NEW VIDEO!!! Jo Sallins does African Drumming and Dance Celebration

Jo Sallins (drums) & Elisabeth Olivera (dance)

High School of Science and Technology

Springfield MA, January 17 2014







La’ Jaz Productions

Multi- Service Music Organization


Jo Sallins CEO


Master Musician  ♦  Educator  ♦  World Traveler


Keeping the Art of Music Alive!








(413) 262-2950







Jo’s Story


Jo Sallins age 3


Dear Friends,


“Life is a journey not a destination.”

-   Ralph Waldo Emerson



         Everybody has a story and as long as human beings exist there will be stories to tell. In my short lifetime on this planet, I’ve heard many people’s stories and they always fall into one, if not all, of these categories; the good, the bad and the ugly. My story is one of those that can take all three categories! So, here is my story, my journey, where I am learning to expect nothing and embrace everything.          


         My life was pure, playful and fun until I was 8 years old. Then I became quite aware of my family’s ‘dysfunction’ except back then we perceived it as normal and classified the dysfunctional moments as simply ‘family embarrassments’. My sisters and I grew up with alcoholism in our household along with all of its violent symptoms. The intense arguing, especially around the holidays, and the fighting and verbal abuse we witnessed are examples of the moments that created my childhood home life. The tension that was created eventually tore our family apart. To add insult to injury was my degrading school experiences! I was called weird and suffered with low self esteem, I fought with my peers and struggled with boredom which led to frustration, low grades and then finally dropping out of school. Adulthood brought new challenges for a person coming from a childhood void of healthy relationship models including countless break-ups, one failed marriage and estranged relationships with my only son and his mom. This past year I reconnected with my only son as he began to work on his own musical career.  The time spent together working on music and living in the same space was proof that although life can be difficult without a proper foundation, and clearly my experience shows that, life is truly what you make it. At some point we all have to take responsibility for our own actions and thoughts. It is written that we are the sum of our life experiences and the last time I checked I’m still alive, which means I can make a choice to grow in any direction that I so choose. “Life is 30% what happens and 70% how you handle it”          


         It is clear by reading this part of my story that I have made some unwise choices but it will also be clear by reading the next part or viewing this entire website that I’ve also made better choices.


“When I cease to create, I cease to exist”

-   Author unknown


Since I was 8 years old I’ve always loved listening to music and dancing. My imitation of James Brown was flawless. Throughout the years my love of music has become so intense that I can’t stop thinking about it, practicing it, recording it, performing it, creating it, teaching it, selling it, giving it, dreaming it and BEING it!     Why? That’s like asking why does a bird fly? It’s in their nature. Music is my nature. When I’m happy, I play. When I’m sad, I play even more. Growing up in my household, music was my refuge. It gave me a place and a purpose. These days my esteem is improved and still improving. My body and mind are healthy and strong. Like attracts like, so I’m always working with and meeting very talented people. I’m living and maintaining the life that I, with the help of others created. I want my example of taking responsibility and making choices to inspire others to aspire to reach their full potential. Each day is filled with possibilities and choices.


Be wise my friends!



Jo Sallins










Jo Sallins a.k.a. Mr. Cool






Music can and does make a difference!  Jo Sallins began playing drums in grade school at the age of 9.  Jo credits his first drumming instructor and mentor with the positive direction his life has taken.  Drumming focused Jo and gave him the purpose, commitment and dedication necessary to succeed in all his endeavors. These skills are not unique to the study of music, but rather to your success in every area of life.   


•   PATIENCE: Find your talent. Everyone is an artist and everyone has talent.   

•   PRACTICE:  Perfect your talent!   



Jo’s philosophy – Give away your talent.  Share your joy and talent.  Encourage and support others to find their talent, whatever that may be.  Jo named one of his first CD’s “Ripple Effect, providing a visual image of how music has affected his life.   Jo’s initial mentor and teacher was the drop of water that changed the surface and created rings moving outward connecting Jo to new musicians and people and positive experiences.


