Bio's Of Les DeMerle & Bonnie Eisele Les DeMerle Les DeMerle, world-renowned drummer, bandleader, clinician and author was born in Brooklyn, New York. He began playing drums at age 11, launched onto the New York jazz scene with his own all-star jazz group and performed with jazz vibes great, Lionel Hampton, all before age 17! Soon after, Les toured for 12 years with big band jazz trumpet master, Harry James, and recorded 3 albums with him including the Grammy Award-winning, King James Version. Always enterprising in nature, Les, as usual, had 'all pots on the stove and COOKIN' ' during this period when he moved to Los Angeles. As a clinician, he appeared in most major music stores in the USA and Europe. As a club owner, bandleader, jazz innovator and teacher, Les owned and operated The Cellar Theater/Creative Music Workshop. Featured artists in his nightclub included not only Les' own cutting-edge jazz/rock/fusion band, Transfusion, with whom he recorded 5 award-winning LP's, but also showcased world-renowned jazz stars such as Chick Corea, Al Jarreau and Freddie Hubbard. As an author, Les wrote two best-selling educational drum books, Jazz/Rock Fusion, Volumes I and II, published by Hal Leonard. With his most recent educational release, a two-part drum video, Rock/Fusion Drum Applications Parts I and II, Les continues to impart his knowledge to drummers everywhere through his videos and teaching in private lessons and drum clinics whenever his schedule permits. In his diverse musical career, Les DeMerle has performed with many world-class acts. Les toured for three years and recorded with Las Vegas star, Wayne Newton, also toured and recorded with the multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz vocal group, The Manhattan Transfer, and has appeared with many other musical greats including Lou Rawls, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé and Joe Williams. Mr. DeMerle has been a resident of Amelia Island since the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island resort in 1991 when he was invited by the hotel to move to the area to become the 'house' orchestra leader. For an unprecedented ten years, Les and his talented wife, featured vocalist, Bonnie Eisele, entertained nightly in the Lobby Lounge, as a trio or a quartet, expanding their ensemble in varying sizes up to the Dynamic 17 Piece Les DeMerle Big Band Orchestra to entertain at many hotel functions, private parties and corporate events at that venue and various others. In addition, Les has taken a very active part in contributing to the north Florida jazz scene by playing at many events which include offering his 17 Piece Big Band to play at a concert benefiting Amelia Island's Fernandina Beach High School Band, performing at several drum clinics in Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville, Florida, producing and playing at the Big Band Bash Dance/Concert series (in conjunction with the Ritz- Carlton), producing and playing at his local Jazz In The Garden series, many appearances with his various-sized orchestras at The Jacksonville Jazz Festivals, performing at many Isle Of Eight Flags Shrimp Festivals and at Universal Studios, Orlando's prestigious jazz venue, City Jazz in addition to many other venues locally and throughout the southeast. Recently, Les has taken his quartet featuring Bonnie Eisele aboard various cruise ships to entertain for a very appreciative seafaring audience with his unique style of dynamic jazz. Despite his busy performance schedule, Les DeMerle felt that 'something was lacking' for him on Amelia Island. That feeling was his inspiration to bring together and share with everyone what he loves most: world-class jazz and Amelia Island in the form of The Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival that he produced with Bonnie Eisele in 2001 and 2002. Now, this world-class drummer and his various-sized bands are entertaining at private parties, corporate events, jazz festivals, clubs and concerts all across the southeast and anywhere the music takes them. Les DeMerle is the best all-around drummer I've ever had, and that's saying a lot when you remember that (drum virtuosos) like Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson manned that post (before him). -Harry James, world-famous trumpeter and orchestra leader Someone who has lived so much of our modern music and experienced every detail of the music business is a wealth of knowledge. DeMerle is no exception. His brilliant creativity is only equaled by his enthusiasm and professional longevity...It's not often you can get this close to a creative genius and a living legend. Les DeMerle is both, and a giant credit to the world of percussion. -Ken Austin, former President of Pearl Drums Corporation. Bonnie Eisele Bonnie Eisele, featured vocalist with the Les DeMerle Band, is a native of Chicago, Illinois. Growing up in suburban Naperville, Bonnie was involved in music, performing