Thursday, January 29, 2009

The "A-List"

FYI: The "A-List" promo has been deleted. It was never our intent to slight anyone by inadvertent omission.


First, Jerry Fink had a nice write-up on Lon Bronson on Tuesday,
"Workin to keep workin'." Ahhhh, the struggle:
...He says lounge entertainment is an endangered species in Las Vegas, because of the corporate mentality of casino owners.

“Their philosophy is they have to maximize profit, and in so doing they have trivialized entertainment,” Bronson says. “They don’t understand what entertainment brings to the table. They cut out lounge entertainment to save money, but they’ll go out and spend $100 million to develop a Cirque show and not think twice about it.”

Gone are the days when you could hear the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Harry James or Louis Prima in a Vegas lounge. Now every hotel has an ultralounge.

“These nightclubs are the final nail in the coffin of lounge entertainment,” Bronson says. “They build these clubs that have zero entertainment. The entertainment in those clubs are the people themselves — ‘How am I dressed? Who’s looking at me?’ It’s so narcissistic.

“I lived through the disco era and I thought it was gone forever, but it’s back and now the fans are dropping $2,000 to have a bottle of $20 whiskey served to them at a table.”...

Don't get Sonny Maupin started on the subject of ultralounges, LOL! The statistician in me simply says 'dudes, it'd be way cheaper in the aggregate, and infinitely more direct, to just go to the Chicken Ranch.'

Jerry Fink does great, supportive write-ups of the local cats. We all appreciate it.

Lon and his band
"The Las Vegas All-Stars" are appearing in the Ovation Showroom tonight, Green Valley Ranch, 9 pm. Free show. I'm gonna go check it out. Never met the cat, though I do know some of the players in his band. He never comes around.


Tyriq came over yesterday and we did a photo shoot for a Stevie Wonder opportunity he's got comin' up.


Speaking of the Ovation Showroom, Lenny Lopez will be back onstage with Michael Grimm and his large lineup this weekend. Early show, 6:30 - 9:30 pm, IIRC

It's tougher these days for lounge acts to land recurring gigs

Changing landscape requires that performers constantly reinvent themselves



Thirty years ago, when Jerry Tiffe played the Sands, he performed in the hotel's lounge with two other acts with whom he'd alternate spots on the bill each night.

Each performer worked six nights a week and, on nights when one of the acts was off, a relief band filled in, Tiffe recalls.

Today's loungegoer would drool at the prospect of seeing such riches in talent on the same bill seven nights a week. These days, the double whammy of fewer lounges and pared-down show schedules can make it difficult for aspiring performers seeking to carry on the rich tradition established by such Las Vegas legends as Louis Prima, the Mary Kay Trio and Freddie Bell.

"When I first moved to Las Vegas, wow," recalls Dian Diaz, who in December celebrated her 10th anniversary at Bellagio's Fontana Lounge. "I loved it. You could go to one casino, and in one casino they had three lounges.

"It was so cool. You could jump from lounge to lounge to see great acts and really top-of-the-line groups."...

Nice article. He also cites our friends Brody and the cats in Yellow Brick Road (a must-see, that band). Click the title for the link to the entire piece. Yeah, times are tough for everyone. BLS just came out with the latest unemployment stats (December), so I updated my Excel spreadsheet and graph:

Nevada is rapidly catching up with The Peoples' Republic next door (where my wife now lives and works). Steep uptick in the rate (to be expected generally; companies typically flush people at the end of the year to get 'em off the books when it's gonna be inevitable anyway).


Above, LOL, I parked real quick along the curb and jumped outa the car on my way back home and snapped that.

They certainly packed the place. It was crammed in SRO by about 9:30. Tom Deiibero and Garrett Hypes were in the horn lineup, and Tony Davich sang. The change to Keith Nelson on bass (formerly of the Steven Lee Group) is a significant improvement -- cat is really fine.

They obviously have a very enthusiastic, large following, a demographic that seems to be in the legacy "Blood, Sweat, & Tears" / "Cold Blood" etc mode. More straight-ahead "Rock" and "R&B" than Santa Fe. Nothing wrong with that at all. Crowd was really diggin' it. I just like to see everyone giggin'.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jan 26th gig at The Palms

Tonight, 10:30 pm in The Lounge. No cover, no minimum, as always.

Opening tonight for Jerry will be Tom Jones Show guitar ace Brian Monroney. Join us for yet another slammin' evening.


We were packed in tonight. Great crowd. Great energy, onstage and in the audience. I just dumped 163 shots outa my camera into iPhoto. Got a lot to review and post.

Bittersweet evening, given that it was Joey Heredia's last night with the band. What an absolutely great dude he is. Awesome drummer, but better than that, he's just a wonderful person, a joy to have come to know.

Cat sure went out in thundering fashion tonight. Man, the hump he and Rochon put on during Roch's bass ride in "Higher Ground" was the nastiest thumpin' groove I've heard in a long time. Joey, we will all miss you and wish you the very best.

Pepe returns in two weeks -- remember, we're dark next Monday (Feb 2nd), and then the cats will be back on the 9th (my 63rd birthday, a.k.a. Top Shelf Margarita Day).

Brian Monroney tore up the guest guitar slot. One serious player, this cat.

Brian's ride in "Rosanna" was simply perfect. Then when Jerry got to the gig, he asked Brian to stay on and play on "Negrita," whereupon Brian seared yet another solo. It was really fine. Brian then came back up to close out the show by blistering still yet one more ride on "System of Survival."


The Fat City Horns were down in L.A. tonight doing a show with the fabulous Las Vegas Jazz Connection orchestra at The Jazz Bakery (Nathan Tanouye, arranger and conductor). So, time to call in our alternate squad. Can't really call these cats our "2nd unit" any more, IMHO. Yeah, they're "subs," but they ripped the book up tonight. They were slammin' the charts all night long. Great job, guys.
  • Dave Phillipus, trombone
  • Tom Delibero, trumpet
  • Wes Marshall, trumpet
  • Dave Stambaugh, alto
  • Miguel Rodriguez, tenor
  • Garrett Hypes, bari
We managed to have Dave, Miguel, and Garrett called up front for rides on "Wishing Well."

Fat City Horns II, or .alt, or v2.0 or whatever you wanna call 'em, really got 'er done tonight with utter panache. How lucky are we to get to witness this level of consistent excellence? I, for one, am always grateful.

4 A.M...

OK, I'm gettin' really tired, got up early today. I have a ton of decent shots to upload, and I'm still goin' through the batch in iPhoto. I'm gonna randomly post some and then crash and continue after I get back up.

First, Herman Matthews in the House!!!

I just love that cat. Another great drummer, and a great guy. Jerry called him up to just hang and party onstage. Below, check this out, these two really worked out.

Alternating narrow depth-of-field focal planes. Below, caught Jamie and Tony and Tyriq pretty well.

Tyriq "Buckles" Johnson!

What a great night. 4:20 a.m., I gotta crash. Please do check back, and pay it forward.

Oh, yeah, before I split, this is for Cheryl:



A few more shots (I have even more, but they're kinda redundant)...

After the gig, no one wanted to leave. Peeps just milled around for the longest time. It really was a great night.