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Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian A. Hunter
Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian A. Hunter (Photo special to S&S)

Name: Brian A. Hunter

Age: 21

Title: Petty Officer 2nd Class

(Day job: Quartermaster, USS Dextrous. Side job: Jazz musician.)

Hunter, a quartermaster responsible for navigation on the minesweeper USS Dextrous in the Persian Gulf, is a New Orleans native who released his first Jazz album, "For the Glory of God," in October. The recording has sold more than 5,000 copies from his Web site and at concerts. He is based in Ingleside, Texas, and is deployed with Dextrous out of Bahrain.

How long has music been a part of your life?

“For 16½ years, total. I started playing the piano at age 4. I played saxophone by age 6. I play all the saxes — soprano, alto and tenor.”

Do you come from a musical family or are you the only one to take up music?

“Well, my mother is a vocalist and pianist, both my dad and my oldest brother play the trumpet, and my youngest brother took after me with the saxophone.”

Which is a more powerful force in your life: religion or music?

“To me these are one in the same. I grew up with both heavily influencing my life, and I really wanted to tie them together on this album.”

How do you find inspiration for your music?

“My inspiration comes from living life to the fullest. There are so many things in life that people go through, and I want my music to reflect those feelings, be they good or bad. I feel that we only get one shot at life, so I try to experience as much as I can, which is one of the reasons I joined the Navy.”

How do you manage a music and military career at the same time?

“It’s very hard, but I can answer that in four words: priority, patience, understanding and support. My command does try to support me in most of my endeavors, and that helps out tremendously with an average of 25 gigs month on my schedule (in the U.S.). However, I plan on pursuing my musical career full time in May 2006.”

Did you bring a saxophone with you on deployment?

“Yes, because I often need a way to relax and get away for a while. So, I figure what better way than to do something that I love. It takes a lot of practice just to maintain musical abilities, so I have to keep my self prepared for when I get back from deployment.”

Dextrous is a small ship with a small crew, isn’t it? Can you go to get away from everything and everyone to practice?

“No, not really physically, but defiantly mentally. It’s only a 224-foot-long ship. I like to put myself in the zone, where nothing else exists, but me, my sax, and my concentration. So, yeah, I do have a chance to break away from everything every now and then."

Are you planning on putting out more albums?

“Yes, my plan is to put out one album per year for the next 10 years. Hopefully, on the next album I’ll have a major record label produce it. I’m currently working on the next album. It’s mainly comprised of my original songs that have a jazz, rhythm and blues and modern pop content.”

What’s the best way for people to hear your music?

“I have a Web site called There are many song samplers. My album is available for purchase there as well.”

— Interview by Jason Chudy

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