Ken Hunter

b. Kenneth Benjamin Hunter, 4 May 1922, Port Antonio, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 20 September 2004, Port Antonio, Jamaica, West Indies. Although Hunter started out in life in non-musical work, after World…
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Artist Biography

b. Kenneth Benjamin Hunter, 4 May 1922, Port Antonio, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 20 September 2004, Port Antonio, Jamaica, West Indies. Although Hunter started out in life in non-musical work, after World War II he began playing alto saxophone with local bands. Late in 1947, he was one of the early emigrants who relocated to the UK. Once there, he found some work playing in clubs but soon became a stand-in member of a vocal group, the Plantation Four. Deciding that this was the way in which he wanted his career to move, he formed a group with brothers Alan and Harry Wilmot, working in London and Paris. Later, the Wilmots went on to form the Southlanders while Hunter stayed in Paris as a solo act. In Paris and London, Hunter worked often with jazz musicians, among them Buck Clayton, Joe Harriott, Ronnie Scott and Phil Seamen, before joining Eric Delaney’s showband.

Work became scarce in the UK and by the late 50s Hunter, now a singing drummer, was working extensively in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. Although Hunter’s performances catered for the commercial needs of the times, incorporating R&B, calypso and waltzes, he still continued to work with jazz musicians, including Harry Beckett and Albert Ayler, although never himself singing in the genre. Taking up residence in Stockholm, he began teaching at a music school and also, now playing organ, performing occasionally at clubs as well as working outside music. In the mid-90s, he returned to his home-town in Jamaica, spending his last years in retirement.