Gold Coast Jazz Society 2023-2024 Concert Season

Michael-LongoMike Longo began his professional career at the age of fifteen in South Florida where he began working with his father’s band around the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. His professional career took roots after winning a local talent contest at the age of twelve.

Cannonball Adderley, a band director at Dillard High School, heard Longo and became interested in the young pianist. Longo’s father hired Cannonball to work some gigs with his band. Later, Cannonball hired the young Longo for a gig with an R&B band.  Adderley began coaching the young Longo and the young pianist began playing up and down the east coast of Florida.  Adderley later hired Longo to play with his quartet at the famed Porky’s that was depicted in the movies of the same name in the 70′s.

Dr.-Lonnie-Smith-TrioDr. Lonnie Smith, B3 Organ
Jonathan Kreisberg, Guitar  
Johnathan Blake, Drums

Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist.  An authentic master of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, Smith has been featured on over seventy albums and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the jazz world.  Jazz Times describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban.”  Smith was named “Top Organist” by Downbeat Magazine and was recently inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Organ Fellowships Hall of Fame.

The-Michael-Kaeshammer-TrioMichael Kaeshammer has “piano technique to burn, and has an acrobatic way with a grand piano,” says John Terauds of the Toronto Star   “The hottest Canadian music export isn’t indie rockers, it’s jazz musicians. First there was Diana Krall, then Michael Bublé and Matt Dusk, and now Michael Kaeshammer has come along…The German-born pianist’s latest could easily be the next big jazz record” - NOW Magazine

After studying classical piano for seven years in his German homeland, a 13-year-old Kaeshammer discovered boogie-woogie and stride piano as played by Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson, Pinetop Smith, and Fats Waller. In three years, he was playing boogie-woogie piano in clubs, concerts, and festivals all over Germany. He attracted attention almost immediately after the family moved to the west coast of Canada, performing at blues and jazz festivals across the country during the summer of 1996.

Arturo-SandovalA protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval is recognized as one of the most brilliant, multifaceted and renowned musicians of our time.  Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.  He was the recipient of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by President Obama.   
Sandoval has been awarded 9 Grammy Awards, and nominated 19 times; he has also received 6 Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award. The latter for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” that starred Andy Garcia as Arturo.   Soon to be released is a new book chronicling his relationship with Dizzy Gillespie entitled “The Man Who Saved Me”.  Sandoval’s latest release on the Concord label, “Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You) won a 2013 GRAMMY® Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.  This award-winning album pays tribute to Gillespie and features many of his best compositions.  

Shelly-BergShelly Berg, Piano
Chuck Bergeron, Bass
John Yarling, Drums  
Shelly Berg, An accomplished pianist in both classical and jazz styles, Shelly Berg is a recording artist for Concord Music Group, and a Steinway piano artist. He has arranged and recorded with many award-winning artists. In 2007, Berg was appointed as Dean of the University of Miami’s Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music where he teaches both privately, in the Frost Experiential Music Curriculum, and administers the academic, musical and research pursuits of over 700 music students and 100 faculty.  He was formerly the McCoy/Sample endowed music professor at USC Thornton School of Music where he taught for 16 years.  

Janis-SiegelOver the past three decades, the voice of Janis Siegel, a nine-time Grammy winner and a seventeen-time Grammy nominee, has been an undeniable force in The Manhattan Transfer’s diverse musical catalog. Alongside her career as a member of this 32-year musical institution, Siegel has also sustained a solo career that has spawned more than a half dozen finely-crafted solo albums and numerous collaborative projects, amassed a large international fan base and garnered consistently high critical praise.

Over the years, Janis’s unmistakable voice has become one of the Transfer’s most recognizable
trademarks. She sang lead on some of their biggest hits, such as “Operator,” “Chanson D’Amour,” “Twilight Zone,” “Birdland,” “Ray’s Rockhouse,” “Sassy,” “Spice of Life,” “Mystery,” and “The Boy from N.Y.C.” She also gained a reputation as a vocal arranger by writing five of the charts for the group’s acclaimed masterwork, Vocalese, seven charts for the group’s Grammy-winning album Brasil, and won a Grammy herself in 1980 for her arrangement of “Birdland.” In 1993, she and her Manhattan Transfer colleagues received their honorary doctorates from the Berklee School of Music, and in 1999 they were among the first class of inductees into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Bill-Charlap-TrioBill Charlap, Piano
Kenny Washington, Drums
Peter Washington, Bass  

Bill Charlap, one of the world’s premiere jazz pianists, has performed with many leading artists of our time, ranging from Phil Woods and Tony Bennett to Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis. He is known for his interpretations of American popular songs and has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin and others. Time magazine wrote, “Bill Charlap approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved…no matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence.”

