Al Jarreau For The Jazz Roots – Director Larry Rosen

Las Vegas, NV

The Smith Center is a marvelously wonderful new performing venue to play in Las Vegas. It’s brand new since April, and is the only standalone performing arts center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a very important addition to the list of performance facilities in Las Vegas; especially because it exists solely and entirely for performing. Everything is geared to and focused on that. There’s no gambling here. And there’s no hotel. I was so impressed by the staff at The Smith Center. They are top shelf professionals and are exceptionally warm and outgoing and welcoming and inviting. And so I thank you again Myron Martin for your personal greeting to me, and for a wonderful experience at The Smith Center.

Larry Rosen and Carl Griffin produced the Jazz Roots education program for high school kids. It has a real focus on the performance experience, and it gives music students a very important opportunity to experience live music performance in a top tier setting. Music in the schools is disappearing. The Department of Education in Washington, DC can tell you that kids who study music, tend to read better, get higher math scores, and tend to go on to college. So this is important stuff. About 100 kids from local schools visited us at sound check where they heard us play. And then we did a question and answer session. And Carl cajoled a few of them into coming onto the stage to play their instrument with me and my band. It was big fun! And really inspiring. I’m so touched and impressed… During the first part of the concert, I could hear that crowd clapping and cheering and yelling for the Ramsey Lewis Trio all the way in my dressing room. Ramsey brings his style of music right to today, and makes it relevant for any listeners. Of course there’s no scantily clad dancers or moonwalking. It’s just a simple, hard-drivin’ roots… all happening inside of a trio. Thanks Ramsey let’s do it again.

We tried out our new program for the first time. Moments like this can become a bit of a blur because one is concentrating so much on doing the new material correctly, with new lyrics and new arrangements, that perspective gets a little hazy. But what I sensed is this audience really enjoyed this new set of songs. They were up on their feet, grinning with eyes like silver dollars when we did, “Puddit,” with that humorous lyric that I wrote for an old Crusader song. Chris Walker’s, “How Do You Heal A Broken Heart,” followed by the two of us doing a duet on, “Random Act Of Love,” was a sure-fire hit. And so was, “Double Face,” and, “Jacaranda.” When we left with, “Roof Garden,” that talks about, “party,” they did just that and jumped to their feet and got that boogie down.

A nice little meet and greet with some wonderful friends was a perfect cherry on top of the whole event. James Lewis was there from Warner Records of the 70’s and 80’s. And we hugged and reminisced. And Cathy Tiffany and the “Girls Gone Mild,” almost squealed with delight. My Susan smiled shyly.
I got up early next morning to hang out with my old friend Steve Edwards and chat on air with him for an hour. Steve put together a beautiful hour of my music during the station’s public radio fundraiser. There were times he made me real emotional with his smart insightful selections out of my entire catalog. He’s brilliant.

What a wonderful weekend in Las Vegas. I’ll take that time every time. Hugs and kisses again to the Las Vegas audience. You were fantastic.



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