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story.lead_photo.caption Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in May while performing with Ohio rock/jam band O.A.R. - Photo by Jocelyn Murphy

The New York-based, (mostly) Ohio natives that make up Huntertones may be part of the Starrlight Jazz Series at Fayetteville's Walton Arts Center, but to call the group simply a jazz ensemble doesn't really do anyone justice.

Photo by Courtesy Photo
Huntertones bring their highenergy, grooving sound to Starr Theatre inside the Walton Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Photo by Jocelyn Murphy
Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in May while performing with Ohio rock/jam band O.A.R.
Photo by Jocelyn Murphy
Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in May while performing with Ohio rock/jam band O.A.R.

"I just think of us as a band that's putting out high-energy music into the world," says trumpet/sousaphone​ player Jon Lampley. "I've been hearing a lot, 'I don't really listen to jazz, but you guys are awesome.' I want to tell those people, you don't have to think of it as listening [to jazz]; you can call whatever you want! But just let yourself enjoy something that feels good, even if it's different than what you're typically used to."

FAQ

Huntertones

WHEN — 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — $30-$50

INFO — 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org, huntertones.com

Rock/jam band lovers may recognize Lampley as the hype trumpet/sousaphone player and backing vocalist for O.A.R., the band that opened for Train at the Walmart AMP in May during the latter's "Play That Song Tour." Lampley has toured with the fellow Ohio musicians for seven years -- in addition to performing with "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" house band, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the past two years -- and maintains his impressive dynamism whether at the back of the stage or out front for an improvised solo.

"People really respond to that, you know?" he says of O.A.R.'s proficiency in allowing each musician to shine with solo or duo features -- an effort Huntertones practices as well. "Historically, jazz, if you want to specifically say that type of music, it's a social music. It's supposed to invoke elements of being a social thing -- improvisation and interaction. With our music, we've been trying to get [closer] to that, where it's not just you're at a concert seeing these guys play on stage: it's this social event where you're interacting with what's happening on stage, we're interacting with you, you're interacting with the people around you to make this experience a joint thing."

That original spirit of the genre seems to have been forgotten, Lampley says, turning jazz -- as well as instrumental music on the whole -- into something more highbrow, even pretentious. That is exactly the opposite of Huntertones' goal of inclusivity, thanks to which the group's varied influences are felt in their performances -- fusing funk, R&B, rock and beatboxing.

"I guess you could say we're trying to defeat these stereotypes that music without words [can't] be relatable," Lampley offers. "The energy, and the way it's put out, can be just as engaging as your favorite singer-songwriter. It's just a matter of capturing those nuances from all the different genres and finding a way to express them through our vehicles, our instruments. It's still gripping that part of your emotions."

For Huntertones, part of that engagement emerges through grounding their original songs in real life. Just as a songwriter arranges words to tell a story, when Lampley, Dan White (saxophone) and Chris Ott (trombone/beatbox) sit down to write, much of the material tells stories of the group's travels, sounds they heard or feelings they've experienced.

"We were in Zimbabwe, and there were all these crazy bird sounds. There was this one bird call that was really rhythmic and the same melody every time," Lampley recalls of one song's inception as he pulled his phone out to record the unusual melody. "I basically took that bird call and wrote it out, making it into a musical statement, shaping a song around it. So when we play that song, it's like you're hearing something that was inspired by the spirit and music of Zimbabwe.

"I'm lucky to be surrounded by a group of guys who are incredible musicians, so we want to be able to highlight that," he goes on, "but the basis of all the compositions, [we] always want to be something that is an emotional, real experience. Because that's something that, not only musicians or people who are into a certain kind of music can relate to, but everybody can relate to that."

NAN What's Up on 10/13/2017

Print Headline: Feeling The Music

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