Category Archives: Musician Profile

“Jazz Monday” at the Roadhouse Goes Out With a Bang!

Bob Bowlby

Bob Bowlby

The Roadhouse Cafe in Ft. Myers announced that this coming Monday, March 12 will be the last Jazz Monday for the 2012 season. Pianist Joe Delaney, who has been leading his Trio on the Monday dates, has engaged a life-long friend and New England colleague, saxophonist Bob Bowlby, to play that night with the Trio.

Joe and Bob both worked with the late Lou Colombo for over 30 years and will dedicate the evening to celebrating Lou’s legacy and spirit in music.

Seating for this exciting evening of fine dining and great jazz music is limited. Reservations are strongly suggested by calling the Roadhouse at 239.415.4375.

Click here to view the Roadhouse menu.

Click here for more about Joe Delaney.

Born in Boston in 1959, Bob Bowlby started his first musical pursuit by playing drums at the age of 6. His father, Bob Bowlby, Sr., was an English Professor and a pianist who played professionally on weekends at night clubs and private parties. By the time he was 9, he was sitting in with his father’s band, and was a member of the group by age 11.

While listening to many of his father’s jazz records, he became more drawn to the saxophone from listening to Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane. At age 12, he started playing saxophone and clarinet in the school band. He soon added flute and all the various woodwinds to his list of instruments very quickly. By the time he was 14, he was playing gigs with his father on saxophone as well as all the ensembles in high school. After studying with saxophone greats Joe Viola and George Garzone at Berklee College of Music, he spent several years touring worldwide with the Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw Orchestras, the latter often with the late Roadhouse patriarch, trumpeter Lou Colombo. In 1984, he joined Buddy Rich and remained with the band as lead alto and featured soloist until Rich’s death in 1987.

Since then he has been a sought after full time musician throughout the northeast and abroad. Bob was an instructor at Berklee College of Music from 1987-91. He has a long list of credentials with a wide variety of musical groups including: Boston Pops, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Ben Vereen, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, British Rock Symphony, The Moody Blues, Rod Stewart, Sammy Davis, Jr., Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole and Barry Manilow. Bob has been featured with such noted jazz legends as Bobby Shew, Randy Brecker, Clark Terry and Nick Brignola.

Joe Bilardo

Joe Bilardo and Lou Colombo

Joe Bilardo and Lou Colombo at the Roadhouse Cafe Ft. Myers

Percussionist Joe Bilardo hails from of Cleveland OH. Some of his family members were the first musicians to perform on local radio.

Joe’s father Sam and Uncle Vince were active on the music scene in Cleveland and afforded to Joe many opportunities in music at an early age. He studied with Charlie Wilcox, Jim Chapin and Harvey Mason. Joe’s family background exposed him to a wide range of musical styles including classical, jazz, big band, bebop, funk and rock.

Through his family connections, Joe became familiar with great jazz musicians such as Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, Joe Howard, Ellie Frankel, Clyde McCoy, Ray Anthony, Count Basie, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Marilyn Maye and many more.

A typical weekend for the teenaged Joe Bilardo:  a big band show at Blossom Music center, Rock and Roll with one of Cleveland’s 60s hit-makers, Saturday playing James Brown-style Soul, and Sunday with the Polish Ballet on tympani.

Joe studied formally at Kent State and Cleveland State Universities in Ohio. His playing career took him to many venues in Ohio as well as Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, among others.

Currently in Ft. Myers, FL, Joe works as a free-lance drummer and also as a network specialist for Lee County FL public schools. He appears every Monday night at the Roadhouse Cafe Ft. Myers with the Joe Delaney Trio.

Joe Delaney at The Roadhouse Cafe!

joe-delaneyJoe Delaney, a gifted and highly original jazz pianist, appears frequently at The Roadhouse Cafe in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Listen to “Loro” composed by Egberto Gizmonti. 

Joe will be appearing with the Dan Miller Quartet beginning Octobe r2016. For reservations, please call 239-415-4375 or email us at

Listen to “It’s You or No One” composed by Jule Styne and Sammy Kahn. 

Joe Delaney was born in Brockton, Mass. and grew up in Whitman, just south of Boston. Joe’s father Ed Delaney was also a pianist. Joe started playing at age 3, learning by ear from records, family parties and his father’s band rehearsals. Joe says, “I picked it up and still play about 90% by ear.”

“Costa Rica” by Joe Delaney 

Joe started formal instruction and began performing in pubic at the age of 5. Joe says, “Once we started little kid tunes, I’d hear the teacher play it and put about 15 minutes into my lesson and just mimic it back.” He was soon spending hours a day learning popular tunes and George Shearing hits he heard during the band rehearsals.

