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Jazz on 3 this week…

There’s no two ways about it: this week’s programme is a real guitar-fest. We’ve got a gig based on a chance encounter between long-lost friends, seven-string wizardry, and even a bona fide Joe Satriani connection. But if you’re not a guitar hero, don’t worry – our two live sets are, above all, great jazz from two duos with very different musical approaches.

It’s Charlie Hunter’s ability to juggle bass and melody, on custom-made 7- and 8-string instruments, that’s been dazzling audiences over the years, with tonight’s drummer Scott Amendola often in tow. But Hunter is a musician first, technician second, and as he explains beforehand, it’s the soul and simplicity of old blues tunes that really gets him going – something that definitely comes across in performance. Before meeting Hunter, Jez dug out a live recording from 1992 that I remembered he was on, with The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – a totally different kettle of fish. It’s interesting to think that he was yet to emerge as the prolific jazz recording artist he is

Charlie Hunter at the Vortex, London on 5 April 2011

these days.

You have to delve even further back into jazz history for the last time John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham played together, in one of the 1980s editions of jazz-fusion pioneers the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The last time, that is, until July 2010 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. You can hear the unlikely story of their reunion on the programme, along with the highlights from this heaviest of jam sessions.

Also on the show, we preview the second of our four BBC Introducing bands, who we’ll be recording at the Cheltenham Festival at the start of May. This week, you’ll get a taste of the Edinburgh-based Discordian Trio, appropriately influenced by the Mahavishnu Orchestra in their fusion-meets-free-jazz sound. And, of course, led by a guitarist.

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