Who We Are
We play an eclectic mix of country, bluegrass, western swing, rockabilly, blues, traditional jazz, dixieland, old-time music, folk, roots music & Americana. Our band members also play in Hot Jazz Jumpers. Hot Jazz Jumpers perform Gullah-Geechee influenced 20s/30s jazz, music of New Orleans, country, bluegrass, blues, folk, originals and world music.
Nick Russoguitar/banjo/resonator/composer/band leader
Appears on ABC's Good Morning America, Sam Mendes film, ''Away We Go'' and was a sideman with the late greats: Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles and Sonny Dallas.
Russo has recorded as a sideman on many albums including: Mona's Hot Four, Grand St Stompers, Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra, Dandy Wellington, Garden Party, Raphael McGregor, Jesse Gelber, Adrian Cunningham, Stacy Sullivan, Anastasia Rene, Hot Sardines and others.
In 2013 Nick jammed with Sir Paul McCartney on harmonica at Gwyneth Paltrow's garden party and 2006 released Ro featuring Mark Turner, Pandit Samir Chatterjee, Ari Hoenig & other great musicians.
Appears as principle dancer in featured films Disney's Enchanted and Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts. Hershey performed on international and national tours of Broadway shows such as West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera, The Fantasticks and Pump Boys & Dinettes.
As a songwriter, Hershey performed live on WFUV, played with Fast Folk at The Bottom Line, C-Note, workshopped songs at Jack Hardy’s Monday night gatherings and BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop.
Betina directs Garden Players, her own music theatre program for children and young adults in Forest Hills, Queens. She writes an original musical every year, published by Beat By Beat Press and performed all over the world.
David Pleasant, is a trailblazer in the Early African inspired music and movement of Gullah-Geechee culture. Referred to as, ''A true griot who captivates audiences with performances that bridge African polyrhythms and quantum physics'', Pleasant's work spans the range.
He has worked with artist such as, Audra Mc Donald, Wynton Marsalis, Urban Bush Women, Cecil Taylor, and others. As a featured artist and/or composer for ABC News, Nickelodeon, TED Talks, Nightline and similar projects, Pleasant engages an international scope for Gullah-Geechee culture.
He is a highly regarded musician who studied Afro-Cuban percussion at La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba before further training with Puerto Rican jazz great Giovanni Hidalgo. He also founded Nueva Siembra, a 15-piece Latin band, composed Jackson Heights Suite, for string quartet, was musical director/percussionist/guitarist for the OBIE Award winning Off-Broadway show Tap Dogs, and is a tabla disciple of virtuoso Pandit Samir Chatterjee.
Banjo Nickaru & His Western Scooches featuring Hot Jazz Jumpers
perform Gullah-Geechee influenced country, music of New Orleans,
old-timey, 20s, blues, spirituals, jazz, Indian raga, originals & dance.
Miles Griffith, voice, Betina Hershey, voice/guitar, Nick Russo,
banjo/guitar, David Pleasant, drums/harmonica, Essiet Essiet,
bass (thank you special guests in this video: Walter Stinson,
bass & Kenny Kosek, fiddle).