Hunters & Collectors trumpeter Jack Howard is bringing his band, The Ambassadors of Love, to the Anglesea Golf Club on May 24. The performance, part of the venue’s Roo Twilights music series, is a tribute to the songs of songwriting legends Burt Bacharach and Hal David. According to Jack, the Ambassadors of Love arose out of what was intended to be a one-off gig at a St Kilda record shop.
“The little record store in St Kilda, Pure Pop, suggested to a whole pile of artists to choose a classic album that you played from start to finish,” he says. “I kind of ummed and ahhed what I might do – people were doing Rolling Stones, Beatles, all sorts of stuff. And there was this one record of Bacharach’s that was more of an instrumental and kind of arranged record, which was always right up my alley and I loved the arrangements on it. So I kind of replicated those arrangements for the line-up that we had.”
The album was 1967’s Reach Out, which features iconic Bacharach songs such as ‘Alfie’, ‘The Look of Love’ and ‘What the World Needs Now is Love’. Jack says he’s always been a Bacharach and David fan and felt that the performance was successful enough to repeat elsewhere.
“We did that show a couple of years ago, which went fantastically, and immediately thought we could be doing some more shows with this because they’re such great songs and it’s such a terrific band,” he says.
The band features Jon Berto on guitar, Rob Walker on bass, Greg Murray on drums, Amy Valent Curtis on percussion and Heather and Marj Michael on vocals, while Jack himself plays trumpet and sings. They will open the show with a half-hour set of Jack’s original songs, including some from his recently released album, Day of the Dog.
Jack is most famous as a member of Aussie rock icons Hunters & Collectors during the 1980s and ’90s. They recently reformed for a national tour, which included a performance at last year’s AFL Grand Final and being the support act for Bruce Springsteen at AAMI Park.
“It was a hoot,” Jack says. “We hadn’t really toured for a long time. I think maybe because everyone’s grown up and been out in the world doing their own thing everyone’s a lot more well-adjusted. And we got on like a house on fire … we were playing better than ever, I thought.”
Having the opportunity to support Springsteen in front of more than 30,000 people was a particular highlight for the self-proclaimed “massive Springsteen fan”.
“I saw him back in ’85 at the Showgrounds and I was the first in the queue to actually line up and see him,” he says. “I’ve always loved him, so to get the opportunity to support him twice was just huge for me and huge for the band. It was a great experience.”
Apart from Hunters and The Ambassadors, Jack has certainly been keeping musically active. He has released a number of solo albums, as well as playing with artists like The Violent Femmes and The Break. He also has a full-time teaching job at Wesley College. “Between all of those things I’ve been managing to keep busy,” he laughs.
When&Where: Anglesea Golf Club, Anglesea – May 24
Written by Daniel Waight