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Our Story

The Sunshine Jazz Organization (SJO) was created in 1986 and is based in Miami, Florida. We are committed to the idea that the measure of a society can be found in its culture. Music is of the utmost importance for the continual growth, enrichment and advancement of our community, for our students and for our position as cultural leaders in the USA and Americas. In the Greater Miami area we can boast world-class jazz artists on every instrument and a variety of vocal styles. The SJO is committed to creating avenues for Jazz performance, education and awareness by inviting all ages to enjoy most events free or at a nominal charge. We encourage you to go out and support live jazz thus allowing artists to develop and thrive, and SJO to continue producing exciting presentations in parks, schools, concert venues, and local nightspots. 

Board Members

Keith Valles - President

Holly Spillane - Vice President

Windsome Williams - Treasurer

Jeanette Tullis - Secretary

Leesa Richards - Board Member

JaNia Harden - Board Member

Brenda Martin Providence - Board Member

Corky Dozier - Board Advisor

Nicole Yarling - Board Advisor

Mike Factor - Board Advisor

Our Founder

Charles L. "China" Valles

SJO Founder and President Emeritus

Gone but never forgotten.


Nicknamed "The Mahj" by Duke Ellington himself (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." Charles "China" Valles began his musical career as road manager for saxophonist "Illinois" Jacquet in the Fifties and has met and interviewed musical giants such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.


Valles arrived in South Florida in 1962 to head an upstart Jazz radio station, and eventually graced the airwaves including WBUS, WTMI and WDNA continuously until not too many years ago. With his delightfully gruff voice, full of whimsy and charm, Valles is a well-worn local treasure.

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