Bill Haley Jr.’smusical journey began and the age of five with a pair of drumsticks and a cardboard box, playing along with his father’s band as they practiced in the three-car garage at Melody Manor, the family home in Boothwyn, PA. As a teenager, Bill taught himself to play guitar using one of his father’s old nylon-stringed acoustic instruments.
Bill played the guitar and sang solo and with musician friends throughout his high school and college years. Although Bill thoroughly enjoyed playing music and writing songs as a hobby, he remained reluctant to pursue a professional career in music. In the 2000s, he began playing regularly in a garage band with friends. The band took on the name “Bill Haley and the Satellites” and recorded a CD of Bill’s original songs, titled “Already Here,” released in 2010. During the CD release party in a retail store in Phoenixville, PA, the party host requested that Bill and his band perform some of his father’s songs as well. Bill complied, and a Youtube video of the event surfaced which led to a request from a booking agent for Bill Jr. to put together a professional band of musicians to specialize in the style of music and stage act the Comets made famous. Bill agreed and took it a step further by adding storytelling and a Power Point photograph presentation to make it a complete Rock ‘n’ Roll History show, and a new band —Bill Haley Jr. and the Comets — was born!
Christopher Davis-Shannon is well-known and respected on the Philadelphia area/Delaware Valley music scene, headlining his own band specializing in American blues and jazz standards of the early 20th century, offering his own modern take on timeless classics, weaving together a sound that is enjoyed by both young and old.
Chris also appears as an accompanist with a number of other regional musical ensembles, including Blackbird Society Orchestra — a 1920s jazz orchestra; the Kelli Campbell Trio; the Vance Camisa Quartet; and the Folk rock group "Lovers League." Chris studied bass and composition at Rowan University, and has been teaching privately for 10 years.
As a Comet, “Topher” brings tremendous energy and personality to our stage act, and his acrobatic antics with the upright bass are among the highlights of every show. In his leisure time Chris enjoys photography and long walks on the beach...
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Michael DeNaro showed a great love of music very early in life listening to his mothers records constantly at the age of two. As a boy, Mike carried a transistor radio everywhere he went. He started guitar lessons while in the 4th grade, and playing the guitar became the love of his life.
Mike’s first guitar teacher taught him the old standards, but he wanted to learn the pop songs he loved so much from listening to his radio, so he switched teachers and his love of playing increased accordingly. At eh age of 11, Mike stumbled upon the Bill Anderson TV show, and was struck by that country sound, that he still loves today.
Mike started up his first combo with friends during the summer going into 7th grade. Throughout junior high and high school and beyond, Mike became a popular local singer/songwriter, and he played with numerous bands and appeared as a solo artist and as a hired guitarist throughout the 80s and 90s.
Mike took a break from the music business while helping to raise two young daughters. Eventually he began offering guitar lessons and taught out of his house for a number of years. During this same time, he followed a few opportunities play in public locally again, and this continued until Mike and Bill Jr. got together and formed a band called the Satellites in 2010.
As a Comet, Mike made the transition from a blues scale type lead guitarist to the jazzy style of Franny Beecher and Danny Cedrone. Mike’s fills, leads, and harmonic interplay with Kaj on sax add tremendous excitement to the band’s sound.
Rich Flamini’s passion for playing drums began when he was about eight years old, when he would drive his parents crazy by banging on chairs, paint cans, and Formica counter tops all the time. Rich’s father was a big band music fan, and introduced his son to 1940s swing music at a young age. He also introduced Rich to the drumming of his idol: Gene Krupa.
Rich started his formal percussion instruction with Angelo “Buz” Marino at age ten. Buzz was a big band/jazz enthusiast, and was Rich’s mentor and positive role model for the twelve years he studied with him.
As a Comet, Rich is a master of the syncopated trashcan style of drumming so essential to re-creating the Haley sound.
Rich continues to perform, teach, and do studio work with many bands and musical artists in the Philadelphia area. He has played many genres and styles of music. His philosophy is to “play every song as though it is the last song you will ever play in your life,” and “Never crow-bar a drum part into a piece of music that doesn’t belong there. You are at the mercy of the music, and your audience.”
Rich’s major influences are: Gene Krupa, Jon Fishman (Phish), Elvin Jones, and Carmine Appice.
Kaj Hansen is a Philadelphia-based freelance woodwind multi-instrumentalist and recording artist playing flutes, saxophones, clarinets, oboe and English horn. He has toured extensively throughout North America, Central America and Europe, performing with the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, American Festival Orchestra, Santa Monica Symphony, Connecticut Chamber Orchestra, as well as Bill Haley Jr. and the Comets.
As a Comet, Kaj’s energy and virtuosity gets the audience out of their seats and on their feet, especially during “Rudy’s Rock,” one of the highlights of our show!
Kaj also performs regularly with (Peter Nero and) the Philly Pops, the Lakewood Jazz Ensemble, the Janis Nowlan Orchestra, and has performed in concert with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Kristin Chenoweth, Josh Groban, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, John Lithgow, the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Manhattan Transfer, the Brian Pastor Big Band, The Philadelphia Boys Choir, Vox Amadeus, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Montreux Jazz Festival and on national and international television. Kaj's playing can be heard on recordings by Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, Manhattan Transfer, the Brian Pastor Big Band, Karen Wilhelm, The Wind Symphony of Southern New Jersey, NFL Films and others. He is a winner of a National Flute Association Competition (1996) and has studied at the Interlochen Music Camp, the Berklee School of Music, the University of Miami, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware. His teachers include Julius Baker, Kirby Campbell, Lawrence Feldman, Eileen Grycky, Jeffrey Khaner, Larry McKenna, Adeline Tomasone, Keith Underwood, Joe Viola, and Phil Woods, to name a few.