Born: January 15, 1950 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
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
- Viola Wells
- Donna Summer
- Gloria Gaynor
- Grace Jones
- Bob Marley and
- Peter Tosh
Mr. Casino has written and acted in numerous plays and musicals. Among the plays are I am Innocent performed in February 1990 and Odyssey performed in September 1991.
His musical credits include Land My Father Died produced in December 1985 and Funk Opera in November 1995.
Among his film credits are Forsythe County May 1989, Soweto June 1988, East Of Overtown in progress.
Leo can also be seen in the 1987 German Film Otto and in a 1986 episode of Miami Vice as Slick.
He has played at numerous benefits and public events such as the White House Party, American Cancer Society, President Nixon's Inauguration in 1968, Orthopedic March and Soul Explosion (a benefit for the homeless).
Mr. Casino has lectured on race relations in Miami at Colleges and Universities around the country including UCLA, Harvard Law School, University of Chicago and Moorehouse College. He is the holder of an honorary Doctorate Degree from Mallory College.
Leo continues to perform as a jazz musician with the Florida Players. He is also working on his latest documentary film project Brothers the story of his chance reunification in May of 1996 with his younger brother Reginald Harris, whom he had not seen or heard from in over thirty years.
Mr. Casino's latest CD, Better Days is dedicated to those that lost their lives on 9-11-01 and their Families and Loved Ones.
Leo Casino is under the management of Roy Harris from Jazzii Entertainment & Productions, Corp., Memphis, TN.
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.