“My Romance” by Rodgers and Hart 

Later, Joe studied briefly with Kurt Wenzel, Charlie Banocos, Kenny Barron and Berklee piano professor Paul Schmeling. During his formative years Joe absorbed the musical influences of George Shearing, Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, Sergio Mendes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bill Evans, Dave McKenna, Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock.

Dave McKenna, Joe Delaney,  Tony Bennett, unknown.

Dave McKenna, Joe Delaney, Tony Bennett, unknown. Bennett has long been associated with the Cape Cod area and is a fan of the Roadhouse Cafe Hyannis.

Joe first met the great Cape Cod jazz pianist Dave McKenna at the age of 12. They became life-long musical and personal friends. Joe says, “Even now there isn’t a time that I sit down to play solo piano that I don’t think of Dave.” McKenna said about Joe Delaney, “He gets better every time I hear him and he’s been around since he was barely a teenager.”

“Goodbye, Jobim” by Joe Delaney 

Delaney worked in the Boston and Cape Cod areas until 1981, when he moved to the US Virgin Islands, where he worked for most of the ’80s.

“Confirmation” by Charlie Parker 

From 1989-2009 Joe returned to New England, based in Cape Cod, mostly in Hyannis. He had a long association with reedman Dick Johnson, who led the Artie Shaw Orchestra during this period. Joe travelled with the Shaw Orchestra for six years, sometimes playing alongside trumpet great Lou Colombo. While not touring with the Shaw band or his own groups (on 5 continents), Delaney played extended residencies in virtually every live music venue on Cape Cod. He spent 7 years leading the house trio at the Black Cat Tavern at Hyannis Harbor, now owned and operated by David Colombo.

“Valse Africano” by Joe Delaney 

Joe has recorded many jazz albums and CDs both as leader and sideman, as well as commercial jingles (for Pepsi, Beck’s Beer, among others), and movie soundtracks (Mrs. Worthington’s Party). For his 2001 trio release, Take 1, Joe is accompanied by bassist Laird Boles and drummer Steve Langone.
Thanks, Joe, for giving us permission to post all the tracks here for us to enjoy!

“Joao” by Joe Delaney 

“Round Midnight” by Thelonius Monk 

“Joy and Sadness” by Joe Delaney 

“Joe’s Break” by Joe Delaney 

Our Jazz Heritage: Lou Colombo

Lou Colombo playing a pocket trumpet at the Roadhouse Cafe Florida.

Lou Colombo at the Roadhouse Cafe Florida.

Ed. note: On the night of March 3, 2012, Lou Colombo died in an auto accident on his way home from performing at the Roadhouse Cafe FL. The following is a message from lifelong friend and pianist Joe Delaney:

“Today marks one of the saddest days of my life. The untimely devastating loss of trumpeter, athlete, family man, entertainer and a man of great brilliance, compassion, humor and wit. Loved by all whom he touched. A great friend, brother, father figure, teacher, inspiration and role model of which I will forever aspire towards. And his many natural talents were a gift from God, however he understood the necessity of working on maintaining them on a daily basis through strength both physically, in is highly demanding work, and equally strength of character.

“As a reward for his tireless effort he was blessed by his loving adoring and supportive wife Noel and six wonderful children and many grandchildren. And artistically he passed at the top of his game as he was always improving from day one as it was his never ending quest. When it was time to be serious, he played not only with his natural attributes and abilities but more importantly directly from his heart. When a situation allowed for or even demanded his famous gift for clowning around and putting an entire audience at ease and in good spirit not only was he up for the challenge but one of the absolute best in the business. Very outgoing and fearless in public, however in order to create that a well balanced and required humble, forever inquisitive, ambitious and truly brilliant person with a great deal of sensitivity must also co-exist. He had it all and was touched by God.

“His love of family and his love of home life never stunted his growth as a true artist, from the perspective of the countless fellow artists who worshiped him my self included, but only served to enhance it. Lou always said he could get his best rest and was at peace when there was a half a dozen or more children running around, as opposed to a life on the road as a musician or athlete, that again supports his necessities to remain at the top his game, simply by virtue of having the ability and support to sustain everything that was important to him. And he was as famous for all these positive and admirable qualities by both the artist and non artist. That is a major achievement for any human being “to love and be loved in return”.

“Lou will be missed and never forgotten by those he has given years of pleasure to or just a fleeting hello. And his memory will be defined not only as gifted artist, but as a good and decent human being and family man. I know he’ll be rewarded in the after life to the same degree of effort he put into his Earthly life. And when the shock and despair begins to lift for his family, there will always remain the highest degree of pride for one of The Greatest Champions Of All Time!!!”