Born in New York City, Charlap began playing the piano at age three. His father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include Peter Pan, and his mother is singer Sandy Stewart, who appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como shows and earned a Grammy nomination for her recording of My Coloring Book. In 2005, Charlap and Stewart released the acclaimed CD, Love Is Here to Stay (Blue Note). Charlap is married to renowned jazz pianist Renee Rosnes. The two artists often collaborate in a duo piano setting. In 2010 Charlap and Rosnes released Double Portrait (Blue Note).

BillAllredClassicJazzBandBill Allred Leader/Trombone
Herb Bruce, Trombone
Charlie Bertini, Trumpet  
Don Johnson, Trumpet
Terry Myers, Reeds
Randy Morris, Piano
David Pruyn, Drums
Jay Mueller, Bass

This year marks the 25 anniversary of the Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band.  In 1990, the Band was born in Orlando from a group of ex-Rosie O’Grady and Disney musicians. They started essentially as a “kicks” band, collecting and playing the arrangements of Matty Matlock and Billy Maxted.  After performing at a few jazz festivals, they realized that there was a real market for their “little big band” type of sound. Over the years, the Classic Jazz Band has added an eclectic collection of written and improvised jazz to its library. After learning of the band’s desire to tour with a classic library, noted pianist and arranger Billy Maxted contributed quite a few of his great charts. Other contributors include Bob Haggart, legendary writer and performer Joe DeWeese, Dave Wolpe, Scott Whitfield, John Bambridge, Terry Waddell and Dave MacKenzie, as well as the band’s own John Allred and Bob Pickwood.


Giacomo Gates"Mr. Gates is a solid example of a performer who is doing something that no one else does. He evokes an age (that I would hope is not so terribly bygone) when musicians were entertainers and entertainers were musicians, and a sense of humor was as important as a sense of rhythm." Will Friedwald in The New York Sun.

Giacomo Gates is truly an entertainer, for all ages and styles. Audiences enjoy the music, his interaction on the bandstand, the spontaneity, the humor, and the stories about the music and composers. What usually lacks in most of today's performances is obviously present... fun!
In his own words, "In this kind of music it's about intention, honesty and what comes through in your voice - the Experience of Life."

Blessed with a full-bodied and mellifluous voice, extraordinary rhythmic precision and an unerring sense of lyricism, Gates' total command of the vernacular, boundless creativity and exuberant passion set him apart from nearly every other vocalist on the scene. However, he didn't display his talents to the public-at-large until 1990.

Although he had always been exposed to music since early childhood, singing and playing guitar through his teenage years, it was for the love of the music, not as a vocation. After many years in a non-musical career, and after much encouragement from local and visiting performers, Giacomo decided to return to his native Connecticut and devote full attention to music.

Like his mentors, Gates would sometimes translate great instrumental solos into Vocalese, including the works of Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan, Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker, Gene Ammons, Charlie Rouse and many others, also penning lyrics to classic jazz compositions. In citing his influences, Giacomo states "Some of my favorite singers are Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster and Lester Young. They were singing through the horn. If that isn't singing, I don't know what is!"

From that perspective, Giacomo sometimes vocalizes as an instrument - trombone, trumpet, bass and even drums. There's no contrivance or gimmickry for its own sake involved in this, as it's entirely conceived within the context of the music. In June of 2004, Giacomo and Andy Bey joined Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling in Europe, performing with Kurt Elling's The Four Brothers vocal ensemble. Giacomo has also performed with such notables as Lou Donaldson, Freddie Hubbard, Richie Cole, Rufus Reid, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis and many other world class performers. His primary focus has been leading his own groups, which has taken him all over the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Playing major U.S. clubs, New York's Birdland, Smoke, Jazz Standard, Blue Note, and Dizzy's, Philadelphia's Chris' Jazz Cafe, Blues Alley and The Kennedy Center in D.C., Scullers in Boston and Snug Harbor in New Orleans, Dazzles in Denver, The Jazz Bakery in LA, Pearl's in San Francisco; and major festivals like Detroit/Montreux, Telluride, Caramoor, Sedona, Rochester, Syracuse, Clearwater, Fairbanks Summer Arts, California's Jazz at the Plazz, and New York's Lost Shrine Series; and at countless universities and jazz societies, Giacomo's enormous appeal and popularity are obvious from the many repeat engagements he has had at these venues.

His international touring includes several tours of Russia, Italy and Belgium, teaching in Europe, three Australian tours and doing a Coca Cola commercial in Madrid.

Gates has six heavily acclaimed CDs, with his most recent release, Miles Tones - Giacomo Gates Sings the Music of Miles Davis, garnering rave reviews and topping the National Jazz Radio Playlist at #1 for four weeks. His preceding CD, The Revolution Will Be Jazz, The Songs of Gil Scott-Heron, was #1 for six weeks on the National Jazz Radio Playlist. Both CD's spent over three months in the top 20 of the Jazz Week charts, on over 300 stations.

