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Interview:
Huntertones at Aretha's Jazz Cafe, 3 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Huntertones' three horn players -- Dan White, Jon Lampley and Chris Ott -- met each other at Ohio State University and quickly forged a musical partnership that took them to Brooklyn. And beyond.



Now a septet, Huntertones plays original music (as heard on its debut album, "Passport") but have also carved out a niche with covers, including viral videos of the group performing stylized covers of favorites such as Walt Disney's "Colors of the Wind" and a lively Michael Jackson medley by the three founders, with Ott beatboxing through some of the songs.



All of this has taken Huntertones around the world, which inspired the music on "Passport," and has led to collaborations with a global array of musicians. It's not even been 10 years, but Huntertones has covered more grounds than some groups do in an entire career...



Saxophonist White, 30, says by phone that he, Lampley and Ott met while taking classes together and wound up playing in a small ensemble together. "Then we started playing outside of school and stared having house shows, which is where the name came from -- we had an apartment on Hunter Avenue. There weren't really venues by campus, so we started doing it DIY, hosting our own shows for friends. That social atmosphere of how we were making our music definitely stepped into how we're making our music now and how we play. The audience is definitely a part of it, and that's been that way from the very beginning."



The various international flavors on the "Passport" album were inspired by Huntertones' travels, according to White. "We've had so many experiences in all these different places. There's some strength that comes from playing for people that you don't really know and who are strangers and come from different cultures. It's a different kind of challenge, but it's an exciting thing. We come to love where, if there's a language barrier or some sort of difference between us, the audience still loves to see us and hear the music. WE get to break that barrier so it's something that is human and something people all over the world can celebrate. That's when the real exchange gets to happen, once we see each other as equals."



White predicts it won't be long before we hear new original material from Huntertones. "We're always working on material -- that's part of our M.O. We've got a new (recording) deal we're working on since ('Passport'), so people will definitely be hearing new stuff. And the existing songs evolve and change in the set as we've been playing them, 'cause you get different ideas and get tired, maybe, of playing them the same way. So there's material that's from the record but it sounds new because of the way we play it on a given night."



Huntertones perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Aretha's Jazz Cafe in the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave, Detroit. $30. 313-887-8500 or musichall.org.

Web Site: www.musichall.org

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