Graham was born in Southampton on 8th December 1960 to dad Robert and mum Sheena who had already produced sisters Kay and Sheena (Jnr.).
In 1966 the family moved to Leigh-On-Sea, where, when Graham was about 10, he was presented with his first trumpet. Kay was already playing the violin, and Sheena (Jnr.) the piano. Violinist mum chose the trumpet for Graham as he had been rather a sickly child, with breathing difficulties and at one time a collapsed lung.
When Graham started senior school, there were no places for trumpets, so he moved on to Eb tuba, but later progressed to principle cornet in the Brass Band, French Horn in the orchestra, Tuba in the wind band and bass in the choir.
Outside school, at 13, Graham joined a children’s big band run by Norman Langford, where he met Drummer/Bandleader Graham Culham , Sax players Les Bridge (Junior Jump & The Bottom Line), and Graeme Turner (New Shoes).
Things really started kicking off at age 14 when Graham, now the trumpet section’s jazz soloist in the ‘Musician’s Union Big Band’, was asked to join funk band ‘Central Funk Systems’, who performed at some of South East Essex’s premier night clubs & music venues. C.F.S. went through various incarnations over the years and at one stage a novice sax player, Gary Plumley, joined the brass section which also included Mick Seymour, (Proprietor of Bill Lewington Music) on trombone.
Not content with being just a brass player, Graham felt the need to understand what the other musicians around him were doing, so he taught himself guitar, bass, piano, sax, blues harp, mandoline and anything else he could lay his hands on. Coupled with this, he started song-writing and composing for brass band, big band, small funk/rock outfits and the like.
At age 19 Graham Joined Function Band ‘The Alvin Jones Band’. This band has been through a few line-up changes over the years including plucking school-girl Claire Furley from obscurity to join the band.
Graham met top guitarist/composer Dave Mascall whilst playing in the ‘Graham Culham Big Band’, and joined local Jazz Funk outfit ‘Export’ at some point now lost in the sands of time. ‘Export’ became firm favourites on the local scene and enjoyed a three-year residency at The Top Alex, Southend on Sunday lunchtimes. In later years, the band were regulars at Churchills Sunday lunchtime jazz sessions, run by svengali, Kenny Baxter.
After the sad loss of trumpeter Vic Wood in 1999, Graham took over as Kenny Baxter’s side man in “Turntable” until the untimely death of master pianist Pete Jacobsen drew a close to this band. There’s good news though, Ken has dusted off those sheets of jazz/funk music, and ‘Turntable III’ is now gigging again with Tony Gooderham on Keyboards.
In 2002, Graham and Dave Mascall decided that it was time for a change, and formed a new five piece jazz/funk outfit to feature their own compositions. The first gig was booked prior to deciding on a name, so on the spur of the moment ‘The Funky Few’ was born. I’ve never really liked the name, and it seems to have morphed into ‘Graham Hunter’s Funk 5ive’.
Venues are under financial pressure these days, so Graham also runs a couple of Quartets. The “Cool Jazz” jazz quartet specialises in the uber-cool west coast sounds of Chet Baker, plus the American Song Book and there’s also ”Jazz-funk” Quartet.
Over the years, Graham has graced the brass sections of various soul bands, notably; ‘The All Crucial British Soul Band’., ‘Junior Jump and the Bottom Line’, and ‘Stud 100′. In addition, he was briefly a member of jump jive group, ‘Rent Party’ and occasional helps out with ‘The Zoltans’, and the ever popular ‘Basey Brothers’. There have been numerous other musical collaborations, but too many to mention (or remember!).