Brownsville to Broadway

On April 19, Council Member Darlene Mealy – 41st Council District, Brooklyn, in collaboration with Circuit Productions Inc./Susan Goldbetter, producer – will present “Brownsville to Broadway.”

This event includes Blues, Tap and Jazz, featuring the legendary Harlem Blues and Jazz Band and Brownsville’s own tap dancer, Calvin Booker at Van Dyke Community Center, 392 Blake Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. (between Powell and Mother Gaston Blvd.).

The program is scheduled from 2:00 p.m. -3:15 p.m. and is free to the public. For directions and information contact Van Dyke Community Center at 718.495.3719 or CM Mealy’s office at 718.953.3097.

Sponsored in part by discretionary funds from the 41st Council District, Brooklyn, the NYC Council and is administered through the Department for the Aging (DFTA). Funding will support Circuit Productions’s (CPI) mission to inspire, entertain and educate underserved audiences in New York through performances, public classes, workshops, and arts education programs featuring senior and emerging artists who are living legends of the city’s rich Tap, Jazz and World Music/Dance history.

“Brownsville to Broadway” with featured artists Harlem Blues and Jazz Band (HBJB), has performed nationally and internationally in venues from NYC’s Lincoln Center, to countless Jazz Festivals and major venues in Europe, including; The American Embassy and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, and throughout Japan in 2010. The band features original alumni players for legendary artists Louis “Pops” Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Mary Lou Williams to name a few.

HBJB, founded in 1973 by trombonist-blues singer Clyde Bernhardt, of 1920’s King Oliver’s Creole Jazz band fame, and jazz aficionado, Dr. Albert “Doc” Vollmer, a retired orthodontist, who has been the group’s manager for 38 years, says his connection has been a labor of love, and therefore became instrumental in working with Congressman John Conyers of Michigan to propose a resolution, which was ultimately 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.”

HBJB includes senior members; Joey Morant on trumpet, coronet, flugelhorn, and vocals; Fred Staton on tenor saxophone; Reynold “Zeke” Mullins on piano and keyboards; Michael Max Fleming on bass; Jackie Williams on drums, Broadway vocalist Ruth Brisbane and guest harmonica player, Paul Handelman.

Agent and producer, Susan Goldbetter, having worked with the band for more than a decade said, “These are the originators of jump blues and swing music and has earned them the title of America’s ‘Living Treasures.’”

Calvin Booker, guest dancer/choreographer and Brooklyn native is a co-founder of the nationally acclaimed tap group, “The Young Hoofers,” and a professional company member of “Creative Outlet/Dance Theater of Brooklyn.”

He has appeared on television, in commercials, during half time for national football games, and as co-star and tap choreographer in the Broadway acclaimed play FELA! Booker has also shared the stage with tap legends the late Dr. James “Buster Brown,” Sand Man Sims, and Jimmy Slide. He hosts “SOLE Sessions” a monthly tap and jazz jam, and, is a featured DJ on Internet radio, www.insoulwetrust.com, Tuesdays, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

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