“The good things in my life have come as a result of following my dreams as a musician!  Thank you for allowing me to perform for and with you.”

– Jo Sallins




•   37 years of musical performing experience with a variety of musicians.   


•   Toured internationally in Asia, Singapore, Canada and Senegal, West Africa   


•   Toured the US.    


•   Last 17 years Joe has been performing arts in education programs with Tony Vacca, “World Rhythms.”   


•   20 years ago Jo formed a trio for Performing Arts in Education Programming. Programs offered are concert assemblies, student and faculty workshops and professional development.   

•   Massachusetts Cultural Council Events & Residency Roster teaching member.   


•   New England Foundation for the Arts Touring Roster teaching member.         


•   Member of BOCES Arts Organization for upstate New York.





•   17 years private orchestral drumming studies with Jim Calapaletis.   


•   10 years private studies with Billy Arnold on jazz & funk drumming.   


•   9 years private studies of Latin and African Drumming with Alvin Carter & Marshall Small.   


•   Bass–self taught.   


•   Piano–self taught.





•   Performer at the 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival with a crowd of over 10,000 people!


•   Appearance at the Jazz Club Yoshi’s in San Francisco in 2008


•   Headliner for the Hoop City Jazz and Arts Festival 2007 Received the 2007


•   Brother Rick Award in recognition of his dedication, presentation and advancement of Jazz culture in Springfield, Massachusetts.


•   Performed With: Alvin Ailey, Frank Hatchett, Vishu Wood, Tony Vacca’s World Rhythms™, Dan Akroyd, Matt “Guitar” Murphy of the Blue Brothers (1 year), Dan Akroyd (1 show) Doug Johns, Stanley Clarke, Stanley Jordan, Gerald Albright, Ed Vadas, Michael Gregory, David Newman, Ellis Hall and Gokh-bi System, Marvin “Smitty” Smith –Drummer for “The Tonight Show” band, Stanley Clarke – Bassist from Chick Corea’s RTF Ensemble


•   Opened For: Mongo Santamaria, Yusso N’dour, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells with Ed Vadas and the Fabulous Heavyweights, Al B. Sure, Kool and the Gang, Chaka Khan, Baaba Maal and Najee, Gerald Albright, and Stanley Jordan Major Creative Influences: Jo met Chick Corea, the major influence on his performing style as a keyboard player. Jo had the opportunity to give Chick Corea a song that he had composed for him, “Epic Mind” from Jo’s CD “Ripple Effect.”  



Recording credits as Executive Producer, Writer and Music Arranger for:


•   Gear Up Rappers

•   Gokh-Bi Systems

•   Guy-Michael Grande

•   Heshima Moja

•   Jo Sallins (Solo)

•   Jo Sallins Band

•   Jo Sallins & Friends

•   Mr. “Papa ” C

•   New Star Band

•   Sallins/Marshall Project

•   Steven Santoro

•   Tony Vacca










Jo Sallins (middle)

For those who do not believe I’ve been in the business for a long time... check out this photo from my New Star days! Circa 1980 in Singapore




1959 - William Joseph Sallins Jr. (Joe) is born to William Sr. and Lillie R Sallins. The family lived in the Reed Village neighborhood of Springfield, MA.


1969 - Ten-year old Joe opens up a Kool and The Gang concert with a solo drum performance. Joe received his first real press for this show when the Springfield Union News ran a feature about his involvement.


1971 - Joe joined his first band, The Desatations. Teamed with bassist Jeffrey Smith, the two became dubbed “The Dynamic Duo”. Joe and company play many regional gigs and were selected to open up for Kool and the Gang, The Delphonics and The Main Ingredient in Springfield, MA.


