Talking With Mark Malkoff – June 29, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with Mark Malkoff. To listen to the interview click below.

Mark Malkoff is a comedian, filmmaker and the host of “The Carson Podcast.” In the podcast, he talks with guests about legendary talk show host Johnny Carson, who was connected in many ways with Las Vegas. The podcast is available on ITunes and Carson

Malkoff’s guests include stand-up comics who debuted on the show, individuals who worked on the show, frequent guests and top entertainers who were influenced by Carson.

Malkoff has been featured on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS Early Show,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” and NPR’s “Weekend Edition.”

He lives in New York City with his wife, Christine.


Talking With Carl Giammarese – June 22, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with Carl Giammarese. To listen to the interview click below.

Carl Giammarese is a founding member of The Buckinghams, who will be performing June 23 at The Golden Nugget Las Vegas as part of its 52 Fridays Concert Series.

Giammarese began his music career as a founding member, lead guitarist and vocalist, in 1965. The Buckinghams were an important part of creating the sounds of American rock music after the
British invasion had arrived and changed everything.

The group enjoyed No. 1 status and other positions on Billboard’s music charts for 5 years. They released 15 hit singles and 4 albums that charted, and they toured nationally for five years..


Talking With Jay Beckenstein – June 15, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with Jay Beckenstein. To listen to the interview click below.

Jay Beckenstein is a co-founder of Spyro Gyra, which will be performing June 17 at 7 p.m. as part of the free “Jazz In The Park” series at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater.

Spyro Gyra is an unlikely story of a group with humble beginnings in Buffalo, New York who has continued to reach an international audience for more than forty years, resulting in sales of more than 10 million albums and having played more than five thousand shows on six continents.

Although few acts have accomplished this type of record, they have done it by constantly challenging themselves. An example: their last studio release, The Rhinebeck Sessions, was written and recorded over three days in the studio.

Born in Brooklyn, bandleader Beckenstein grew up listening to the music of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie, and started playing the saxophone at age seven. He attended the University at Buffalo, starting out as biology major before changing to music performance (read classical and avant garde).

During summer breaks, he and an old high school friend, keyboardist Jeremy Wall, played gigs together back on Long Island. Wall attended college in California, and after both graduated, Beckenstein stayed in Buffalo’s thriving music scene, where Wall eventually joined him.

Spyro Gyra, whose odd name has since become world famous, was first known simply as “Tuesday Night Jazz Jams,” a forum wherein Beckenstein and Wall were joined by a rotating cast of characters. Tuesday just happened to be the night when most musicians weren’t playing other gigs to pay their bills.

Around this time, a young keyboardist named Tom Schuman began sitting in when he was only sixteen years old. This young man, of course, remains a member to this day.


Talking With Jean-Luc Ponty – June 8, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with Jean-Luc Ponty. To listen to the interview click below.

World-renowned violinist and jazz musician Jean-Luc Ponty, bringing his “Atlantic Years” tour to Aliante Casino & Hotel June 10, was a violin virtuoso from his early teens.

Ponty’s love of jazz began when he picked up the clarinet to play with a college jazz band. He was inspired by the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane to pick up the tenor saxophone shortly after. Ponty became known as the most prominent “jazz fiddle” player as he incorporated his violin into jazz performances.

At age 22, Ponty released his first album, “Jazz Long Playing,” and shortly after, his first live album. His technique caught the eye of the Modern Jazz Quartet, who invited him to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1967. From there, Ponty secured a record label contract and began cranking out popular jazz albums.

In 1969, Ponty teamed up with Frank Zappa for the first of eight albums the two would collaborate on, and caught the ear of Elton John, who asked him to contribute to his 1972 release “Honky Chateau.”

Ponty’s star continued to rise, releasing 12 consecutive albums in the 1970’s as well as partnering with a variety of musicians and symphony orchestras to play his unique music. More recently, Ponty has been touring the world with a variety of musicians.

He has released more than 35 solo albums and compilations, and has performed with countless orchestras around the world. His show’s lineup includes his “Atlantic Years Band,” featuring Jamie Glaser on guitars; Wally Minko on keyboards; Baron Browne on bass; and Rayford Griffin on drums.


Talking With Morgan James – June 1, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with Morgan James. To listen to the interview click below.

Morgan James, who brings her “Reckless Abandon Tour” to Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center June 2, has earned widespread recognition as a vocalist, songwriter and actress.

Classically trained at Julliard, she has performed in numerous Broadway shows including “The Addams Family” with Nathan Lane, Frank Wildhorn’s “Wonderland” and “Motown: The Musical.”

Branching out as a solo artist, she has toured around the world performing at leading venues such as Feinstein’s/54 Below, and has earned a strong following collaborating with world-renowned group Postmodern Jukebox. Her music videos have generated more than 800 million views online.