The Hitman Blues Band



Blues Band Hired Guns

Russell "Hitman" Alexander
Bobby Forrester
Ray Alexander
Johnny Gale
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie
Jeff Philips

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Hitman - Guitar, Vocals, composer & lyricist

Having over 40 years experience as a professional musician/bandleader, songwriter, publisher, and record company owner, Russell "Hitman" Alexander has seen many sides of the business. He has performed worldwide, first playing with “society" orchestras (Lester Lanin, Peter Duchin, Roger Stanley, and many others), with the progressive rock act “Childhood’s End”, the new wave band “Candy”, and now with his own group, The Hitman Blues Band.

As the son of famed jazz vibist Ray Alexander, he was exposed to music from childhood on. Early memories include his father’s jam sessions with luminaries such as Tal Farlow, Major Holley, Oliver Jackson, and many others, as well as attending many live performances. It was always his goal to be a professional musician, but he also began songwriting in his early teens.

Now, with the experience of thousands of performances to draw on, he’s constantly looking for ways to both give his audience a great show, and share his enthusiasm for the songs.

"It's Russell "Hitman" Alexander's gravelly vocals and guitar that put this cut over the top" - Blues Revue, 11/00
"Alexander's guitar playing lights the fire on the disc" - Cadence, 1/01

Bernard Purdie
Johnny Gale - Producer, Bass Guitar
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - Drums
Johnny Gale has been a noted force in music since the 60's. He is currently working with Little Isidore and the Inquisitors as musical director, guitarist and writer. Johnny penned the surf hit "Jitterbop" on the Hy-Sam release "Bring It On" by artist Little Leopold, and produced the release as well. His own album, 1994's "Gale Force" (Guitar Recordings), was awarded "Best Guitar Record of 1994". Johnny has worked as musical director for a number of legendary Rock and Roll stars, including Hank Ballard, Gary U.S. Bonds, The Drifters, The Jive Five, The Capris, The Chiffons, The Cadillacs, Ruth McFadden, and many, many more. Johnny is accomplished as an arranger, writer, guitarist, bassist, singer, and band leader. He is the one that gets called when things have to be done right the first time, and is a noted expert in the field of R&B. He has received endorsements from Gibson Guitars and Laney Amps.

Bernard is a legend in the music industry. Purdie moved to New York in 1960 after finishing high school and played with (among others), Lonnie Youngblood before landing his first hit with King Curtis. This led to his engagement with Aretha Franklin in 1970 - the beginning of an unparalleled career. Since then, Purdie has been a regular guest in the studios of the stars of Jazz, Soul, and Rock, working together with Paul Butterfield as well as Larry Coryell, Miles Davis, Hall & Oates, Al Kooper, Herbie Mann, Todd Rundgren and Cat Stevens, as well as regularly producing his own solo albums under his own name.

Purdie was THE drummer for Aretha Franklin when she recorded her most inspired albums at the beginning of the seventies. He also provided the back-beat for Steely Dan's "Aja", and performers such as Isaac Hayes, Donny Hathaway, B.B. King, "Sweet" Lou Donaldson, Joe Cocker and Hank Crawford have reserved that stool behind the drum kit for him. The list is incomplete, it must be, because Bernard "Pretty" Purdie holds the title of "The World's Most Recorded Drummer". The 57 year-old native of Elkton, Maryland has laid down the beat on over 3000 albums to date.
You can visit this "musician's musician" at The Bernard Purdie Web Site for more information.

Bobby Forrester
Ray Alexander
Bobby Forrester - Organ and Piano
Ray Alexander - Executive Producer, Vibes

Bobby was the keyboardist and musical director for legendary singer Ruth Brown for over 26 years. He played with a variety of well known artists, and was equally at home playing blues and jazz. Many keyboardists are unable to make the transition between the two styles, and insert inappropriate passages. Bobby, in contrast, was known for playing exactly what the music requires, and did so with fantastic technique and originality. He was also an expert at using bass pedals, and to see him perform live was an experience that left many keyboardists astonished at his technical prowess and superb musicality.  The list of artists that have insisted on Bobby includes Irene Reid, Gloria Lynne, Stanley Turrentine, Ray Alexander, Frank Wess, and Lena Horne

Bobby Forrester passed away 11/23/02. Hitman is grateful to have had the honor of recording with him


Ray started his musical career as a drummer, playing with Claude Thornhill, Bobby Byrne, the Dorsey Brothers, Stan Getz, Joe Venuti, Mel Torme, Johnny Smith, Chubby Jackson and many others. He later switched to vibes (the vibraphone) and worked with George Shearing, Charlie Barnet, Bill Evans, Anita O'Day, Mel Lewis; all in all, a "who's who" of jazz. Ray also worked with his own quartet in renowned jazz clubs such as Birdland, the Embers, Basin Street East, etc. In the early '70's he joined with Mousey Alexander to form "Alexanders the Great", a quartet which was booked frequently at the new Half Note uptown, as well as many other clubs and concerts.
Ray continued to play in various jazz clubs in New York and the East coast, as well as college concerts and jazz festivals. He also . regularly toured England and nearby European countries playing vibraphone in jazz venues and festivals.
Ray's CD "Rain in June" (on Nerus Records) featured Ray on vibraphone, Kenny Barron on piano, Warren Vaché, Jr. on cornet, Bob Kindred on tenor sax, the late Oliver Jackson on drums and Harvie Swartz on bass.
Ray's CD on Cat's Paw Records, called "Vigorous Vibes", features Ray on vibraphone, Mac Chrupcala on piano, John Anter on drums, and Marshall Wood on bass. We're pleased to say it's getting medium to heavy rotation on a number of jazz stations around the country.
His first self-released album, "Cloud Patterns" was recorded live at Eddie Condon's in 1983 and was released in 1988. It continues to do well and has received excellent reviews. The album is dedicated to the late Pepper Adams and Albert Dailey who were on the album on Bari Sax and Piano, together with Harvie Swartz on Bass, Ray Mosca on Drums and Ray on Vibraphone.

Ray Alexander passed away on 6/8/02, as the result of complications from routine surgery performed on 1/3/02 by Dr. Marc Sher, at LIJ Hospital in Lake Success, NY. He is missed by his family and his many friends and fans,

Jeff Philips
Chief Engineer, Bass on "Whiskey Bottom Road"

Jeff Philips has played with Eartha Kitt, Bobby Rydell, Curtis Steigers, Joan Osborn, and many others. He has played on jingles for such clients as Pepsi, Monsanto, and Toshiba. He is also a fixture on the New York blues scene, playing with such artists as Frankie Paris, Robert Ross, Michael Powers, and the Holmes Brothers.

"Blooztown" was recorded, mixed and mastered at Hot Sound Studios, NYC, and was engineered and mastered by Jeff Philips.
Publicity photo and tray photo were taken by Jim Marchese, who can be contacted through the Mary Lamont Band website.

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2003   Alexander Associates


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The Hitman Blues Band

2015  Alexander Associates