Pee Wee Hunt
b. Walter Hunt, 10 May 1907, Mt. Healthy, Ohio, USA, d. 22 June 1979, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA. A bandleader since the mid-40s, Pee Wee Hunt came from a musical family, his father being a violinist and his mother a banjoist. Hunt also started playing banjo during his teen years and after graduating from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Ohio State University, he began playing with local bands. He played both banjo and trombone before becoming trombonist with Jean Goldkette's Orchestra in 1928. A year later he joined Glen Gray's Orange Blossoms, a Detroit band that eventually became known as the Casa Loma Orchestra, and remained a heavily featured member of that unit for many years, providing not only a solid line in trombone choruses but also a large portion of likeable vocals. Hunt eventually left the Casa Loma in 1943, and became a Hollywood radio disc jockey for a while before spending the closing period of the war as a member of the Merchant Marine. He returned to the west coast music scene again in 1946, forming his own dixieland outfit and playing the Hollywood Palladium, where audience reaction to his pure hokum version of 12th Street Rag was so enthusiastic that Hunt decided to record the number at one of the band's Capitol sessions. The result was a hit that topped the US charts for eight weeks in 1948. Five years later, Hunt was in the charts again with a cornball version of Oh!, an evergreen song from 1919. Like 12th Street Rag it became a million-seller and charted for nearly six months. This proved to be Hunt's last major record and the trombonist dropped from the limelight, but still continued playing his happy music until his death in June 1979.
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