Lou Colombo was born and raised in Brockton, MA. He began playing the trumpet at age 12. Following two years in the service, he played professional baseball for about 7 years. A badly broken ankle forced him to retire from the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 24—bad for baseball, good for music! He then devoted his energy to music, playing trumpet full-time and periodic travels with big bands led by Benny Goodman, Buddy Morrow and Perez Prado.

Lou played jazz festivals throughout the US, Canada and Europe and appeared on jazz cruises with the Artie Shaw Orchestra (under the direction of Dick Johnson) on Norwegian Cruise Lines. He currently travels with the Shaw organization when his schedule permits.

Lou spends his winters in Florida with his daughters Sherri and Lynda. While in the Sunshine State, he performs on both coasts. You can catch a live performance by Lou and the players at The Roadhouse Cafe in Ft. Myers this coming January. Check our Facebook page for dates and times, and while you’re there, please “like” our page..

One of Lou’s best-known CDs on the Concord label is I Remember Bobby from 1990, which also features pianist Dave McKenna, bassist Phil Flanigan and guitarist Gray Sergeant. The CD is a tribute to a close friend and fellow Cape Codder, the great jazz cornetist Bobby Hackett. Other CDs feature Lou with the late Cape Cod reedman Dick Johnson and the Artie Shaw Orchestra.

Here is Dizzy Gillespie’s comment on Lou Colombo, from a radio interview with Eric Jackson on WGBH in1988:

“Lou Colombo is what I would call a trumpet painter, he resolves. He starts playing and the notes keep going, but the chord keeps changing all the time. He’s a marvelous trumpet player. I went one night to hear him play. Boy, he asked me to play with him and I said ‘No—you got it, brother!’ I’m not going to jump into that hot water…Lou’s pretty weird the way he plays because he plays with just one hand. He plays the valves with his right hand but doesn’t hold the horn with his left hand. This guy’s amazing. I’ve been preaching his name ever since that night I first heard him down on Cape Cod. Lou’s a beautiful player. One of the characteristics of his playing is his tone, his sound, it’s gorgeous.”

Read about Lou Colombo in the Cape Cod Times.

Watch a video of Lou performing at the Roadhouse Cafe Ft. Myers.

Something Old, Something New

[Ed. note: this item is contributed by Steve McKenna, son of the late Cape Cod-based pianist Dave McKenna, who performed often with Lou Colombo and appeared at the Roadhouse Cafe Hyannis.]


Joe Venuti and Dave McKenna Alone at the Palace

Joe Venuti and Dave McKenna Alone at the Palace

Joe Venuti and Dave McKenna – Alone at the Palace
Recorded 1977 Chiaroscuro Records

One of my favorite records, this is a duo record with Dad and the late, great Jazz violinist Joe Venuti (Giuseppe Venuti).  It would be hard to find someone who could swing harder on any instrument than Joe on violin, and I have heard on more than one occasion from musicians that this is some of the best Dave McKenna on record.

Joe claimed to have been born aboard a ship as his parents emigrated from Italy, but it is widely believed he was born in Philadelphia. Joe was one of Jazz’s real characters and a legendary practical joker. An often told story about Joe is the time in Hollywood, CA when he went through the union book and called called 26 (or was it 46?) tuba players and told them he had a gig for them and to meet (at the same time) at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. He then watched from his hotel window as chaos and confusion soon developed on the street below as the tuba players showed up with their instruments.

As a young teen I had the privilege to play golf with Joe, the great trumpet player Lou Colombo and Lou’s son Tommy at the Bass River Golf Course on Cape Cod. Joe had no shoes to play golf in so he was taken to a Department store where he bought a pair of the ugliest red and black sneakers I had/have ever seen. They were like the old low cut converse Chuck Taylors but with a red and black shape design that only could have been sold in the ’70s…Chuck Taylor meets Andy Warhol on Joe Venuti’s feet…and if you have ever seen what Joe Venuti looked like you would understand the sneakers were just the beginning of sensory overload. I don’t remember many details of the golf but I do remember Joe did most of the talking, providing nonstop colorful commentary while Lou Colombo laughed hysterically throughout (for those of you that have not met Lou he has a world class, Hall of Fame laugh).

Joe took the McKenna family out for an Italian meal one evening on the Cape. Now we are with Giuseppe Venuti at an Italian restaurant and Giuseppe Venuti does not order from the menu. Without even looking at the menu he has the chef come out and, after several minutes of intensely hilarious discussion and consultation, the courses of food are ordered to be prepared by the chef as agreed upon by he and Giuseppe Venuti. I was too young to really appreciate the meal but I could tell that Mom, Dad and Joe were having one helluva good time.

