Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 2:49 pm | Fair 77º


Paul Mann: James Hunter Six Plays Rocking Set of R&B, Soul at Lobero Theatre

The James Hunter Six, a band of veteran musicians led by English singer and guitarist James Hunter and including Damian Hand, center, on tenor saxophone and Lee Badau on baritone saxophone, performs May 25 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.
The James Hunter Six, a band of veteran musicians led by English singer and guitarist James Hunter and including Damian Hand, center, on tenor saxophone and Lee Badau on baritone saxophone, performs May 25 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. (Paul Mann / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The James Hunter Six rolled into Santa Barbara on a sleepy pre-Memorial Day Wednesday night, May 25, to play a rocking set of R&B-inspired music at the Lobero Theatre.

The band of veteran musicians, led by English singer and guitarist Hunter, drew much of their inspiration from classic American soul music.

The Grammy-nominated singer impressed iconic singer Van Morrison so much that Morrison volunteered to sing on Hunter's album Believe What I Say in 1996. Hunter went on to perform on Morrison’s albums as well throughout the 1990s. New Orleans music master Allen Toussaint was also a fan of Hunter, and the band played one of Toussaint’s tunes to honor the recently deceased singer.

But it wasn't until Hunter's first solo release in the United States, his 2006 breakthrough album People Gonna Talk, was nominated for a Grammy for “best traditional blues album” at the 49th Grammy ceremony that he became well known in this country. Since then, Hunter has been hard at work hitting the road almost continuously with his band, playing to a loyal following of devoted fans.

The band tore through riveting songs inspired by several classic American genres, including R&B, rock-and-roll and soul music. Hunter may be one of the most important links in the last 20 years to the early hey days of these classic genres. His band features dual sax players, Lee Badau on baritone saxophone and Damian Hand on tenor saxophone, bringing awesome jazz-tinged musical battles to the mix. The band also features Jonathan Lee on drums, Andrew Kingslow on keyboards and percussion, and Jason Wilson on bass.

The 90-minute show was punctuated with an impromptu gathering in the courtyard in front of the historic Lobero Theatre, featuring wine, beer and appetizers. Devoted fans were able to mingle with the band and have some of their treasured albums signed, while a few impromptu tunes broke out on a painted piano, on loan from the annual New Noise music festival.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >