|Sixteen tracks of solo bass, some of it multi-tracked but all of it sparse and atmospheric. Hunter gets points for his clean technique and good taste (no slap-n-tapathons here), and his interpretation of Dave Holland's "Conference of the Birds" is especially lyrical.|
Bassplayer. August 1995
Steve Hunter has compiled an impressive solo bass effort on Night People. Hunter creates an amazing texture with the combination of bass lines, chordal phrasings and rhythms, and superimposed melody lines. This combination of voicing and textures that he projects will leave listeners questioning whether he has actually used bass for all of the voices deployed. But, rest assured because despite the illusion that there are three different instruments playing simultaneously at times, Hunter has accomplished it all on the five string bass.
Besides the technical marvel of what Hunter has accomplished for solo bass guitar, he has also put together some tasty arrangements that demonstrate his skill in the craft of musical composition. The form is an interesting combination of classically-influenced, 20th century, and jazz styles. Hunter does not sit idle in stagnate modes, simple harmonization, or repetitive motives, but instead puts a great effort into the exploration of all of these facets of his music. And, this is how he manages to keep an entire album of solo bass interesting.
Fans of bass guitar and solo bass will want to check out this CD from Steve Hunter. But, don't go by my appraisal. This is the CD that Chick Corea called "...a wonderful album of solo bass - very artful and melodic."
Steve Hunter has produced a work of sometimes exquisite beauty that is a million miles away from a self indulgent exercise the concept might suggest. Night People is an exploration of melody as much as rhythm and contains a surprising range of colours and textures on material ranging from free improvisations to composed pieces using solo and multi-tracked five-string bass.
Rolling Stone, June 1995
… Just as peaceful. as beautiful and even as impressive is Steve Hunter's solo five-string electric bass guitar recital. What a tone! The phrasing is full of contained passion, and Hunter's compositions are quite outstanding. Furthermore, his performance of Dave Holland's "Conference of the Birds" prompted me to get out the deliriously beautiful ECM album of the same name. Many thanks for that.
Sydney Morning Herald.
This is supposedly a world first: an entire album of nothing but bass guitar. If that sounds excessively eclectic, think again. This is not any old bass guitarist: Steve Hunter is a magician whose mid-boggling technique allows him to do things lesser mortals could not conceive of on his 5-string instrument. Notice I did not say "solo" bass. Hunter creates considerable variation in style and texture by judicious use of multi-tracking on some pieces. His forays in the upper register are almost indistinguishable from a singing classical guitar. This must be heard to be believed. The compositions generally evoke stillness, loneliness, or crystalline beauty, as suggested but he inclusion of Chick Corea's timeless Crystal Silence. Another of my all-time favourite pieces is also covered: Dave Holland's magnificent "Conference of the Birds", which works brilliantly in this format.
Australian Jazz & Blues. Vol 1, No 6
This CD strikes me as being a little like a magic realist novel. It unfolds gently, without recourse to grand hyperbole, but creates atmospheres resonant with unseen images and whispered rumours of imminent incidents. The mist unusual, perhaps even amazing element of this is that Night People is a solo recording. The only instrument utilised is Hunter's five strong electric bass. Ostensibly a jazz record, the moods Hunter captures go along way beyond being purely jazz. There is a folk feel predominant throughout the recording, and for the most part fusion drudgery is thankfully kept at arm's length. Curiouser and curiouser, as someone famous said. The local music scene is indeed a many be-plectrum fingered beast.
The Drum Media February 1995
Whether hes playing solo bass or against a dubbed bass track, his touch and smoky tone are consistently evident. His use of dynamics is nothing short of expansive and he really knows how to exploit his instrument's voicings. This is obvious from his excellent chordal work.
On Night People, you hear comprehensively for the first time a remarkably lyrical Hunter, exploring the timbral possibilities of his instrument through subtle understatement and poignant romance. There are moments on Night People where, if you didn't know it was only bass guitar you were listening to, you could mistake it for a Spanish guitar exploring a tone poem, say, over a bass, the playing is so lyrical.
The Drum Media January 1995
An album strictly for true lovers of the bass guitar… The material is generally gentle but very imaginative and beautifully performed.… The majority of the material is original, delightful and inspiring to those who are playing basic bass and looking to push the instrument to new heights. This album represents the kind of recording we are often asked about in Bassist as such commercial bass performances are rare and often hard to come by.
Bassist, August 1996