1972 - Marshall Small, musical director of the Uhuru Drummers, overheard Joe woodshedding and ask him to join the African Percussion Ensemble for the Frank Hatchett School of Performing Arts as a percussionist. This began a nine year affiliation that allowed Joe the opportunity to begin a serious study of hand drums and other percussion instruments.


1973 - Joe began to study jazz drumming with Springfield legend Billy Arnold. He then spent the year traveling and performing with his teacher in the jazz ensemble entitled Collaboration. The highlight that year was when Joe had the opportunity to meet and play with Mongo Santa Maria.


1974 - Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke perform with Return to Forever at Springfield’s Paramount Theater. This performance inspired Jo to begin his study of piano and piccolo bass.


1978 - As a drummer, Joe joined the band, Matt “Guitar” Murphy.  The band toured extensively in the US. Joe’s long time friend, Rick Marshall, took over as drummer as Joe took the role of Bass player for the band.


1982 - Joe formed the band New Star. After just two years band members went from making $15.  A gig to grossing as much as $100,000 a year! This experience also offered Joe the opportunity to go on an international tour and continue touring for the following 8 years.


1990 - In order to perform his own, original material, Joe left New Star. He then worked on the Sallins/Marshall  Project with friend Rick Marshall, releasing the record Land of Dreams. This album was both well received both commercially and critically. It was named album of the year by the Springfield Union News.


1992 - Stanley Clarke, another one of Joe’s great musical influences, was Introduced to him by a friend.  This meeting gave Joe the opportunity to share his music, written for and inspired by Mr. Clark.


1993 - Joe produced a 60min film about his musical career. Entitled The Man, The Music, TheMessage, the film is debuted at Theodor’s, a local venue, and gains considerable exposure on various cable access stations.


1994 - Chick Corea, one of the musicians who most influenced the playing and style of Jo Sallins played at the Iron Horse in Northampton MA. Joe got the unique opportunity to meet him and share his work.


1996 - Entitled, M.A.P. (Music Appreciation Program), Joe began his own school program. This program allowed Joe to begin sharing his love of music with children both in his local community and far away.


1997 - Joe released Side Effects of Jazz with Rick Marshall, Eric Holden, Chuck Langford, and Joe Green. The recording sold well and received rave reviews in several publications. A short tour followed the release.


1998 - This was a busy year! A two week tour of Senegal, West Africa with Tony Vacca’s Rhthm Mission, the release of “Ripple Effect, Part I, II, and III” (double CD), and and East Coast School Programs Tour of over 300 performances with PAGE 1: HOME cont’d over 30,000 students!


2001- 2009 - Produced 9 recordings and two full length DVD’s, tours from the Midwest to the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2007 with Senegalese Hip Hop group Gokh bi system.


Currently - Studying solo piano, bass and drums and working on several projects for school programs.














Jo Sallins




Artist Title Year Label
The Sallins/Marshall Project Land of Dreams 1990 DFO-1 Cassette
Jo Sallins-Master of the Piccolo Bass Tradition 1992 JAZ-02 Cassette
Jo Sallins Anthology of Virtuoso 1992 JAZ-03 Cassette
The Sallins/Marshall Project Statement to the World 1992 JAZ-04 Cassette
Documentary on Jo Sallins The Man, The Music, The Message 1993 JAZ-001 VHS
Jo Sallins & Friends  Side Effects of Jazz, Volume I 1997 JAZ-05  Cassette
Jo Sallins  Ripple Effect, Parts I,II, III 1998 JAZ-06 Double CD
Jo Sallins The Gold Collection, Volume I 2001 JAZ-07  CD
Jo Sallins & Friends  Danse of Celebration 2002 JAZ-08  CD
Jo Sallins Band  The Experience/Studio Live 2003 JAZ-09  CD
Jo Sallins Bass in Ya Face 2004 JAZ-10  CD
Jo Sallins Phat Jams 2005 JAZ-11  CD
Jo Sallins Mr. Cool/The Present 2006 JAZ-12 CD-DVD