Hunter Dahlen, a look into the life of a jazz musician
Hunter was originally accepted into Berklee College of Music for his talents, and his homespun guitar tunes have even been
aired on WGCU Radio. These are the kinds of tunes that played in any atmosphere will bring you one step closer to melting the
pants of the crush you so long for, or turn your small, friendly get-together into the most jive-bumping, party of the century. It will
suffice to say that Hunter Dahlen is renowned by his peers, listeners and mentors as an extremely talented musician of many
Born and raised in the fish bowl of sunny Fort Myers, his journey to musical prodigiousness began when he picked up the
viola for the first time at Paul Dunbar Middle School in sixth grade. His parent’s raised him up in a house filled by a stereo
tracing the vinyl grains of Abbey Road, Robert Johnson and Louie Armstrong, along with the vast record collection of his now,
expatriated parents, Wendy and Todd Dahlen.
It all was worth it because by ninth grade he was accepted into Cypress Lake Center for the arts to play in their symphony
and string quartet. He also began playing for The Southwest Florida Junior Symphony and privately at luxurious house parties
being paid to play with professionals. By tenth grade, Santa Claus brought him a $15,000 Martin acoustic guitar and soon he
was writing and playing lovely folk songs and singing at venues all around Southwest Florida in places like downtown Fort Myers
and at resorts on Captiva and Sanibel.
The last year of high school brought a terrible event. An accusation that the entire viola section of a local high school
symphony had put some marijuana joints to their lips, and may or may not have inhaled, brought the principal only one simple
choice. The principal suspended the musicians for 45 days and hired professionals to fill their positions. The principal who laid
down this law was reassigned this school year.
When asked about the incident, Hunter said he was simply “not being a square.”
A 45-day sentence of suspension is considered truancy, so Dahlen was enrolled in an alternative education center, and in
that time started his most prolific band, A Mixed Accompany.
It was a three-piece jazz band with a drummer who also played the trumpet, a bassoonist and Dahlen on vocals, guitar,
harmonica and viola. These musicians were of the highest quality and went on to get a contract to play at Space 39 in downtown
Fort Myers for more than a year. They also played numerous gigs elsewhere and were adored by fans of all ages.
The band was together until a crisis dissolved the scatting brethren in 2013. The legacy of A Mixed Accompany lives on in
the memories of many fans. Now, Hunter focuses on his solo work while also being an integral part of the Florida Gulf Coast
University orchestra and string quartet.
At this point, Dahlen can be found playing professionally at various house parties. Along with his musical talents, you would
also be hard pressed to find someone better dressed for a night on the town than Mr. HD. A cigarette burning on the table and
low ball of brandy in the other, Hunter is a young man who follows the path of a past time where musicians put in hard work to
back up their swagger.
An evening spent listening to his jazzy rendition of “If I Only Had a Brain” will present the true soul that exists within pure jazz.
Listen to Hunter’s music: