Title - 'Tone Poems Live’ (Singular Recordings)
Artist - Steve Hunter
Blues rock guitarist, Steve Hunter, sometimes called "The Deacon" and renowned for his work with Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper, has taken time out to record what has to be one of the most incredible, stunning guitar sessions of the past 20 years.
In the 1970s, he appeared on five Alice Cooper albums, all of which were produced by Bob Ezrin. His first recording with Alice Cooper was in 1973 as a session musician on the second to last and most successful album recorded by the Alice Cooper group, Billion Dollar Babies. When Alice Cooper became a solo artist, Hunter followed and appeared on the 1975 groundbreaking album and live show Welcome to My Nightmare alongside guitarist Dick Wagner, with whom Hunter had already formed a formidable guitar team, as can be heard on the Lou Reed live album Rock 'n' Roll Animal and further demonstrated on the film Welcome To My Nightmare.
This was released on home video in 1976 and featured the celebrated guitar battle between Hunter and Wagner that formed part of the Alice Cooper 1975 live show. He played on Peter Gabriel's self-titled first solo album (1977) that included the classic single ‘Solsbury Hill’ which was likewise produced by Ezrin. His first solo album, 1977's critically acclaimed Swept Away, was also produced by Ezrin.
His first collaboration with Lou Reed was for the Berlin album. He also played in the band captured on Reed's live albums, the aforementioned Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live, including the "Intro" to 'Sweet Jane', which was composed by Hunter, who plays the solo up to Lou walking on stage. In 2006, Reed and Hunter presented a new live version of Berlin, released in 2008 as a DVD and CD Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse.
Here on Tone Poems Live, Hunter was filmed live on August 24th, 2013 at a recording studio in L.A. alongside Tony Levin (bass), Phil Aaberg (keyboards) and Alvino Bennett on drums. Word has it before the cameras rolled the band rehearsed for two days and filmed on the third day as though they were in front of a live audience. The end result is that the DVD features 14 live songs, whereas the CD just 11, so make sure you buy both of these wonderful releases to embrace everything that happened that day.
With Hunter and his band playing each song only twice, with no overdubs added later, Tone Poems Live contains material chosen from Hunter’s solo albums (including ‘The Idler,‘ ‘Deep Blue,’ ‘Flying Hippo,‘ ‘Rubber Man,‘ etc.) plus a few choice covers. Inclusive is the always-great-to-hear, ‘Solsbury Hill,’ Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ and even Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Riviera Paradise.’
A musician who speaks, and plays from the heart, this is the first time Hunter has ever been filmed doing his own material plus material of his own choice. And, if you were not aware, he is now also legally blind! Much in the same vein as the late, great blind guitarist Jeff Healey, his soul fairly bleeds out of his fingers for everyone to hear on this CD/DVD.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk