Born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island, renowned jazz clarinetist Steve Simon continues to follow his passion for performing live all over the world while at the same time dedicating himself to supporting the genre of jazz and jazz musicians as the co-producer of the Charleston Jazz Festival, the producer of the Jazz in the Joint concert series, the producer of the Jazz in the Moonlight concert series, a volunteer concert producer for Armed Forces Entertainment and our State Department, the former Vice-Chairman of the Board of Charleston Jazz and a former commissioner on the City of Charleston's Commission on the Arts.
In his "spare" time, Steve has also founded and built four national and international businesses in both the automotive and insurance financial services industries.
For over 25 years Steve Simon and his bands, The Kings of Jazz and The Jazz Islanders, have entertained weekly standing room only audiences in downtown Charleston South Carolina and on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each and every week Steve's bands have attracted some of the best jazz musicians from around the country in what has become his signature jazz show honoring the Great American Song Book.
This year Steve and his artist wife Lynn have made Brevard North Carolina their new home and The Kings of Jazz have become the hottest jazz band in the coolest city inspiring audiences in and around Brevard with their funky, soulful, exhilarating and amazingly charismatic shows.
Keyboards & vocals
Kevin Sanders was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and now calls western North Carolina home. Starting at the age of eight, he studied classical piano for over ten years. Always a big fan of jazz standards, Kevin received his formal jazz training at the Nashville Jazz Workshop which led to performances throughout the southeast at festivals, concerts, showcases and studio sessions. Some of Kevin's musical influences include Herbie Hancock, Gene Harris, Bruce Hornsby, Jeff Lorber and Stevie Wonder. Comfortable with jazz, big band, pop, R&B, Latin and blues, Kevin Sanders is at home with a wide variety of musical genres and styles.
DRUMS & vocals
With over forty years of performing all over the North America, Jeff Rudolph has shared the stage with many Nashville greats including Merle Haggard, Celinda Pink and The Dirt Band. Inspired by his professional drummer father, Jeff Rudolph’s apple certainly fell right next to that tree as he continues in the family tradition. Jeff can be seen playing with Sudden Change, The Michael Allman Band and of course with The Kings of Jazz. From Dollywood to Disney World to The DFR Lounge in Brevard, Jeff Rudolph, just like his father, is one the most sought after drummers in the country today.
Dylan Hannan grew up on the east coast of Florida where he developed his passion for music after joining his middle school jazz band. After high school Dylan earned a degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern Florida and, at the same time, he privately studied theory and composition on piano and learned to play the clarinet and flute. Dylan has performed with many jazz greats including Emmet Cohen, John Alred, Dave Liebman and Veronic Swift. Additionally, Dylan has opened for trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval, performed with the Orlando Jazz Orchestra, the Space Center Symphony and then he did two tours with the iconic Glenn Miller Orchestra and recorded with them for their upcoming 2023 album.
Walter Kross left his hometown of Trenton, NJ to study at the Indiana University School of Music. After he completed his studies Walt returned to NJ where he performed with various jazz, rock and show bands before hitting the road for several tours with Motown great Eddie Kendricks and his band. When those tours ended Walt relocated to Atlantic City and enjoyed performing with casino orchestras for many years until he was called upon to go on the road with The Glenn Miller Orchestra which he toured with for the next eight years. From that iconic orchestra Walt took advantage of an opportunity to beomce the bandleader for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Walt now lives in Hendersonville, NC and is also a member of the great Asheville Jazz Orchestra.
Royce The Voice
royce the voice
Following his extensive tour as the lead vocalist with the world-renowned Duke Ellington Orchestra, Royce Javan, affectionately known as “Royce The Voice”, moved from Brevard to Detroit to further his career as an entertainer and as a result over the past few decades he has shared the stage with Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Ray Charles, George Benson, Roberta Flack and Harry Connick, Jr. just to name a few. Royce’s vocal stylings are an exquisite combination of smooth R&B, Jazz, Pop and Blues with an ever present touch of Gospel that takes you on a magical journey with each and every song that he sings.
Kelle Jolly is one of the most celebrated jazz vocalists in the country today. She and her husband, saxophonist Will Boyd were the 2015 MLK Art Award recipients in Knoxville. She is the founder of Ukesphere of Knoxville, a ukulele group for all ages. As an ambassador of jazz, she has traveled to Muroran, Japan as Knoxville's Sister City representative at various jazz festivals and events. Kelle is also the host of Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly, an hour-long show that celebrates great local, national and international singers of jazz.
Jason DeCristofaro is one of the most renowned jazz vibe players in the world today and iconic figure in the music scene throughout Western North Carolina. He is also a music educator, multi-instrumentalist and composer, arranger and a community event organizer. Jason is a published composer with C. Alan, HaMaR, Per Mus, and Tapspace. Jason's concert works have been performed in China, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan and throughout the United States.
Considered one of our greatest jazz pianists today, Taylor Pierson first started playing piano at the tender age of 15 in Detroit. By the time he graduated from Wayne State University Taylor was already known all over the country and began to tour the world including performing on The Late Show with David Letterman, opening for Robert Plant and sharing stages with the likes of jazz greats Joe Lovano and Terrance Blanchard. Taylor Pierson is also a prolific song writer who has been creating music for films and music publishing libraries for many years. Taylor’s jazz influencers include the iconic Bill Evans, Keith Jarret and fellow Aries Herbie Hancock. Since 2017 Taylor has called Asheville home and continues to perform to standing room only audiences all over the country.