Saxophonist and composer Hunter Diamond
has been performing since the age of 13. Growing up in the diverse music scene of Gainesville, FL., Hunter began playing active roles in groups of all Genres. Throughout his time spent in Gainesville, Hunter flourished in the Ska, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Folk, Rock, Jazz, and Afro-Beat sectors of the local music landscape.
Attending the illustrious Indiana University on scholarship in 2008, Hunter was exposed to and involved in many different musical projects and endeavors. While studying with the legendary Dr. David Baker, Tom Walsh, and the entire highly-esteemed Jazz faculty at IU, Hunter performed, toured, and recorded with The Latin Jazz Collective under the direction of seven-time Grammy Nominee Michael Spiro. Hunter also performed and toured with the IU Soul Revue under the direction of saxophonist Fareed Mahluli. Hunter became a regularly working saxophonist and performer with many university grown groups including: The Main Squeeze, El Fuego Lento, The Media Noche Trio, The Hunter Diamond/Ryan Knudsen Sextet, Mixtedo Sonido, The Black-Diamond Quartet, and The Hunter Diamond Quintet.
The Hunter Diamond/Ryan Knudsen sextet was awarded first runner-up in the 2011 Indiana University Latin American Music Recording Competition. In April 2012, Hunter was selected to perform in the Indiana University Presidential Concert with seven-time Grammy winner Bob Hurst, two-time Grammy winner Peter Erskine, five-time Grammy winner Randy Brecker, and Grammy nominee Alan Pasqua. Upon graduation, Hunter was nominated by the Jazz Faculty for a Performer’s Certificate which he received after a third round performance in front of a host of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Faculty members.
After graduating Indiana University, Hunter toured North America as a featured performer with the Media Noche Trio, culminating with a performance at the famed Catalina Club in Los Angeles as part of their on-going Young Artists Jazz Series.
Hunter was then hired by Celebrity Cruise Lines as a saxophonist, flautist, and clarinetist in the Celebrity Orchestra. During his contract on the Celebrity Equinox, Hunter established a strong working relationship with Origin Recording Artist Les Demerle, regularly playing with Les’ Quartet and arranging a Cannonball Adderly/Nancy Wilson tribute concert which was performed in August of 2013. After becoming Musical Director on the Celebrity Century, he helped to develop and produce an Eagles Tribute Show with the band Twist of 8, during which he was also a featured performer.
During 2014, Hunter spent the spring touring with The Sammy Figueroa Grammy Experience Band aboard the Norwegian Getaway. After attending the prestigious Ravinia Stean’s Music Institute at the invitation of distinguished professor and NEA Jazz Master David Baker, Hunter moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University’s Jazz Studies Program as a master’s student under the direction of department head Dana Hall and saxophonist Scott Burns. In October 2014, Hunter returned to Florida at the invitation of Les Demerle to be a featured artist at the 2014 Amelia Island Jazz Festival alongside Les, Randy Brecker, and Tony Monaco.
After only a few months in Chicago, Hunter strongly established himself alongside many of the great working musicians in the city. As a multiple woodwinds player, he has performed in The Mercury Theater’s productions of Avenue Q(2014), The Christmas Schooner(2014), The Addams Family(2015), Awkward Pause Theater’s production of Urinetown: The Musical(2014), St. Viator High School's Bye Bye Birdie(2017), and North Shore Country Day School's Seussical(2017).
In 2017, Hunter was selected from a city-wide pool of applicants as a finalist for the Luminarts Foundation's jazz improvisation competition. After performing for a panel of judges (including the late Willie Pickens, legendary and revered Chicago pianist), Hunter was chosen as one of five recipients of the Luminarts Jazz Fellowship. With this initial award and continued grant support, the Luminarts Foundation made possible many of Hunters artistic goals, including a west coast tour with Black Diamond in March 2017.
Hunter performs with four groups of his own around the city: The Hunter Diamond Quintet, Black Diamond (co-led with saxophonist Artie Black), the Diamond/Gillan Duo (with drummer Lucas Gillan), and Strange Frontiers, a project that sets the poetry of father Eric Diamond.
In addition to his own groups, Hunter can be seen performing with Matt Ulery's Pollinator, Justin Boyd's Stereo Genius, The Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra, and The Union.
Now having lived in Chicago for four years, Hunter has become an active educator around the city. He is available for lessons in saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano, composition, and arranging. Prospective students may reach out through the contact page here, or through the Rock Start lessons company and/or Flatts and Sharpe music store.