Larry Graham among acts playing Las Vegas Jazz Festival

The Las Vegas Jazz Festival is almost a three-day reunion, bringing back a lot of acts who should know their way around town after years of visits.

Take finger-popping bassist Larry Graham and his Graham Central Station. Prince made sure Graham was on board during his years of infatuation with Las Vegas, including his brief takeover of the Rio's showroom in 2006.

"Obviously I've influenced him, but when you listen to the music or see us in a gig, you can see he's influencing my show as well," Graham once noted.

Other names, such as the Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman, and the team of saxophonist Richard Elliot and trumpeter Rick Braun, used to pack the outdoor stage at Spring Mountain Ranch back in the '90s when contemporary jazz was a viable commercial radio format.

Three days of outdoor shows are packed with names ranging from Lalah Hathaway to Will Downing. There is also a brunch and All Star Jam indoors on Saturday night.

The main stage gets going at 2 p.m. today, 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the JW Marriott, 221 N. Rampart Blvd. Tickets are $45-$150; complete information is at

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ or 702-383-0288.


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