Stu Hunter is an exciting and masterful pianist and composer. The last fifteen years of performing and touring with some of the biggest names in the business has culminated in 'the muse' - a beautiful composition that traverses a dynamic and powerful range of emotional states and musical landscapes.
While this is his debut solo release, he is certainly no stranger to the music scene. Hunter has appeared on over 60 releases worldwide and toured and recorded both nationally and internationally with a range of bands, including The John Butler Trio, Silverchair and Portishead to name a few.
Stu is joined on this cd by an incredible trio of musicians. Cameron Undy - bass, Matt Keegan - Tenor Sax and Simon Barker - Drums.
This album is simultaneously graceful and dangerous and one of the most exciting new jazz records to be hitting the music scene.
The artwork featured on the cover of the muse, Brett Whiteley’s 1973 drawing Sunday, honours the struggle of the creative mind where beauty and conflict often meet – a central theme to this 50 minute suite.
“I spent the period of the composition surrounded by incredible art,” Hunter says. “…at the Brett Whiteley studio and the Art Gallery of NSW and visits to countless masterworks in New York City.”
Stu’s incredible diversity of styles coupled with an instinct for the musical moment has made him a musician favoured by the best in the industry. This album is a testament to his renowned talent.
For further information check out
Stu Hunter Media
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• John Shand, reviewer
May 25, 2007
Pianist Stu Hunter has never made a CD under his own name before, but chances are you've heard him.
Label - Independent
Some music transcends style. This is different from merely combining disparate styles, and results from extraordinary purity and focus in the process of creation. It is almost as though the ideas have come from a vacuum, rather than being a distillation.
Pianist Stu Hunter has never made a CD under his own name before, but chances are you've heard him. He has appeared on more than 60 CDs, and with his piano-for-hire hat on has performed with such big-name artists as Portishead, silverchair, the John Butler Trio, Jackie Orszaczky and Russell Crowe.
The music on this CD is some of the most strikingly original, in conception and execution, that I have encountered, and not just within Australian jazz circles. It is also numbingly beautiful - often gracefully so and sometimes majestically, as when Matt Keegan's tenor saxophone floods part three of this six-part, 50-minute suite (augmented by a haunting prelude and dramatic little interlude).
Like any rose worth the name, it also has thorns: both sonic surprises to re-boot a mind in danger of being lulled into reverie, and also moments of sharp anguish that almost hurt physically as well as emotionally.
Beside Keegan, Hunter's colleagues are bassist Cameron Undy and drummer Simon Barker, and all are capable of sidestepping idiom in realising the composer's vision for the rhythmically varied but brilliantly cohesive suite.
Barker is given free rein to gatecrash even some of the most delicate moments with unsettling punctuations, on occasion in tandem with the singularly arresting sound Keegan makes on his tenor.
In setting up this conflict between edginess and beauty, Hunter creates a dynamic that both sustains the elongated compositional form and infuses the improvising with very broad options. He employs a gradually mounting trajectory so that, by the time we arrive at part five, the music reaches a conflagration of surging rhythm, hair-raising piano and teeming saxophone. But from the very first notes only one resolution was ever possible for a work that is so tightly and intricately structured and that was a return to Hunter's elegant piano, joined in peaceful meditation by his exceptional colleagues.
The recording quality crackles with vitality. With its combination of wistfulness and agitation as rain falls outside a window, Brett Whiteley's 1973 drawing Sunday makes for perfect cover art.
Published in SPECTRUM (P12) - Sydney Morning Herald 27 May 2007