Heavily committed to education, Giacomo teaches regularly at Wesleyan University, Southern Connecticut State University, Sacred Heart University and New Haven's Neighborhood Music School and has conducted workshops and residencies at numerous educational institutions all over the U.S.

Giacomo's sheer joy, exuberance, wit and unlimited creativity make him one of jazz' most compelling artists.


Formed in 1994 by past artistic director of the Gold Coast Jazz Society, the late Lee Amlie, and Simon Salz, the band is now led by Eric Allison. Band members are South Florida resident musicians, many with international reputations and credits, who share in their desire to perform and thereby preserve America’s musical heritage of jazz. The band has performed each year as a part of the Society’s jazz concert series and for audiences in Sarasota, West Palm Beach and Miami, with such jazz greats as Dick Hyman, Howard Alden, Frank Vignola, Bucky Pizzarelli, Shelly Berg, Richie Cole and Jiggs Whigham. They have performed at the Kravis Center, The Amaturo Theater at the Broward Performing Arts Center, the Bonnet House JazzFest, and the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society’s and annually at the SunTrust Sunday Jazz Brunch in Fort Lauderdale. The group also performs numerous education concerts in regional schools, libraries and museums for the Gold Coast Jazz Society.

MARTIN HAND, MUSIC DIRECTOR – Gold Coast Jazz Society Band
Born in England in the late 50's, Martin’s early musical influences were the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and many skiffle artists of the time. In 1967 he immigrated to the United States where he exposed to "Motown" and the emerging rock scene. Following high school, he attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. Martin has performed numerous musical luminaries including Dizzy Gillespie, Warren Vaché, Harry Allen, Dave Valentin, Peter Nero, Nell Carter, Eddie Harris, Henry Mancini, Darius Rucker, Bernadette Peters, Andrea McCardle, Trini Lopez, Burt Bacharach, Barbara McNair, Julie Budd, Blackstone, Jack Jones, Al Martino, The Lettermen, The Fifth Dimension, Eartha Kit, Destino, Vic Damone, Dinah Shore, Maureen McGovern, Melissa Manchester, Maria Osmond, Monica Mancini, Patti Austin, Robert Klein, Michael Feinstein, Ann Hampton Calloway, Arturo Sandoval, David Benoit, Jeff Kashua, The Supremes, The Platters, Sam and Dave, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Rupert Holmes, Roy Clark, Tommy Tune, Joel Gray, Joe Piscopo, Tommy Mitchell and Doc Severinson. He has performed in many shows and musicals and his orchestral credits include appearance with the New World Symphony, the Symphonic Pops of Boca Raton, the Palm Beach Pops, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, the Naples Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Pops, the Peter Graves Orchestra and the Sunshine Pops.

Bria Skonberg QuartetThe Bria Skonberg Quartet is a powerhouse combination of emerging talent in the New York jazz scene and includes Bria Skonberg on trumpet and vocals, Sean Cronin on bass, Darrian Douglas on drums and Dalton Ridenhour on piano. Leader Bria Skonberg is "poised to be one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation." – Wall Street Journal. This year she earned a Jazz Journalists’ Association nomination for “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of The Year”, is included in Downbeat Magazine’s Rising Star Critics‘ Poll, and was honored with a NY Bistro Award for "Outstanding Jazz Artist." Best known for her knowledge of classic jazz and instigative nature, she is creating a style rooted in hot jazz, world percussion, soul and modern effects. For this venture she has assembled a group of unique individuals from the US and Canada that are proficient in the roots of jazz with 21st century sensibilities. Bassist Sean Cronin, a free spirited musical mastermind, has been a part of all of Bria's original projects since 2007.

He leads his own psychedelic jazz/fusion experience named "Very Good" on both coasts. Pianist Dalton Ridenhour, a native of St. James, Missouri, has been a featured artist at ragtime festivals since his early teens. He gained his Masters' degree at the prestigious Berklee College of Music and the Eastman School of Music, recorded his first solo album on Rivermont Records and is a first call pianist in New York with the likes of Dan Levinson. Rounding out the group on drums is Darrian Douglas, originally from Jackson, Mississippi. Darrian moved to New Orleans in 2008 where he took over the drum chair in the Ellis Marsalis' Quartet for the next four years. During that time he also played with Irvin Mayfield, Germain Bazzle, Topsy Chapman, and recorded with his own group "The Session."

Bria first met Darrian at the Ascona Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Since his 2012 arrival in New York he has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Victor Goines, Joe Temperley and more. This group has recently recorded Bria's second album for Random Act Records, a follow-up to "So Is the Day" (2012) which peaked at #7 on the US National Jazz Charts. The recording, released in 2014, features world percussionist Mino Cinelu.


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