Johnny Hunter


Photo by Palma Fiacco



Johnny Hunter is a northern UK-based drummer and composer who comes from a background of both the Avant-Garde and the more mainstream Jazz. He leads several of his own groups, each concerned with new methods of integrating improvisation and composition in his music. He tours regularly with his own quartet along with several other bands, including Sloth Racket, Blind Monk Trio, Nat Birchall, The Spirit Farm, Beck Hunters, and was also active on the Reggae scene for several years.

He formed his quartet in 2010 and it continues to evolve and perform regularly across the UK. In 2013, he began his piano trio, Fragments, as a workshop band to research and develop new approaches to Free Improvisation and composing for improvisers, and they now have performed in Jazz venues across the UK. He also writes for the ten-piece large ensemble, the Manchester Jazz Collective, as well as for smaller groups such as Pale Blue Dot, a string quartet with tenor sax and drums; and Backlash, a “marching band” with piccolo, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, accordion and percussion.

Johnny is also one of the founding members of The Spirit Farm with some of the country's most in-demand improvisers—Christophe de Bezenac, Adam Fairhall, Anton Hunter, Dave Kane and Corey Mwamba—and of Beck Hunters with the Free Improv legend Mick Beck.


2018 Sound and Music’s “New Voices”
2016 Jazz North's “Northern Line” scheme with the Johnny Hunter Quartet
2014 BBC Jazz on 3 “Introduces...” with the Johnny Hunter Quartet

Discography as a Leader and Co-Leader

2020 Studies in Lockdown – Johnny Hunter Quartet
2020 Pale Blue Dot
2019 Has it Been Found? - Beck Hunters
2018 Fragments (Fragments)
2017 Felicity's Ultimatum (Archer/Clark/Grew/Hunter)
2016 While We Still Can (Johnny Hunter Quartet)
2015 The Spirit Farm (The Spirit Farm)
2014 The Hunt Is On (Beck Hunters)
2013 Rivers of Appropriation (Johnny Hunter Quartet)
2012 Skamel (Skamel)

Selected Shows

2019 Performance of Composition for Large Ensemble (2019), Manches-ter (UK)
2018 Jazzlines at Birmingham Symphony Hall (UK) – Johnny Hunter Quartet
2018 Ronnie Scott's (UK) – Johnny Hunter Quartet
2017 London Jazz Festival (UK) – MoonMot
2017 Café Oto (UK) – The Spirit Farm
2017 Jazzwerkstatt Bern (CH) – Word of Moth
2016 Duende Jazz, Thessaloniki (GR) – Nat Birchall Quintet
2016 Kings Place, London (UK) – Johnny Hunter Quartet
2016 Bouchemaine Jazz Festival (FR) – Prehistoric Jazz Quintet
2015 Studio l'Hermitage, Paris (FR) – Onze Heures Onze-Efpi Records
2015 Gateshead International Jazz Festival (UK) – Sloth Racket
2014 BBC Radio 3's “Introducing...”, Manchester Jazz Festival (UK) – Johnny Hunter Quartet
2014 Leuven Jazz Festival, (BEL) – Nat Birchall Quintet
2013 BBC Radio 3's “Adventures in Sound”, London Jazz Festival (UK) – Anton Hunter Trio