Arts briefs: Jazz, soul, Celtic



They've always been in the with the "In Crowd."

And tonight, Ramsey Lewis and Al Jarreau are in Las Vegas to explore their "Jazz Roots" in concert at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis, host of PBS' "Legends of Jazz" series, qualifies as one himself - and has an NEA Jazz Master accolade (not to mention three Grammy Awards) to prove it. Lewis has been a jazz fixture since the mid-1950s; his swingin' version of "The In Crowd" (his first gold record, and his first Grammy-winner) even turned up recently on "Mad Men's" season premiere. Last fall, he released his 80th recording, "Ramsey, Taking Another Look."

Vocalist Al Jarreau, who closes tonight's show, has seven Grammy Awards to his credit, that are spread across the jazz, pop and R&B categories, testifying to his versatility. Jarreau began singing at 4 in his hometown of Milwaukee. But it wasn't until he moved to San Francisco in the '60s - to work as a rehabilitation counselor - that he began singing in a jazz club, and decided to make music his life's work instead. (Clearly, Jarreau's soulful rendition of the theme from TV's "Moonlighting" is more personal than we knew.)

The two jazz masters will perform at 7:30 tonight in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave. Tickets are $29-$108 and are available by phone at 749-2000 or online at




Whether you call it R&B or funk or soul, it's the music that moves you - to shake your groove thing.

So there's bound to be plenty of shaking when a lucky-seven lineup of acts, spanning five decades of music, headlines the Las Vegas Soul Festival on Saturday night at the Orleans Arena.

From the '60s: The Bar-Kays , who began as a studio session group before hitting the charts with 1967's "Soul Finger." Representing the '70s and '80s: Con Funk Shun ("Ffun ," "Shake and Dance With Me") and Zapp ("More Bounce to the Ounce," "Dance Floor").

The Grammy-winning Dazz Band continues the '80s funk with "Let It Whip," while NEXT ("Too Close," "Wifey") moves the R&B mood into the '90s. And Jagged Edge represents the early 21st century with 2000's "Let's Get Married" and 2001's "Where the Party At."

Two soul soloists round out the festival lineup: Lenny Williams ("Choosing You," " 'Cause I Love You"), former lead singer with Tower of Power; and Phil Perry, formerly of the Montclairs, whose solo hits include "Love Don't Love Nobody" and "One Heart, One Love."

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Orleans Arena, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave. Tickets are $42-$75 and may be purchased by phone at 284-7777 or online at

Celtic music



The members of Celtic Woman believe in "Believe."

After a new studio album and a live concert DVD of the same name (later telecast on PBS), the musical ensemble is now touring "Believe."

They visit Las Vegas Sunday for two performances - one matinee, one evening show - at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Vocalists Chloe Agnew, Lisa Lambe and Susan McFadden and fiddler Mairead Nesbitt join a six-piece band and an Irish dancer for renditions of classic Irish tunes ("The Water Is Wide," "Green Grow the Rushes"), favorite pop anthems ("Bridge Over Troubled Water") and inspirational songs from "Ave Maria" to "You'll Never Walk Alone."

Described as " 'Riverdance' for the voice," Celtic Woman formed in 2004 and debuted on PBS the following year, striking a definite chord with the public, racking up more than 6 million CDs and DVDs - and more than 2 million concert tickets - worldwide.

They will perform at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave. Tickets, priced from $59-$89, are available by phone at 749-2000 or online at

- Carol Cling