Bob Hunt - trombone, trumpet, arrangements

Bob and Chris first teamed up around 1989 when Chris asked Bob to write arrangements for the then Jazz and Blues Band.

In 1998 Chris decided to enlarge his band in order to play some Ellington material with a line-up more appropriate for the material. Bob was running his own band "The Ellingtonians" at the time and Bob, Mike Henry, and Nick Payton from that band were added to the Jazz and Blues Band. Bob became totally responsible for the arrangements. After some dates and a couple of years or so, it became obvious to Chris that the Chris Barber Band should expand on a permanent basis, and thus the band became The Big Chris Barber Band in Autumn 2001. Bob and Mike stayed, but due to other commitments Nick Payton had to decline the invitation and was replaced by Tony Carter.

Bob’s father was a drummer, and this meant that Bob was aware of music – big band music in particular – at an early age. His first paid work was when he was 10. He was originally a cornet player, adding trombone when he was 12.

Bob became interested in arranging aged about 14 and soon formed his first band.

At this time he was more interested in the big bands, especially Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey - and this was evident in his early arrangements.

Bob also played in Brass Bands (like Mike Henry; in fact they competed against each other in the mid 1970’s). Bob was then with the national champion band G.U.S. (Kettering).

On turning professional Bob has worked in various bands and styles. Some of his credits include the Duke Ellington Orchestra (directed by Mercer Ellington), The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, The Pasadena Roof Orchestra and Echoes of Ellington. He has also worked with more traditional jazz bands such as Keith Smith's Hefty Jazz, The Original Guinness Band (along with Mike Henry) and the Pizza Express Allstars.

Bob holds a PhD having written his doctorate thesis on the arranging techniques of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

Bob is responsible for all the arrangements you will hear, except of course for the 6-piece (trad) numbers which quite rightly remain Chris's domain!

Bob left the Big Chris Barber Band in January 2008, after which he spent some time in South Africa. He re-joined the band in December 2009.


Music: Excerpts from Devaluation Blues and Spell of the Blues.

(Transcribed from an interview with Bob by Julian Purser and Andreas Wandfluh. Copyright © 2004, Julian Purser, licensed to chrisbarber.net)  - amendment June 2018 by Bob Hunt

What A Life, by Bob Hunt's Duke Ellington Orchestra, is available from Lake Records (LACD 115).
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