Charlie Hunter was born in Rhode Island, May 23, 1967. When he was four his mom packed him and his younger sister in an old yellow school bus and headed west.
After several years living on a commune in Mendocino County they settled in Berkeley, California. Hunter graduated from Berkeley High School and took lessons from guitar teacher Joe Satriani.
At eighteen he moved to Paris. Hunter has stated that it was his experience busking on the streets of Paris that provided him with "on the job training" because he busked for 8 to 12 hours a day to make ends meet. Returning to the Bay area, Hunter played a seven-string guitar and organ in Michael Franti's political rap group, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. In 1992, they were one of the opening acts for U2's Zoo TV Tour.
Since the debut of his self-titled Charlie Hunter Trio (which included John Ellis on sax and Jay Lane on drums) in 1993, Charlie Hunter has recorded seventeen albums. He co-founded Garage A Trois, a jazz fusion band with Stanton Moore and Skerik. He has collaborated with Bobby Previte for an ongoing project entitled "Groundtruther." He also recorded and toured for Bobby Previte's The Coalition of the Willing in 2006.
He appears on jazz bassist Christian McBride's Live At Tonic. On both The Coalition of the Willing and Live at Tonic he plays 6-string guitars. His earliest known released recording without unusual guitars is as a guest bassist for the band Sweet Potato from the San Francisco East Bay.
"Crankshaft" can be found on the Ubiquity Records compilation Mo Cookin from 1994 and the song "Monkey Wrench" is on the Ubiquity Records compilation Still Cookin from 1995. He also played guitar on the track "Me and Chuck" from the Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel album, Highball with the Devil, released in 1996.
Hunter played in the band T.J. Kirk, active in the 1990s, that merged the music of Thelonious Monk, James Brown, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. T.J Kirk is Will Bernard - guitar, John Schott - guitar, Charlie Hunter - 8-string guitar and Scott Amendola - drums. Three recordings of the time are called: T.J. Kirk August 8, 1995, If Four Was One September 24, 1996 and Talking Only Makes it Worse released in 2005. Hunter contributed to three songs for D'Angelo's Voodoo (2000), including "The Root". Hunter has stated that the session for the song was the most challenging session he has worked on.
Hunter was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' judging panel to support independent artists.
In the summer of 2007, Hunter toured with a trio that included New York keyboardist Erik Deutsch and New York/New Orleans drummer Simon Lott. This trio recorded the July, 2007 Fantasy release Mistico. In 2008, Hunter recorded his first self-release, Baboon Strength. Featured on the record are Erik Deutch on keys and Tony Mason on drums. Hunter returned to the studio in Fall of 2009 to record with drummer Eric Kalb.
In 2008, clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg put together a project titled "Go Home" with Hunter on guitar(s), Ron Miles (trumpet) and Scott Amendola (drums). The compositions showcase all the musicians. The group performed at the Jazz Standard in New York from October 29 to November 1, 2009 with Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, replacing Miles on trumpet.
1993 - Charlie Hunter Trio - Prawn Song
1995 - Bing, Bing, Bing! - Blue Note
1996 - Ready...Set...Shango! - Blue Note
1997 - Natty Dread - Blue Note
1998 - Return of the Candyman - Blue Note
1999 - Duo - Blue Note
2000 - Charlie Hunter - Blue Note
2000 - Solo Eight-String Guitar - Contra Punto
2001 - Songs from the Analog Playground - Blue Note
2003 - Right Now Move - Ropeadope
2004 - Friends Seen and Unseen - Ropeadope
2005 - Steady Groovin' - Blue Note; best-of compilation
2006 - Copperopolis - Ropeadope
2007 - Mistico - Fantasy
2008 - Baboon Strength - reapandsow
2009 - Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid - Spire Artist Media / reapandsow
2010 - Public Domain