Firecracker Jazz Band


With jubilant vigor that spills from the stage to the streets, FIRECRACKER JAZZ BAND revitalizes the energy of the roots of Jazz. In paying homage to the pioneers of early 20th Century Jazz, including that of Dixieland and New Orleans, the Firecracker Jazz Band carries the torch that was once lit by such greats as Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong & Bix Beiderbecke.

JE WIDENHOUSE (trumpet, cornet) has been traveling the world and playing professionally for 15 years. Previous projects include Squirrel Nut Zippers, Sex Police, and Hobex. This ensemble is especially rewarding and challenging, and Je has endeavored to accept Jazz as his personal savior.
Earl Sachais EARL SACHAIS (trombone) is a former music instructor and New York City hired gun for the performing ensembles such as Warren Covington and the Tommy Dorsey Band. He has backed Barbara Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr, and many others. Earl has a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
AJF Headshot FJBAJF-Headshot-FJB-sm ANDREW J. FLETCHER (piano) Playing a high energy style of stride piano loaded with generous dashes of Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller and early Earl Hines with a lethal dash of Jerry Lee Lewis on top, Fletcher keeps the raucous dance hall tradition of jazz vividly alive. Performing professionally since 2009, he embodies the tradition of jazz that aims to give attentive listeners an earful while giving dancers plenty to work with too. Mentored for many years by founding Firecracker Jazz Band member Reese Gray, Fletcher is now cutting his own path through the music world anywhere he can find a piano. He has recorded with Americana star Pokey LaFarge and routinely brings his trademark style to other groups across the country.
jason-krekel-931x1024 JASON KREKEL (guitar, banjo, fiddle, slide whistle) is a multi-instrumentalist and original member of the band from 2003. After an absence of a several years, Krekel is back in the band.
Russ Wilson RUSS WILSON (drums, vocals) Russ Wilson has been working as a professional musician for 36 years playing many different styles of music. He has shared the stage with Lightnin’ Wells, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Thackery, Candye Kane, Maria Muldaur, Charles Dungee, Melva Houston, Kim Wilson, Levon Helm, David Johansen and (yes, even!) Crystal Gayle. Russ has worked on 30 albums (seven of them his own solo projects), has appeared performing on numerous tv shows and one Martin Scorsese film (The Road To Memphis). However, vintage jazz remains his first love. Russ’ favorite drummers are Gene Krupa, Chick Webb, Zutty Singleton and Baby Dodds.
Rick Neiman RICK NEIMAN (tuba) comes from a musical family and made his debut on his parents radio show at the age of 7. Rick attended Temple University (Philadelphia), majoring in Music Education and Performance. Although his training is mainly in the Classical vein, Rick has performed with a number of touring companies, The Guy Lombardo Band and The Henry Mancini Orchestra, as well as National companies, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and Long Horn Rodeo bands, and has backed Bob Hope, George Burns and Wayne Newton to name a few.

Notable Performances by the FIRECRACKER JAZZ BAND include Bonnaroo 2007, Highline Ballroom in NYC, Sacramento Jazz Fest, Seaside Dixie Jazz Fest in Oregon, Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh, Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville, OH, Redwood Coast Jazz Festival in Eureka, CA, Hot Steamed Jazz Festival in Essex, CT, Orange County Jazz Festival in Orange County, CA, Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival in Davenport, IA. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Millennium Stage in Washington, DC.