Pieces bandmates Graham South and Nick Walters on trumpet, Richard Foote and Seth Bennett on trombone, intriguing Finnish bassist Eero Tikkanen, and his younger brother Johnny Hunter on drums.

Anton’s innovative compositional method incorporates the band members’ individual improvisational voices into the finished pieces, questioning the composer/performer hierarchy and offering an alternative collective approach to composition.  That’s cool.  Article XI moves swiftly from relaxed grooves to raucous improv and thunderous riffs, always resulting in a collective identity that is somehow greater than its highly impressive individual parts.  The album will be released on 9th February 2018 on the Efpi label.  You can pre-order it on Bandcamp here now!

Here are 5 tracks I’ve been listening to recently (and I’ve put my money where my ears are too, you can check for yourselves as my entire Bandcamp collection is over here). Fairly guitar heavy at the moment (unsurprisingly?) but I’ve also included a Ken Vandermark band that was a big inspiration behind my Article XI album, which is finally out on 9th Feb via Efpi Records.

Ken Vandermark – Open Window Theory (for Fred Anderson)

I’m a huge fan of Ken Vandermark’s writing for larger groups, and I could’ve picked any of The Resonance Ensemble tracks for their blend of grooves with some heavy improvising, but I often find myself humming some of the basslines from this one.


Ava Mendoza – i

My first introduction to guitarist Ava Mendoza was via this 4 track EP with a French rhythm section. Great pieces than never let up in intensity, huge sound as well.


Big Walnuts Yonder – I Got Marty Feldman Eyes

Nels Cline and Nick Reinhart meeting for the first time with buckets and buckets of effects pedals and Mike Watt and Greg Saunier making it all make sense.


Mums – Can of Worms
I saw these a few times back when Fat Out Till You Pass Out were running gigs at Islington Mill in Salford. The recording doesn’t do justice to the sheer weight of the sound they produce live.


Mary Halvorson – Fog Bank (no. 56)

I bought this on the strength of the Quietus review. Really lush writing, one of my favourite tenor players (Ingrid Laubrock) and Susan Alcorn is a revelation on pedal steel.

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