Nearly 14 years after his death, jazz great Joe Williams continues to support jazz at UNLV.
The 23rd annual “Joe Williams Scholarship Fund Concert” is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall (tickets are $20 and available at the door or by calling 702-895-2787). Money raised will be delivered to the university’s Joe Williams Scholarship Fund, which benefits the school’s widely respected, lauded and awarded jazz program.
The lineup is noteworthy for its history in Las Vegas, wide range in genres and remarkably high quality. Any bill featuring Clint Holmes and Pete Barbutti is something special.
Fans of live entertainment in Las Vegas are well aware of Holmes’ soaring vocals and stage mastery from his monthly appearances at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. But Barbutti is less appreciated in this era despite his many appearances on “The Tonight Show” generations ago. Barbutti is a devastatingly funny storyteller, often spending several minutes just to reach a punch line. That payoff is worth the wait, a skill lost on most stand-ups today.
The 78-year-old Barbutti has had a difficult time getting booked in the current Las Vegas entertainment climate (if he were a club DJ, he’d have better luck), but Barbutti has been featured at Sammy Shore’s new showcase, “Legends of Comedy,” at Clarion’s Wolf Theater. The 85-year-old Shore, who opened for Elvis at the International and L.V. Hilton, is in Sunday’s lineup, too, along with Tina Walsh, Earl Turner, Pia Zadora, Ronnie Rose, Laura Taylor, the Cunninghams and the ever-busy Las Vegas act Surprise Guests.
Wait. Those are guests who are not announced. Not an actual act.
Heading up the band is Frank Sinatra’s longtime music director Vinnie Falcone. As we say, there are worse ways to spend a Wednesday.