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,
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
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 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,
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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The Hitman Blues Band
©2015 Alexander Associates