Two of the most inventive and extraordinary artists on the jazz circuit, Scott Amendola and Charlie Hunter, who perform on July 18 at Stanford’s Campbell Recital Hall, have made careers out of stretching stylistic boundaries, melding their virtuosic technique and their visionary compositional skills into something that springs from jazz traditions yet flows freely into unexplored territory.

A celebrated drummer with a penchant for the unexpected, Scott Amendola transcends genre confinement and moves comfortably in the realms of jazz, blues, rock and new music. Incorporating looping machines, electronics and pedals into his playing, Amendola bridges the traditional and the cutting edge, furthering the evolution of jazz and drawing in a new wave of jazz appreciators.

Charlie Hunter is a progressive guitarist of exceptional ability and insight. Playing custom-made 7 and 8 string guitars, Hunter manages to play rhythm guitar, lead guitar and bass at the same time. His understated style betrays the expertise necessary to pull off such a feat, and leaves audiences wondering how all those sounds could be coming from one person.

During the mid-1990s acid jazz craze, Amendola and Hunter joined forces (along with guitarists Will Bernard and John Schott) to create the GRAMMY-nominated outfit T J Kirk. The funky, avant garde, groove-based fusion band named after Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk (Star Trek execs frowned upon the original name of James T Kirk) was met with critical and public enthusiasm, and established Amendola and Hunter as top-notch creative partners.

Since then, the two have collaborated on a handful of projects and according to Amendola, their musical connection just keeps getting stronger. “It’s always been amazing whenever we play, but it keeps growing, getting more intuitive,” says Amendola. “It’s hard to understand what [Hunter] is doing, but when you close your eyes, it’s so beautiful and deep and compelling.”

Scott Amendola and Charlie Hunter perform on Monday, July 18 at Stanford’s Campbell Recital Hall as part of the Stanford Jazz Festival.

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