Mari Mennel-Bell, JazzSLAM's Educator/pianist and
The History of JazzSLAM

Mari Mennel-Bell holds a dual Masters degree in Elementary Education (K-6) and Music Education (K-12) from New York University and a Masters degree in Social Work from Adelphi University.

-While living in New York City she played in bands and solo piano at Boss Restaurant and the Gramercy Hotel. She worked for The Children's Television Workshop as a researcher and as an independent consultant on "Using Music to Teach Reading". She worked at P.S. 1 in the South Bronx in a Title 1 program designed to use music and lyric writing to motivate students with low reading scores. In New Paltz, NY she was a clinical social worker at The Child & Family Guidance Center.

-Mari relocated to Fort Lauderdale in 1998, where she created the experiential, hands-on program, JazzSLAM (Jazz Supports Language Arts & Math) which teaches academic skills through parallel skills inherent in music. JazzSLAM has been offered to over 70,000 students in both public and private schools. JazzSLAM's in-school South Florida presentations are a part of The Gold Coast Jazz Society. The JazzSLAM 3-session national eLearning programs are a part of the CILC.org platform and now part of the Jazz Education Network JEN, Jazzednet.org live outreach programs.

-Mari is a board member of HAGS (Hot Alligator Gumbo Society) and Friends of Birch State Park in Broward County.

-Mari works extensively in SOFL as a solo pianist, in duos, trios and as a quartet leader. She plays weekly gigs at Village Music in Wellington FL and gigs with Jazz on J St in Lake Worth, FL. Mari's swing jazz quintet has performed many times at the Peck Courtyard of the Broward Center for Performing Arts as part of the JM Lexus Riverwalk Jazz Brunch and Miami?s historic Olympia Theater's ?Jazz in the Lobby? series. Oct- April she plays keyboards T-Th with the Beachcombers on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. She has performed at the Lake Worth 2020 Street Festival and in concert with Women in Jazz South Florida.

-As an educator Mari has offered clinics for JEN (Jazz Education Network) in New Orleans and San Diego. In 2018 she offered a poster presentation at NAfME in Dallas and has given many clinics for FAAE (Florida Alliance for Arts Education). In 2017, she was a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer School in New Orleans. She has received 2014-2020 Herb Alpert Foundation grants from JEN (Jazz Education Network).

-Mari has offered JazzSLAM interactive webinars through jazzednet.org and interactive eLearning sessions through CILC.org. The newly created JazzSLAM prerecorded presentation will be available nationwide in the fall of 2020 through jazzednet.org.

-Mari brings a unique combination of skills and perspectives to educational and performance arenas.

JazzSLAM's Newest Bass Player

Senegal Apostolo is our newest JazzSLAM team member, replacing the great Don Mosely. Senegal has been fueled by the power of music his whole life. A graduate of Florida International University's music school, he has experience playing Jazz, Funk, Reggae, Pop, Neo-Soul and various ofther genres. Senegal is an established player on the South Florida live music scene, gigging frequently throughout venues in Miami, Broward and Palm Beach County. His musical abilities have led him to play with many notable artists, as well as in locations such as New York and Suriname, where he performed as a headliner in the 2014 Suriname Jazz Festival. He also played in the 2017 Miami Jazz Festival. Senegal loves sharing his passion for music with his students and believes that music is the one true way to find yourself and know your heart.

JazzSLAM's Guitarist/Lead Vocalist

Bill Coleman brings super talents and a sense of fun and gracious southern hospitality to the JazzSLAM group! While living in Kentucky, Bill often gave jazz presentations in schools, and enjoys working with our students. Bill returned to South Florida in 1997 and began performing at the Chesterfield Hotel in Palm Beach where he is still today. Bill also currently performs at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton. He can also be seen with a variety of bands in the area such as "The Kelly Twins Duo", "The Party Dogs Band" and "Fifth Avenue Party Band". Bill has taught guitar to groups of 30 elementary school students at Citrus Cove Elementary in Boynton Beach and Golden Grove Elementary in West Palm Beach, Florida.

JazzSLAM's Drummer

Orlando Machado completes our intergenerational, multicultural JazzSLAM quartet. Born in Santa Clara, Cuba and raised in Miami,Florida, Orlando's percussive talents became apparent at an early age while playing rhythms on pots and pans. His parents bought him his first drum kit by the age of seven, and he expanded his new-found talent at such prestigious music schools as PAVAC (Performing and Visual Arts Center), and New World School of the Arts. He also received full music scholarships at Miami Dade Community College and Florida International University. Soon after his debut as a professional drummer, he was asked to perform in various world-wide music festivals. In addition to his constant freelance work in the South Florida area, Orlando has worked with such esteemed international artists as Francisco Cespedes,Two Live Crew, Sammy Figeroa, Thalia, Mongo Santamaria,Jr, Jose Luis Rodriguez (El Puma), John Davidson, Cachao, Enrique Chia, Foxy, Raul Di Blasio, Tito Punte Jr.,The Platters, Julio Sabala, Sophie, The Drifters, Mirta Medina, Marcelino Valdes, Warner Brothers Television, Flor DeLoto, Vanessa Formell. His work has been displayed in national jingles, television spots and films. He currently runs his own full production recording studio Big O Productions, where he tracks live sessions, produces, arranges, and mixes demos and songs for artists. His charisma, awesome feel, and fun-loving personality make him a great addition to the JazzSLAM quartet! See Orlando at www.soundofvision.com

JazzSLAM's Volunteer

Lois Saint Surin came to us through Gold Coast Jazz Society after her retirement from IBM. She has offered her technological expertise through organizing our teacher evaluation forms and demographic forms into easily readable spreadsheets, helping with our SEAS bookings, and most recently revamping our website. Thank you, Lois, for donating so much of your valuable time and expertise to JazzSLAM!