Alfonzo Hunter

Decades Active: 1990s

Biography

c.1973, USA. Despite starting his musical career as a jazz alto saxophonist, Alfonzo Hunter was subsequently driven to find work outside of a declining live scene in Chicago, Illinois. His determination was rewarded when he built a new audience for his singing capabilities. He auditioned as a back-up musician for R&B star R. Kelly, but Kelly opted to use him as a full-time backing singer instead of a saxophonist. His debut vocal set combined the spaciousness of hip-hop grooves with more complex jazz songwriting conventions and ideas. Nine of the 13 tracks were produced by Erick Sermon (EPMD) in his role as founder of the label and production team, Def Squad. Much of the recording was tailored to Sermon’s preference for spontaneous performances in the studio. This imbued Blacka Da Berry with an engaging freshness, accentuated by Hunter’s evident talents as a vocalist.

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