Charles Unger first arrived in San Francisco in 1968, at the impressionable age of eighteen, and during the famed "Summer of Love." Unger stayed a week during that visit, and in 1969, he came back again, this time for a two week stay. According to "In Search of the City" writer Louis Martin, Unger "was hooked". "A year later he moved to San Francisco. He played mostly rock and R & B back then. He can't pinpoint exactly when he started playing jazz but says, "It's always been in the background. It's one of those things you grow up playing in school. In school bands they try to throw in a couple of jazz tunes."
Unger's work with the lovely singer Valencia Hawkins at Les Joulin's, his shows and recordings with bassist Atila Medvedski, (reminded me of Weather Report's Mirolsav Vitous), pianist Eugene Pilner, and drummer of Andy Marquetti, are just a sampling of his ample talents. Two of Unger's CDs, the "Unger Pangs" Live at Les Joulin's, and "Aural Persuasion", showcase some of his compositional prowess as well. The moody textures of "Astral Aura" with it's lilting bass lines and percussion provide a lovely backdrop for Unger's melodies, the Turrentine-like flavor and strings of "Riverside" open to a latin passage of a Cuban night, and the take no prisoners vamp of "Night Sounds" blends into the promise of nocturnal adventures, only to be interrupted by a deft string arrangement, and a Sonny Rollins-like/Brooklyn Bridge solo by Unger, conjuring his own solitary walk, perhaps across the Golden Gate.
- Eric Smith, Beyond Chron