It’s been almost 10 years since I was last in Las Vegas. New hotels and casinos are rapidly displacing the names familiar to previous generations who grew up with memories of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack and everything that made their names synonymous with this all-night city seemingly plopped down from nowhere in the middle of the Nevada desert.
I remember my first visit in the mid-80s playing with Doc Severinsen, the former Tonight Show bandleader, and his small group, Xebron, at the Desert Inn. We stayed for three weeks and had a great time sneaking back into the showroom after it closed and jamming until the early hours, playing tunes we’d written during the day.
This week I’m playing with a great group of musicians from Los Angeles, New York City and Las Vegas who have all come together for the opening of the new Steve Wynn hotel, known around town as “the Wynn”.
From NYC there’s legendary session guitarists David Spinozza (Paul Simon), John Tropea (Blues Brothers) and bassists Wilbur Bascomb (Jeff Beck) and Tom Barney (Steely Dan). The west coast contingent includes one of L.A.’s most in-demand guitarists, Tim May, bassist Ken Wild (Seawind, The Simpsons) and pianists Randy Waldman (Barbara Streisand, David Foster) and Jim Cox (Mark Knopfler).
There’s something incredibly exciting and inspiring being around such a great group of creative people. The energy, the stories and the camaraderie keep feeding each other and the fun continues well past rehearsal hours. We’ll be performing Saturday night (that’s right, all of us together…6 basses, 8 guitars, 6 pianos) in the Latour Room at the Wynn. I’ve never heard anything like it but it should be a blast.
UPDATE: Our complete roster of guitarists included: John Tropea (NYC), David Spinozza (NYC), Phil Hamilton (NYC), Bob Ward (NYC), Gary Queen (LV), Tom McDermott (LV), Tim May (LA) and myself.