This is a wonderful album that I think you will have one helluva good time listening to it.


Frank Tate
Live in Belfast
Recorded November 1996
Released Vol.1 (2001) and Vol. 2 (2011) Nagel Heyer Records
Harry Allen (Saxophone) – Howard Alden (guitar) – Frank Tate (bass) – Dave McKenna (piano)- Butch Miles (drums)
Available, iTunes, Nagel Heyer Records web site, etc.

One of my first Frank Tate experiences was when Frank drove us from the Cape to Boston for a Red Sox game (Dad as most of you know never had a driver’s license). In the back seat of Frank’s car were binoculars with the name tag Frank “Far Out” Tate (written I found out later by his girlfriend at the time). From that day forward my brother Doug and I referred to our wonderful friend as Frank “Far Out” Tate. It was Frank who took us to see the movie Star Wars when it first came out. Thanks Frank!

Frank Tate, of course, is a great bass player and was a big part of the Columns years on Cape Cod. From 1970 to 1976, the Columns Restaurant, owned and operated by Warren Maddows, was the place on Cape Cod for jazz—a magical place, particularly in the summer when the musicians played in a big tent and vacationing celebrities would come to dig the music. It was where you could go to hear Joe Venuti, Zoot Sims, Bobby Hackett, Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson, Dick Johnson, Lou Colombo, Bob Wilber, Kenny Davern, Tony Bennett…and the house piano player, Dave McKenna. Frank for some time was the house bass player. During a Dave McKenna tribute many years ago celebrating Dad’s 50 years in the music business Frank gave a wonderful speech on how some musicians attended schools like Berklee and Julliard but Frank’s musical education was playing those summers at The Columns with Dave McKenna. It was a wonderful thing to say, “Far Out” in the best possible way, just like our friend Frank Tate.

These albums are tremendous, straight ahead, swinging Jazz recorded live at The Guinness Spot, Belfast, Ireland on November 7 & 8, 1996. Harry Allen to me incorporates some of the best qualities of Zoot Sims and Stan Getz into a sound uniquely his own (and he’s from Rhode Island, of course, just like Dad) and the rhythm section is impossibly solid. Dad and Howard sound so good together it makes me wish they had recorded together more. Dad takes a solo turn on Vol.1 playing  “Chinatown, My Chinatown,” and on vol.2 his solo is an absolutely gorgeous “Life is Better” (highly recommended). Vol. 2 also contains a rarity for Dad, a very special piano/bass duet with Frank on “September Song.” I could be wrong, but I think it may be the only Dave McKenna piano/bass duet on record. Right now Vol. 2 is only available to be downloaded and not available on CD. The sound quality on both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 is exceptional.  I am listening to Vol. 2 as I write this and I can tell you first hand it goes very well with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, but since it was recorded in Belfast I am sure a pint of Guinness will work just as well. Slainte!

Last, but not least, a Dave McKenna link:

I hope you enjoyed this little newsletter about my Dad, pianist Dave McKenna (May 30, 1930 – October 18, 2008). This is kind of a trial run and I am open to suggestions on how I can do a better job. I plan to do this on a semi-regular quarterly basis (whatever that means).  Pictures,  memories and stories to share are welcome!

Thank you and thanks always for listening,

Steve McKenna
PO Box 357
State College, PA 16868

Danny Sinoff

Danny Sinoff

Danny Sinoff

Danny Sinoff was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Naples, FL. He studied classical piano since the age of two. At 17, Danny discovered jazz, to which he applied his classical technique and creative energy, later developing his own personal jazz vocal style.

After graduation from Barron Collier High School, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston pursuing a degree in Piano Performance and Music Technology. After a year, Danny decided to return to Naples, where he gained invaluable experience working with professional musicians.

Danny’s musical influences include Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Barron, Brad Mehldau, Benny Green, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Sarah Vaughan, Wynton Kelly, Harry Connick, Jr. and especially Frank Sinatra. He has performed with David “Fathead” Newman, Jimmy McGriff and The Brubeck Brothers Quartet.

Beginning in 2006, Danny’s quartet was the headliner act at Ellington’s Jazz Club on Sanibel Island, FL. His 2007 CD release for Ellington’s featured Fathead Newman and trumpeter Dan Miller.

Danny has appeared at the Apollo Theater in New York City and at the Syracuse Jazz Festival.

Sinoff led a trio and quartet at Ellington’s until 2010, when he joined us at The Roadhouse Cafe. The Danny Sinoff Trio at the Roadhouse includes Philadelphia veteran Tony Vigilante on drums (Saturdays) and Patricia Dean on drums (Wednesdays).