"Played with guile, grace, humor and enthusiasm" - Hartford Courant
Founded in 1973 by King Oliver's trombonist/blues singer Clyde Berhardt and jazz aficionado Al Vollmer, the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band has as its main concept to keep significant side-men of the Classic Jazz Period working and not forgotten. The continued quality of this group has caused the band to be declared a National Treasure and one of the most authentic Swing Bands playing today.
These originals aventually did jump at the Woodside and stomp at the Savoy, with Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Fats waller, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and other jazz greats. These are the artists who created a new genre of music for America.
The band has performed at Lincoln Center in NYC, the Ordway Theater in Minnesota, countless Jazz Festivals, as well as main venues in Europe, including the American Embassy and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Russia.
The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band
Albert Vollmer (Founder of Harlem Blues and Jazz Band)
Dr. Vollmer created The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band in 1973 with King Oliver's trombonist/blues singer, Clyde Bernhardt, never suspecting that it would become one of the longer continually performing jazz groups in existence. An impressive number of musicians from the Classic and Swing eras have graced the various incarnations throughout the years, thereby giving an enviable authenticity and historical significance to the band's performances and recordings.
Joey Morant (trumpet/flugelhorn and vocals)
One of the most exiting and dynamic trumpeters on the current scene, Joey is also a consummate entertainer. He electrifies audiences with his dazzling horn technique, skillful scat singing and humorous asides.
He has performed with Henry "Red" Allen, Lionel Hampton, Ray Charles and Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band. He has toured Japan with Count Basie. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, he was selected to blow Taps and Ground Zero flanked by NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and NY State Governor George Pataki.
Art Baron (trombone, composer/arranger)
A most versatile musician, Art played for a year in the Duke Ellington brass section under the leadership of the Maestro himself. He carries on the Ellington Tradition with the "Duke's Men" an aggregation of Ellington Alumni of which he is the leader, arranger and trombonist. He has played with the Charles Mingus Big Band, Illinois Jacquet, Frank Wess and Lincoln Center Jazz Ensemble. His New Orleans credits include playing with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band as well as with Harold Dejan's Olympia Brass Band. He has also performed with Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen.
Michael Max Fleming (bass)
One of the outstanding and busiest bassists in the New York area, Michael excels both in pizzicato and arc bass playing. He played with Mary Lou Williams for two years and was part of a group backing Sammy Davis, JR. Witherspoon, Billy Eckstine and trumpeters Clifford Jordan and Chet Baker.
Fred Staton (tenor sax, age 97)
The senior member of the band, Fred has performed with Billy Eckstine, Brownie "Sticks McGhee, Art Blakey and Errol Garner. He has also backed the Harlem Dance Troupe, "Mama Lou Parks Savoy Lindy Hoppers", a group with The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band had a long association. As the brother of the late vocalist, Dakota Staton, he has frequently shared the stage with his famous sister. He is also the leader of his own Gospel Group , "The Sounds of Deliverance".
Ruth Brisbane (vocalist)
This vivid stage personality has appeared in Jazz Clubs all over the United States as well as 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 and Raisin" and 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, NY and West End production in London, England.
Other musicians who frequently play with the band
Fred Smith - trumpet
Benny Paul - trombone
David Lee Jones - alto sax
Ray Blue - alto sax
Bill Wurtzel - el, gtr
Alex Layne - bass
Jackie Williams - drums
Cecil Morgan - vocal