and producing from the beginning. At age 7, along with her mother and 10-year-old sister, Bonnie co-produced and performed in a neighborhood talent show, which donated hundreds of dollars to benefit the construction of a sorely needed addition to the local hospital. Throughout her teens she sang in church and school choirs and starred in many school and community theater productions of dramatic and musical plays. Ms. Eisele's interest in these arts continued at the University of Illinois where she studied music and voice and continued to star in musical plays in the University Theater as a sideline to her major in speech/speech therapy. After graduation and a short time teaching drama at an Illinois high school, Bonnie toured the U.S. and Europe with an original musical theater and dance group, funded by The Illinois Arts Council and The National Endowment For The Arts, The Chicago Free Street Theater. Ms. Eisele continued her career in music as vice president and sales representative of a Chicago jingle company and sang on many local and national 'spots' such as United Airlines, KFC and Hallmark Greeting Cards. Bonnie's diverse performing experience also includes singing at many Chicago nightclubs and private parties as well as musical shows at The Chicago Playboy Club, Chicagofest, Drury lane Theater, Miami's Fontainebleau Resort and a year-long Rotary Foundation Graduate Fellowship studying music and dance in Brazil. As if all the above were not enough to fill a lifetime with rewarding work in the arts, as fate would have it, Bonnie met Les DeMerle in Chicagoland. As soon as they hit the stage together, the fireworks began! Bonnie immediately became a permanent partner in the Les DeMerle Band and The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band Featuring Bonnie Eisele was soon to play return engagements in and around Chicago, southwest Florida, Caesar's Atlantic City, and the Westin Plaza Hotel Singapore. During this time, while entertaining at an extended engagement on Captiva Island Florida, they were wed. Then Bonnie and Les entertained for three consecutive winter seasons at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida when they were invited to move to Amelia Island to be the core of the 'house orchestra' at the soon-to-open Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Always dreaming of living on an island in the tropics, and 'making beautiful music' there with her husband, Bonnie Eisele feels as if she has found 'the end of the rainbow' on Amelia Island, Florida. Here, she and Les, together, have been blessed with the incredible opportunity to make Amelia Island their 'home base' and to make a living making music at various venues playing at many private parties, festivals and concerts in the southeast, across the US, abroad, aboard cruise ships (see Les DeMerle bio. Above) and recording six top-notch CD's, Jazz Party (Music Unlimited Productions), Havin' A Ball (Music Unlimited Productions), You're The Bop! (Summit Records), Hittin' The Blue Notes, Volumes 1 & 2(Origin Records), and their most recent CD, The Jazz Spirit Of Christmas (Origin Records). The Les DeMerle Band Kickin' Quotes * On A Roll.... Onstage, Eisele and DeMerle are a hot combination. Her powerful voice and natural feel for rhythm come across in an explosive stage performance. His energy is absolutely contagious. -Florida Times-Union * With Les DeMerle's dynamic playing this band is destined to make it's mark in the history of great music. -Louie Bellson World-renowned jazz drummer * The Les DeMerle Band A Must For Music Lovers.... Professional music critics use adjectives like 'impressive' and 'powerful' to describe the intensity of The Les DeMerle Band featuring Bonnie Eisele. Regular people use words like 'hot' and 'excellent'. -Florida Reporter * Led by Les DeMerle's dynamic drumming, his band swings hard with tight arrangements featuring superior soloists. Bonnie Eisele is a show unto herself and becomes the powerful centerpiece of this exciting act adding just the right touch to this exciting presentation. -John McDonough Downbeat Magazine * I strongly recommend catching the Dynamic Les DeMerle Band Featuring Bonnie Eisele. They are truly a class act! -Wayne Newton Las Vegas Superstar * Upbeat from the first downbeat, Les DeMerle and his partner (and wife) Bonnie Eisele put on a performance that would rival what is offered by the best jazz clubs in New York. -Island Weekend * Travolta, two thumbs up... With Bonnie Eisele's Brazilian vocals, The Les DeMerle Band's samba groove was so contagious that I just couldn't resist dancing and came back for more. This band really cooks! -John Travolta * The Les DeMerle Orchestra is a powerhouse ensemble that played The Manhattan Transfer New Year's Eve Millennium show with incredible fire and energy. With his dynamic stage presence and Bonnie's great vocals, this is a really hard act to follow. -Tim Hauser The Manhattan Transfer.