The Venturas have been playing under this name since 2000. Before this the rhythym section, Greg, JP, and Art, played together starting in 1996 as the Silvertones. They went on to form the Venturas and later added Jennifer Leigh. In 2004 when Jen moved away the band added Eddie Tobin on keys and shortly thereafter Ally Couch on vocals. Since then the band has evolved and grown with its repertoire larger and more diverse than ever. Covering music from the 1930’s to current hits they can tackle almost any gig. Having played jazz, and blues festivals as well as a plethora of outdoor concerts , working in standard nightclub/restaurant or convention settings, the Venturas are comfortable in many performance settings. Each member’s unique experiences contribute to their one of a kind sound. Check out their stories……
Ally Couch Vocals
Ally Couch was raised in Tupelo Mississippi. She has grown up with a variety of music genres starting with her father’s swinging 50′s band. Music has been a way of life for this well-rounded, soulful singer since birth. Throughout her life, Ally has been influenced by her family’s mixed talents in blues, country, and swing. The likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane have inspired her soul and have found their way into her very dynamic vocal expression.
This vocalist has let music lead her to perform in many areas throughout the country. From Los Angeles, singing with various artists, to Las Vegas belting it out in the MGM Grand, she went on to Texas, singing the blues with her silky, seductive voice. Ally finally landed in the Tampa Bay, Florida area to sing with the Heebie Jeebies, the Bombed out Cat, and she produced some knock out vocals for a variety of jazz recordings.
Ally has nestled in with the Venturas. Her high energy, combined with the experienced fluidity of this group, breeds an electricity that will throw you from your seat. You can forget just tapping your foot to this riveting cast of players.
Greg Poulos Guitar & Vocals
Greg Poulos has been playing guitar professionally for over 42 years. Some of the many bands Greg has played in are: The Crystal Pain, The Bits of Difference, The Roulettes, Lebo Nash, Pork and Beans, The Poulos Ramsey Band, The Anderson Poulos Band, Rock Bottom, Sarasota Slim, Dan Electro and the Silvertones, and currently, the Venturas. In 1976 Greg spent a year playing and touring as FREDDIE KING’s rhythm guitar player. During this time Greg met and sometimes shared the stage with blues luminaries such as MUDDY WATERS, B.B. KING, BUDDY GUY, JUNIOR WELLS, ALBERT KING, WILLIE DIXON, ALBERT COLLINS, and BOBBY BLUE BLAND–as well as the rock stars that gravitated towards Freddie at the time: ERIC CLAPTON, RON WOOD, JEFF BECK, CARLOS SANTANA and many others. As a member of Freddie’s band, Greg had the honor of playing a private birthday party for Paul McCartney.
Greg brings this vast experience to The Venturas. He with J.P. Coley and Art Siegel formed The Venturas after playing together as the rhythm section for Dan Electro and the Silvertones. In 2008 Greg released his own solo project, entitled ANGELS FROM HAZARD. The cd has 7 original songs and 5 covers– various flavors of blues, southern rock and country rock. The record has earned much merit locally and on several internet music polling sites.
John Paul “J.P.” Coley Bass & Vocals
J.P. began playing music at age 12, starting with piano lessons. He switched to the bass to begin playing professionally. After a stint in the U.S. Navy, J.P. returned to Sarasota and resumed his music career by forming the Hurricanes, an R&B outfit. He has played the blues with Rock Bottom, Dan Electro, Roy Book Binder, and Diamond Teeth Mary; jazz with Mike Markaverich, Leon Meriam, and the West Coast Big Band; reggae with the Instigators and the Strangeways; just about all of the above with Jennifer and the Venturas.
Recording credits include Harmaniac and Tone with Rock Bottom and the Cutaways, Polk City Ramble with Roy Book Binder. With Dan Electro and the Silvertones, J.P. played on and produced two records, Mr. Smooth and Reason To Lie. Following that, with Jennifer and the Venturas, he played on and produced Cover Play, and was a staple in the live club recordings on You Really Got Me.
His influences have included Ray Brown, Walter Page, Jimmy Miller, Larry Taylor, Max Bennett, and Berry Oakley. J.P. plays a 3/4 upright base, a Music Man Stingray electric and a Fender electric bass.
Tracy Alexander Drums
Professional Drummer, Born In New York City on July 8th 1957.
Son of World Renowned Jazz Drummer “Mousey Alexander”, who passed away in 1988. My father was rated in the Top 10 Jazz Drummers Internationally for more than 40 years in the “Downbeat Jazz Polls”. He is mainly known for his early works with Miss Billie Holiday in Chicago. Upon moving to New York City, he worked with Jimmy and Marion McPartland, The Sauter Finnegan Orchestra and joined The Benny Goodman Orchestra, after auditioning and being chosen out of 150 drummers in 1956.
I was blessed to be coached and mentored by Buddy Rich and my father from the age of 12. I attended Choate School’s Summer Jazz Performance Class under the direction of Phil Wilson at the age of 14. At 15, I auditioned for and was invited to join The Nassau Neophonic Youth Orchestra under the direction of Joseph Dixon who performed with the greatest jazz orchestras of his era during an illustrious fifty year career.
Some of my tours and performances include The Montreux Jazz Festival, The North Sea Jazz Festival, The L.A.Classic Jazz Festival, The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, The Jane Jarvis Jazz Invitational, The Sarasota Jazz Festival, Orlando’s KOOL Jazz Festival, The Gainesville Jazz Festival, The Cocoa Beach Jazz Festival, The Daytona Beach Jazzfest, The New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival, The Detroit Jazz Festival and the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.
The latest chapter in my life began when I got the offer to join “THE VENTURAS” who I personally consider to be a legendary band of the highest level.
I’m honored to be a Ventura with these great musicians, vocalist Ally Couch, guitarist Greg Poulos, bassist JP Coley and pianist Eddie Tobin!
Eddie Tobin keyboards/vocals
Eddie Tobin was born in Ft. Pierce, Florida. He studied at Fl. State University and The University of Miami. At UM, Eddie studied under the highly respected pianist/educator, Vince Laurence Maggio. During and after college Eddie Played around the Miami area, on cruise ships, and later from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
In 1987, he made Nashville his home for 15 years. He played for the Forester Sisters and, with that group, opened for Kenny Rogers through 1988. Eddie also played with Brenda Lee for a little over a year on keyboards and accordion.
Soon after, Eddie became pianist and conductor for a show band for four years. This led to a seven and a half year ride all over the world as pianist, music director and conductor for Englebert Humperdink.
Eddie has performed in such prestigious venues as: the London Palladium, Montreal’s Place Des Arts, the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, and the Kremlin Palace of Moscow. Eddie has performed in such diverse places as Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Germany Belgium, and at various casinos in Las Vegas and around the country.
Eddie has returned to Florida where he lives with his wife, son and mother. Since joining The Venturas in 2006 Eddie’s years of experienced have enhanced the band’s sound and allowed Eddie to stretch out and display some of his great talent.