Les DeMerle, drummer and founder of Amelia Island's Jazz Festival, gifted bassist Thomas Milovac and
singer Bonnie Eisele
"Les DeMerle is the best all-around drummer I've ever had, and that's saying a lot when you remember that Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson manned that post before him." -Harry James, world famous trumpeter and bandleader
Although I'd heard of Les DeMerle and his wife, singer Bonnie Eisele, I had never seen them perform in person until recently. Horizon's Restaurant on Amelia Island had turned a back room into a cozy jazz club and Bruce, my husband, and I were privileged to attend their performance. Over lobster bisque, the best I have ever tasted, and a fine dinner, Les proved his reputation as a superlative entertainer and showman. Having played with and for the Harry James Big Band, Wayne Newton, Lou Rawls, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme, Joe Lewis and Frank Sinatra, this deeply passionate musical man kept beat after crazy beat accompanying Bonnie, and tore the house down with his drum solos. Did I mention we had a front row seat?
He is the founder and artistic director of The Amelia Island Jazz Festival. This 2016, it was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew. Scheduled now for November 2nd-6th, there will be performances called Jump Jive and Wail/Swing Night, Hot Latin Jazz Concert/Concert, Dance, Jazz Legend Houston Person in Concert, Friday Late Nite Jam and Dixie to Swing Jazz Brunch at Amelia Island's Florida House. (The Florida House is the oldest tourist hotel in Florida and is featured in my Goodbye Lie historical series. My characters are in good company.)
As with everything, timing is all important. So, if you're in the area or want to drive or fly to Amelia Island for this ever-growing wonderful Jazz Festival, here is a link to their site for more info: Amelia Island Jazz Festival - 2016. Hope we see you there!