Tom Hunter is a singer/pianist from Minneapolis. While this is Hunter’s third album, it’s been our first chance to hear him. Here I Go Again
will see much wider distribution than his earlier discs and introduces a couple of his own songs.
From the first note, Hunter’s voice and manner reminded me of another singer-pianist who turned a lot of heads way back in the middle 1950s. That musician was Chuck Miller who dabbled in blues, boogie, ballads and rock. Like Chuck Miller, Tom Hunter sings like a horn player in the same way that Armstrong and Teagarden did decades ago. The press release for Hunter’s CD states "File Under Blues," but the disc really spans several genres. The self-taught piano-man seems quite comfortable whether in a mainstream jazz mood or shouting his own blues "Nothing’s For Free." The latter features the singer on Hammond organ and it’s an impressive bit of writing. Hunter takes a crack at items by Doc Pomus, Ray Charles, Doctor John and Billy Joel. His reading of Ray Charles’ "Drown In My Own Tears" is a winner. Jazz fans will like his piano interpretation of "Tenor Madness," a Sonny Rollins favorite.
We loved Tom Hunter’s take on "Layin’ In The Alley" and the Spencer Williams classic "Basin Street Blues." Both tracks offer a fine insight into the artist’s vocal and instrumental skills. He’s inventive without disregarding tradition. Here I Go Again
is a nice light-hearted album and deserves a close listen.