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Dr. Leo Casino

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Primary Instrument: Saxophone

Born: January 15, 1950    

Mr. Casino has been in show business for the past 30 years. His musical training, beginning at the early age of nine, included work with such musical giants as Stanley Turrentine, Sy Morocco and George Benson in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received a full scholarship to the prestigious Howard University in Washington, D. C.

The first Jazz Major in the United States, he studied under Donald Byrd and the great Quincy Jones.

During his 30-year career, Leo has played with the likes of:

  • Shirley Scott
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith
  • George Benson,
  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Timmy Thomas
  • Neil Diamond
  • Mitch Ryder
  • James Brown
  • Wilson Pickett
  • Eddie Floyd
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Spider Martin
  • Jack McDuff
  • Carla Thomas
  • Benny Latimore
  • Roberta Flack
  • Donnie Hathaway
  • Diamond Tooth Mary
  • David Keith
  • Don Johnson
  • Jaco Pastorius
  • Neville Brothers
  • Bobbie Keys
  • Robert Cray Band
  • Meatloaf
  • Viola Wells
  • Donna Summer
  • Gloria Gaynor
  • Grace Jones
  • Bob Marley and
  • Peter Tosh
...
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Another night on the town goes to the dogs By GABE BERMAN seize18@aol.com

My buddy Andy flew in from Cincinnati to visit his parents in Boca Raton. I was invited over to their house for dinner and when I arrived, Andy's father and brother-in-law were in a heated discussion about the most effective strategies for betting blackjack. They volleyed back and forth with statistics for almost two hours.

Their conversation must have penetrated my subconscious because the following morning, I woke up with an itch to gamble. Later that evening, I headed to the Mardi Gras Race Track & Gaming Center in Hallandale Beach at 831 N. Federal Hwy.

8:20 p.m.: I arrive and explore the first floor. The carpet's pattern is alternating diamonds of purple and black. Bright lights shine from the ceiling. Polar bears and penguins would feel at home due to the ample A/C. I walk pass 1,100 slot machines that are beeping, bleeping, tooting and of course, wildly flashing.

Walking through the casino, I spot one guy who stands out. He's sporting patent leather shoes, white linen pants, a kelly green button-down shirt and an alto saxophone dangles around his neck.

His name is Leo Casino and he's booked to play by the entrance of Mardi Gras Gaming from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. everyday except Monday and Wednesday. I follow him to his gig and within minutes he's belting out Sweet Home Chicago. Passersby stop in their tracks to dance. Valet parkers pop out of their office to shake a leg. Two priests chatting at a table jump to their feet. Small children and old-timers sway to the beat. This scene could be cut-and-pasted into the movie The Blues Brothers.

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