Season 2022-2023 Gold Coast Jazz Society

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.

Upon graduation from Western Kentucky State University, Longo hit the road as a full time professional jazz musician.  During his two year stint with a band called the Salt City Six, he was booked into New York’s Metropole Café where he became a house pianist.  There he worked with such jazz notables as Henry Red Allen, Coleman Hawkins, George Wettling, Gene Krupa and many others.

While on a gig in Chicago, Longo met his idol Oscar Peterson.  Peterson invited him to study at the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, a school for jazz musicians run by Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown. Longo spent the next six months in “the most intense period of study in my life.”

Upon completion of his studies with Peterson, Longo returned to New York.  He went on the road with Nancy Wilson and worked with many legendary singers such as Gloria Lynn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing and others. It was while playing at the Embers in NYC that Dizzy Gillespie first heard Longo.  After hearing him again at Embers West, Gillespie hired him to be the new pianist with the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, a post Mike would assume for the next nine years. Longo was Gillespie’s composer, arranger and music director. They enjoyed a close bond of friendship and musical collaboration, which lasted until Gillespie’s death in 1993.

In 1986, Longo was commissioned by Gillespie to compose a piece for full symphony orchestra which was performed by Gillespie in 1993 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  As a composer and arranger, Mike has also worked with James Moody (his band mate with Gillespie). He is featured as composer/arranger on three of Moody’s recordings as well as a commission from the San Diego Symphony Orchestra for music that was performed by Moody in a 2002 concert.

Since that time Mike has recorded several albums and CD’s on various labels with some 45 recordings with various artists like Gillespie, James Moody and many others. Currently he has 19 solo albums to his credit. His discography includes Aftermath (2000), Explosion (2001), Still Swingin (2002), The Mike Longo Trio – Live (2002), Oasis (2004), Float Like a Butterfly (2007), Sting Like a Bee (2009) A Celebration of Diz and Miles (2012).  In 1998 he formed the New York State of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, an 18 piece big band, made up of the top musicians in New York. Longo also appears with his trio at festivals and clubs world-wide.


Gold Coast Jazz Society Band
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, 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.

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