Charlie Hunter is a man of simple aspirations. Given his druthers, his life would include little more than "getting up in the morning, following the ox around the field, and making music."

Charlie Hunter is a man of simple aspirations. Given his druthers, his life would include little more than "getting up in the morning, following the ox around the field, and making music."

That, and to "keep on doing this" -- "this" being to craft some of the most colorful, unorthodox, and rhythmically charged jazz in contemporary music.

The artist is currently on tour -- a state he perpetually finds himself in -- playing cuts from his recent release, "Songs From the Analog Playground" (originally released on Blue Note, Sept. 25), a set of genre-straddling, jazz-oriented tracks. He has dates scheduled through a late December six-night stand at Yoshi's in Oakland, Calif.

Whether his music is commercially successful is secondary to Hunter. "I never do anything to strictly satisfy a fickle, ever-changing commercial world. I do the music I like to play. It's the only way I feel comfortable existing in the industry."

The set features four vocalists -- rapper Mos Def, Theryl De Clouet from New Orleans funk band Galactic, Norah Jones, and Kurt Elling -- a first for the generally instrumental musician.

Zach Hochkeppel, director of marketing for Blue Note Records, thinks the addition of vocals "makes the album more accessible. He's bringing the music to a more mainstream and younger audience, who are much more open. College-age kids don't think in genre-specific ways that labels and stations do."

Here are Charlie Hunter's upcoming tour dates:

Nov. 13: Asheville, N.C. (Asheville Music Zone)
Nov. 14: Nashville (Exit / In)
Nov. 16: Cleveland (Beachland Ballroom & Tavern)
Nov. 17: Buffalo, N.Y. (Center for the Arts)
Nov. 30-Dec. 1: Austin, Texas (Mercury Lounge)
Dec. 2: Dallas (Gypsy Tea Room)
Dec. 3: Englewood, Colo. (Gothic Theatre)
Dec. 4: Boulder, Colo. (Fox Theatre)
Dec. 6: Phoenix (Rhythm Room)
Dec. 7: San Diego (the Casbah)
Dec. 8: Santa Monica, Calif. (McCabe's)
Dec. 9: Santa Ana, Calif. (Galaxy Theatre)
Dec. 11: Tahoe City, Calif. (Sierra Vista Restaurant)
Dec. 12: Sacramento, Calif. (Harlow's)
Dec. 13: Petaluma, Calif. (Mystic Theatre)
Dec. 14: Seattle (Century Ballroom)
Dec. 15: Portland, Ore. (Aladdin Theater)
Dec. 17: Santa Cruz, Calif. (Kuumbwa Jazz Center)
Dec. 18-23: Oakland, Calif. (Yoshi's)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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