Home » Member Page

Sunshine Jazz Organization

The Sunshine Jazz Organization has been promoting and loving Jazz since 1986!

About Me

The Sunshine Jazz Organization, based in Miami, Florida, is committed to the idea that the measure of a society can be found in its culture. Music is of the utmost importance in the continual growth and advancement of our community, and for our position as a cultural leader in the U.S. and the Americas. In the Greater Miami area we boast world-class jazz musicians on every instrument and variety of vocal style. Our entire team is committed to proliferating public performances by these great jazz artists, and furthering education and awareness of Jazz. We invite you to enjoy most events free or at a nominal charge, and hope you will continue to go out and support live performance, allowing us to continue to provide exciting live jazz in concert venues, schools, parks & public spaces, and local nightspots.

CHINA VALLES, SJO Founding President Nicknamed by Duke Ellington himself, “The Mahj” (short for Maharajah, Purveyor of Swirls) the veteran Jazz DJ and one of America's leading authorities on Jazz, chuckles “Music is my love; it's my life.” Valles began his musical career as the road manager for saxophonist “Illinois” Jacquet in the 50's and has met and interviewed musical giants such as Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, and Frank Sinatra. China Valles arrived in South Florida in 1962 to head an upstart Jazz radio station in (now historic) Overtown, and passionately graced the airwaves including WBUS, WTMI & WDNA continuously until just a few of years ago. With his gruff voice full of whimsy and charm, China Valles is a well-worn local treasure.

China has a treasure trove of stories from his “been there” Jazz history book, like the following, quoted upon the passing of Symphony Sid Torin: “Sid was like a grandfather of Jazz radio,” said China Valles, host of WTMI's all-night jazz show. ”He was my idol, my hero. His show is what inspired me to be a jazz disc jockey.” Valles, who first heard Symphony Sid in the late 40's, said he copied Torin's relaxed, cool style...and tried to return the favor in 1974, when he gave Torin the weekend nights disc jockey job at Miami's WBUS, an all-jazz station.

“I'd go pick him up at midnight after his show and I'd take him over to The Forge or somewhere and we'd sit all night while he told me stories about Charlie Parker and all the greats,” Valles said.

You can add your support to the Sunshine Jazz Organization by becoming a member. We welcome the opportunity to serve you! Send an email with your name and mailing address to SJO Executive Director, Thelma Valles, to [email protected] or [email protected] Become a member of SJO with your annual contribution of ($25 student/musician, $40 individual, $50 family of 2) or more and receive your copy of THE SUNSHINE JAZZ MESSENGER, the official SJO newsletter since 1986. Published bi-monthly, the newsletter informs members of artistic and political views regarding the evolution of jazz music, provides reviews of concerts and artists, and contains an extensive jazz calendar of events and jazz festivals throughout Florida, plus profiles of local and nationally known jazz artists. JOIN OUR COMMUNITY OF JAZZ ENTHUSIASTS & SUPPORT LIVE JAZZ!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.