The Hitman Blues Band



Blues Band Hired Guns

Russell "Hitman" Alexander

Mike Porter
Guy LaFountaine
Mikey Vitale
Nick Clifford
Kevin Bents
Joanna Alexander
Nancy Hampton
Michael Snyder
Neil Alexander

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Russell "Hitman" Alexander - 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.


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Mike Porter
Mike Porter - Bass Guitar
Guy LaFountaine
Guy LaFountaine - Drums

Mike Porter has played in numerous groups, ranging from Greatful Dead tributes bands to esoteric funk.

Aside from his impressive abilities on bass, he also handles vocals and, when needed, acoustic guitar.

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Guy LaFountaine has been playing drums since the age of 10. Starting with his school marching band, he played at venues such as Yankees stadium, Giant Stadium, and Shea Stadium,. He even performed during the famous Macy's Thanksgiving parade. His playing style is strongly influenced by lessons taken with Bobby Rondinelli (Blue Öyster Cult, Rainbow, Quiet Riot, Black Sabbath)

Guy’s musical interest spanned multiple genres over the years and he has played with bands covering hard rock, classic rock, heavy metal, grunge/alternative rock, and various tribute bands that covered AC/DC and Priest. He even crossed over the country, and is the first call drummer for the Joe Bayer Band. While attending clinics in Memphis to perfect various shuffles and swing beats he discovered the love of blues, and is now drumming with The Hitman Blues Band.

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Kevin Bents
Kevin Bents - Keyboards
Mikey Vitale
Mikey Vitale - Tenor

Kevin is a 3-time Emmy winner, and as a musical sideman has performed with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Phoebe Snow, Jewel, and John Fogerty. In his band, The Black Friday Stampede, he sings and plays his own songs on electric guitar and piano.. This summer he co-produced the music for an MTV Unplugged show featuring German superstar Marius Mueller-Westernhagen.

You can learn more about Kevin at his site:

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Information coming soon
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Nick Clifford
Nick Clifford - Bari
Michael Snyder
Michael Snyder - Baritone Sax
solo on Jenny Goodbye
Nick Clifford has been playing saxophone for 10 years, winning many awards while playing in his high school jazz band. This included an award for the best Baritone Saxophone player in the country in 2013. His first two albums were with the Ocean County College jazz band, which are available on Sound Cloud. He also appears with Shorty Long and The Jersey Horns, a popular tri-state area group. Nick is presently attending Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York where he is getting his Bachelor's degree in Music.
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Michael Snyder is a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist. While he only played the Bari Sax solo for "Jenny Goodbye", he is often hired to play sax (from Bari to Soprano), keyboards, or clarinet. He arranges, sings - and has a repertoire of literally hundreds of tunes, from Bach to the latest Top 40 and everything in between, including many international songs. He is an amazing musician to work with, and Hitman is fortunate to have worked with him for a number of years in numerous live groups.

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Re-issued Songs Personnel

Ray Alexander – Vibes (Catch-22 Blues)
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie – Drums (Catch-22 Blues)
Bobby Forrester – Piano & Organ (Catch-22 Blues)
Johnny Gale – Bass (Catch-22 Blues, Hammer Down)
Richard Crooks – Drums (That's What It's Like To Be A Man, Two Minute Warning, Hammer Down, Angel In The Shadows)
Seth Glassman – Bass (That's What It's Like To Be A Man, Two Minute Warning, Hammer Down, Angel In The Shadows)
Murray Weinstock – Piano (That's What It's Like To Be A Man, Angel In The Shadows)
Kevin Rymer – Organ (That's What It's Like To Be A Man, Two Minute Warning, Hammer Down, Angel In The Shadows)
Kevin Rymer – Piano (Hammer Down

Catch-22 Blues
Ray Alexander

Ray Alexander - Vibes

Bernard Purdie

Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - Drums

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,

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
Bobby Forrester - Organ and Piano

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

Angel In The Shadows

Johnny Gale - Bass Guitar
Richard Crooks
Richard Crooks - Drums

Johnny has an uncanny mastery of musical nuances and is considered one of the world's experts on classic rock, rhythm and blues, and doo wop. On record, film, television and stage, Gale has worked with music legends and contemporary groups as diverse as Cyndi Lauper, Aaron Carter, M2M, Loudon Wainwright III, Kenny Vance & The Planotones, Jules Shear, Hank Ballard, The Ramones, Joan Osborne, James Brown, Aaron Neville, Andy Fortier, Kid Creole and The Coconuts, Mel Tormé, Taj Mahal, The Byrds, Dave Mason, Meat Loaf, Rudy West and The Five Keys, Van Morrison, Iggy Pop, Little Isidore and The Inquisitors, Pookie Hudson and The Spaniels, and Carol Bayer Sager. In 1994 his own album 'Gale Force' was released on Guitar/Relativity Records and was awarded best guitar record of the year by Guitar Magazine. He has also been involved as a writer/producer of commercials with Lipton, Pepsi, Campbell's, Nestlé and others.

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Richard Crooks played drums throughout the CD, and has recorded and played with (among others) Dr. John, David Bromberg and Bob Dylan (Blood on the Tracks). Richard passed in December of 2014, but his playing on "Angel In The Shadows" speaks for itself - he was a master of his craft, and a pleasure to work with.

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Seth Glassman - Bass

Kevin Rymer - Organ, piano

Veteran bassist Seth Glassman has played with so many artists it's hard to list them all. Live and recorded credits include: James Brown, Paul McCartney, Aaron Neville, Brian McKnight, Jill Sobule, J.D Souther, Bobby Womack, Dr. John, Hall and Oates, Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Rogers, Carole King, Robert Waller, Jennifer Warnes, Rupert Holmes, Ronnie Spector, Cher, Bonnie Tyler, Judy Collins, Bette Midler, Carly Simon, Dion, Whitney and many (like another 50 or so well know names) more.

He is a writer, arranger, producer, engineer - and of course, an incredible bassist.

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Kevin has been performing for over 25 years, and is one of the earliest players to take full advantage of the electronic revolution that brought in synthesis.

During all this time, he still remains deeply involved in the traditional Hammond sound, playing on B-2 and B-3 organs in clubs and concerts all along the east coast.

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Murray Weinstock - piano

Michael Snyder - Baritone Sax
Murray Weinstock has toured extensively as keyboardist and singer with The Manhattan Transfer, Esther Phillips, Richie Havens, Don Covay and Buddy Miles. He sang and played keyboard with John Sebastian for the popular Welcome Back, Kotter television series. Murray has written and produced national commercials for CBS, Kix cereal, Toyota, KFC, Wendy's, Salon Selectives, Finesse, Flex and others.

In the late 1980's, he built Krypton Studios where The Beastie Boys, Ben E. King, Mavis Staples, Don Covay, and Bobby Womack recorded. Murray's website can be found at

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Michael Snyder is a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist. While he played Bari Sax for two cuts on Angel In The Shadows, he is often hired to play sax (from Bari to Soprano), keyboards, or clarinet. He arranges, sings - and has a repertoire of literally hundreds of tunes, from Bach to the latest Top 40 and everything in between, including many international songs. He is an amazing musician to work with, and Hitman is fortunate to have worked with him for a number of years in numerous live groups.

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The Hitman Blues Band

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