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Recent Circuit Productions Sponsored Performances:

Sunday, August 9, 2015, 2015
Harlem Meer Fest, 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues, inside Central Park, NYC
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Members:

Dr. Albert “Al” Vollmer
(Bandleader/
Master of Ceremonies)

Ruth Brisbane (Vocals)

Michael Max Fleming
(Bass)

Bill Wurtzel
(Guitar)

Jackie Williams (Drums)

Fred Staton(Tenor Sax)

Joey Morant
(Trumpet/ Coronet /
Fluglehorn /Vocals)

Michael Dawson
(Conga percussion)

Paul Handelman
(Harmonica)

Reynolds “Zeke” Mullins
(piano and keyboard)

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Artists' official website
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Circuit Productions Inc. (CPI) is supported, in part, with public funds from New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.




The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band

The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band is the world's most authentic swing band.
It stars 7 veteran jazz and blues musicians and one vocalist, all founders of swing.

Listen to HBJB's recording
"Live at Copeland's Restaurant Gospel Brunch"
"Every Time I Feel the Spirit" "What a Wonderful World"
"Down by the Riverside" "Jesus is the Best Thing"
"Trouble in my Way" "I Want to be Ready"
"Amazing Grace" "Just a Closer Walk with Thee"
"God Put a Rainbow in the Clouds" "I'll (We'll) Be Alright Someday"
"There's not a Friend like the Lowly Jesus" "Meeting on the Old Campground"
"When the Saints go Marching In"  

Trombonist and blues singer Clyde Bernhardt, who played with King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in the 1920s, and jazz aficionado Al Vollmer, founded the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band in 1973. The primary focus of the band has been keeping significant side musicians from the Classic Jazz Period working and not forgotten. The band’s agent, Robert Gewald, said the band is a national treasure and one of the most authentic swing bands playing today.

The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band has performed at Lincoln Center in New York City, the Ordway Theater in Minnesota, countless jazz festivals, as well as main venues in Europe, including the American Embassy and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. In 2010, the band toured Japan for 10 days. The band’s members (3-5 members), all senior citizens, include: Joey Morant, trumpet, coronet, flugelhorn, and vocals; Fred Staton, tenor saxophone; Reynolds “Zeke” Mullins, piano and keyboard; Michael Max Fleming, bass; and Jackie Williams, drums. Vocalist Ruth Brisbane often performs and travels with the band. The emcee and manager is Dr. Albert “Doc” Vollmer. The number of musicians varies depending on availability and fees.

Members of the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band have played with Louis Armstrong, Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cab Calloway.

Al Vollmer, a retired orthodontist and one of the band’s organizers, has been the group’s friend and manager for 41 years. He said his connection has been a labor of love for American jazz.

Vollmer worked with Congressman John Conyers of Michigan to propose a resolution, which was approved by the 100th Congress of the United States in 1987, stating that “ . . . jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood, and promulgated.”


Band Photos


Harlem Blues and Jazz Band group shothbjb medium band shot Harlem Blues and Jazz drums Harlem Blues and Jazz keys piano Harlem Blues and Jazz saxophone Harlem Blues and Jazz vocals photo credit: Daniel Newman

Fred Staton Fred and Susan

Band Members

Ruth Brisbane, vocalist: Ruth’s vivid stage personality has appeared in jazz clubs all over the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. She has performed off Broadway in her own one-woman show, “The Legacy of Bessie Smith” and on Broadway in “The Wiz,” “Raisin” and in the role of Bloody Mary in “South Pacific.” She was in the Paris production of “Black and Blue” and appeared in "One Mo’ Time” both in Greenwich Village, N.Y. and in the West End production in London.

Michael Max Fleming, bass: One of the busiest bassists in the New York area, Michael excels both in pizzicato and arco bass playing. He has performed with Mary Lou Williams, Lee Blair, Sammy Davis Jr., and blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon. He has also played with Clifford Jordan, Chet Baker and Billy Eckstine.

Joey Morant, trumpet, coronet, flugelhorn, and vocals: A consummate entertainer, Joey hails from South Carolina and electrifies audiences with his dazzling horn technique, skillful scat, singing and humorous asides. His has performed with Henry “Red” Allen, Lionel Hampton, Ray Charles and Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band. He toured Japan with the Count Basie Orchestra. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers, he was selected to blow Taps at Ground Zero flanked by NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and N.Y. Governor George Pataki. Reynolds “Zeke” Mullins, piano and keyboard: A long-time member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Zeke has also distinguished himself in countless jazz clubs and on concert stages in the New York area. A skilled accompanist to vocalists of different styles and temperaments, Zeke always provides the right sympathetic backing and support. He is a regular at the Monday Night Jam Sessions at Local 802 Musicians Union sponsored by The Jazz Foundation of America.

Fred Staton, tenor saxophone: One of the senior members of the band (at 93), Fred has performed with Billy Eckstine, Brownie “Sticks” McGhee, Art Blakey and Errol Garner. He has also backed the Harlem Dance Troupe, “Mama Lu Parks and her Savoy Lindy Hoppers,” a group with which The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band had a long association. As the brother of Dakota Staton, a famous jazz singer in the 1950s, he frequently shared the stage with his sister. He is also the leader of his own Gospel group, “The Sounds of Deliverance.”

Jackie Williams, drums: New York based drummer Jackie Williams has had a long and venerable career playing with the major musicians from the Classic and Mainstream Jazz eras. Earle Hines, Teddy Wilson, Junior Mance, Jay McShann and Charles “Red” Richards are some of the pianists he has accompanied. He has worked with trumpeters Buck Clayton, Roy Eldridge and “Doc” Cheatham, reeds players such as Edmond Hall, Buddy Tate and Illinois Jacquet. He has also performed with such luminaries as the vocalist Alberta Hunter, trombonist Vic Dickinson, bassist Milt Hinton, trumpeter Bobby Hackett and bandleader Eddie Condon. Jackie has performed at major European jazz festivals in Nice, France, and in Holland, at the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Bill Wurtzel, guitar: Moonlighting as a guitarist in big bands throughout his advertising career, Bill began pursuing music full time upon his retirement in 1989. He is a founding director of the Jazz Foundation of America, which helps jazz and blues musicians in need. His favorite appearances include ten after-concert parties for Paul Simon with guitarist Howard Morgeri. He also performed at Jack Kleinsinger’s “Highlights in Jazz” concert with Jimmy Witherspoon, David “Fathead” Newman, Harold Ashby, Arvell Shaw, Bross Townsend and Kenny Washington. He also played with the Jazz Icons trio, including Bob Cranshaw and the late Benny Powell.

Dr. Albert "Doc" Vollmer (Bandleader/Master of Ceremonies) Dr. Vollmer created the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band in 1973 as a labor of love, culling the musicians from the finest bands of the era. They played for a year in New York City, and then filled the demand by performing in European festivals before engaging as an American national touring attraction in the early 1980s. Still on tour, Dr. Vollmer organizes all the band's musical sets. He also served as a consultant on the premiere of "One Mo' Time" in New York City. Dr. Vollmer has produced several CD recordings of the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band.