This week, Ira spoke with Brian Rouff. To listen to the interview click below.
Brian Rouff, author of “The House Always Wins, A Vegas Ghost Story,” was born in Detroit, raised in Southern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 1981, which makes him a long-timer by local standards.
When he’s not writing articles, screenplays and Las Vegas novels such as “Dice Angel,” “Money Shot,” and “The House Always Wins,” he runs Imagine Communications, a marketing and public relations firm based in Henderson.
Rouff is married with two grown daughters and five grandchildren. In his spare time he enjoys reading, playing guitar and an occasional visit to the casino buffet lines.
This week, Ira spoke with Tom Dreesen. To listen to the interview click below.
Tom Dreesen will be presenting “The Sinatra Stories: An evening with Comedian Tom Dreesen” in Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center November 3 at 7 p.m. These are unforgettable personal stories and keen insights from Tom Dreesen, who worked closely with the entertainment legend.
Dreesen left his hometown of Harvey, Illinois more than 40 years ago to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. Since that time he has made over 500 appearances on national television as a standup comedian, including 61 appearances on “The Tonight Show.”
He was a favorite guest of David Letterman and hosted the show during Letterman’s absence. For years, he has been a regular in all of the main showrooms in Las Vegas, performing with Sammy Davis Jr., Lisa Minnelli, Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson – and for 14 years toured the nation as the opening act for Frank Sinatra.
This week, Ira spoke with Judy Collins. To listen to the interview click below.
Judy Collins is on tour with Stephen Stills and they’ll be performing in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center on October 21. Collins’ new album, also with Steven Stills, is called “Everybody Knows.”
She has inspired audiences with her vocals, vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices.
The award-winning singer-songwriter is renowned for her interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Collins’s version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music, won “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She’s garnered several top-ten hits gold- and platinum-selling albums. Recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.
She began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but the hard luck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics. The focus and regimented practice of classical music, however, would be a source of strength to her inner core as she navigated the highs and lows of the music business.
Judy Collins, now 78, is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that speaks to the heart.
This week, Ira spoke with Omar Sosa. To listen to the interview click below.
Seven-time GRAMMY® nominated composer and pianist Omar Sosa, who will make his Las Vegas debut in Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center October 13 and 14 with his Quarteto AfroCubano, was born in 1965 in Camagüey, Cuba’s largest inland city.
At age eight, he began studying percussion and marimba at the music conservatory in Camagüey; in Havana, as a teenager, he took up piano at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música, and completed his formal education at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. Among his influences, Sosa cites traditional Afro-Cuban music, European classical composers (including Chopin, Bartok, and Satie), Monk, Coltrane, Parker, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Chucho Valdés, and the pioneering Cuban jazz group Irakere.
Moving in 1993 to Ecuador, Sosa immersed himself in the folkloric traditions of Esmeraldas, the northwest coast region whose African heritage includes the distinctive marimba tradition. He relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995, and soon invigorated the Latin jazz scene with his adventurous writing and percussive style.
Annually performing upwards of 100 concerts on six continents, Sosa has appeared in venues as diverse as the Blue Note (New York, Milan, and Tokyo), Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, the Getty Center, London’s Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, and Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt; festivals including Monterey Jazz, JVC Jazz, Montreal Jazz, Marciac Jazz, North Sea Jazz, Helsinki, Grenoble Jazz, Montreux Jazz, Naples Jazz, Ravenna Jazz, Roma Jazz, Spoletto, WOMAD, and Cape Town International Jazz; and universities on several continents, including a visiting artist fellowship at Princeton University in March 2008, and a visiting artist residency at Dartmouth College in April 2008. Omar will return to Dartmouth College for a second artist residency in February 2011.
Sosa received a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC in 2003 for his contribution to the development of Latin jazz in the United States. He has received two nominations from the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards, in 2004 and 2006, both in the ‘Americas’ category. In 2003 Sosa received the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Album of the Year Award from the Jazz Journalists Association in NYC for his recording Sentir; and a nomination from the Jazz Journalists Association for Latin Jazz Album of the Year in 2005 for his recording Mulatos.