Like many before, Tom Hunter’s passion for music was born out of the church. Singing in the choir and watching his sisters at the piano, he developed an ardor for these musical instruments. Not one to be instructed, Hunter taught himself to play the piano and discovered blues from the preacher’s son who showed him a blues progression. Hunter’s path took him in and out of blues & jazz music for many years until he realized it was his life.
After a semester at music school for voice in 1982, Hunter joined the navy where he started playing piano seriously. He didn’t realize his talent until after the navy when he relocated to the Hudson valley. Hanging out at some local jams, fellow musicians hired him to play in their bands. Among those was Bill Perry, who Hunter played with full-time in the early 90’s.
From New York, Hunter moved to South Carolina in 1994 to play with George Davis and went into a house gig in Myrtle Beach where he performed on piano and bass for nearly three years. He then went back on the road with Bill Perry and played piano on Perry’s CD, “Greycourt Lightning” (PointBlank Records 1998). Around the same time Hunter also played and recorded with such contemporaries as Pete Kanaras (Nighthawks), Murali Coryell (Chess Records), and Little Sammy Davis (Delmark Records).
Upon moving to Minneapolis in 1997, Tom found gigs with Big John Dickerson and Blue Chamber (Cannonball Records), and by the end of the year he was lending his vocal and keyboard talents to the Big Bang. His performances with that band got the attention of Bernard Allison (Ruff Records / Tone-Cool Records), who hired Tom on the spot to not only record on “Times are Changing,” but also to tour extensively with the band.
In 1999 Hunter achieved another step up the music ladder when he joined Mary Cutrufello in support of The Allman Brothers Band 30th Anniversary Tour. The same year Hunter released his debut self-produced album, “Big Thunder” and formed his own band playing in the Minneapolis area. Now in its fifth pressing, “Big Thunder” stands as a testament to Hunter’s understanding and mastery of the roots of blues and jazz.
His second self-produced album “Tom Hunter and the Blue Frenzy, Live at the Narrows,” recorded in 2004 captured the matchless energy of a live concert without sacrificing the integrity of studio-quality sound.
His third album, “Here I Go Again” (FS Music 2006) contains two original pieces of work, the title track and “Nothing’s for Free.” The other ten tracks have all been arranged by Hunter and include “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel) with stellar saxophone courtesy of Peter Vircks, “Drown in My Own Tears” (Ray Charles) and “New Coat of Paint” (Tom Waits).
Tom Hunter brings not only years of experience, but also a live show honed by performance after performance (over 300 dates a year) that unleashes no-holds-barred music and brings the crowd along for the crazy ride. From solo to full band, Tom Hunter covers the musical spectrum from smoky jazz to gut-bucket Chicago blues.
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