Over the past 15 years, keyboard man Tom Hunter has played with or appeared on recordings by Bill Perry, George Davis, Murali Coryell, Little Sammy Davis, Big John Dickerson, and Bernard Allison. Hunter’s third solo release, Here I Go Again (FS Music), is a lively disc that mixes blues, pop, jazz, and soul standards with a couple of Hunter originals. Hunter is a talented musician, playing piano, Fender Rhodes, and Hammond Organ, and is a robust singer, able to tackle any of the genres he chooses.
Any song list that includes three covers of Doc Pomus tunes has to be a strong one. Hunter selected wisely from that catalog and shows a real gift for interpreting these songs (“I Underestimated You,” “Imitation of Love,” and “The Night Is A Hunter”). Hopefully, he will cover more Pomus tunes in future releases. Other solid selections include Tom Waits’ “New Coat of Paint,” Ray Charles’ “Drown In My Own Tears,” Spencer Williams’ classic “Basin Street Blues,” and Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” Hunter also takes an interesting stab at Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor Madness.”
Two original compositions by Hunter, the title cut and “Nothing’s For Free,” stand up well with the standards. The band provides exemplary backing, particularly Jon “Gunnar” Gunvaldson’s jazzy guitar work.
There just aren’t enough blues albums out there these days featuring the piano as the lead instrument, but Here I Go Again is ready and able to buck the trend, with some great music covering a broad range of styles.