For years, there has been only one funny-name answer to the question, “Where can you still see a real Vegas lounge singer, the kind with chest hair, gold chains, rings on every finger and the ability to entertain you for hours?”
But Cook E. Jarr, the last of the great lounge legends still working on the Strip, is ending his run at Harrah’s Las Vegas after shows at 6 p.m. today and at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Caesars Entertainment confirms the Jarr’s piano bar run at Harrah’s is ending Wednesday, with no dates scheduled beyond this week. It’s not yet clear whose idea it was to end the engagement, or whether Jarr will open shop at another property.
What is clear is that it’s been a lower profile of late for the singer, who even a few years ago was a big draw at Harrah’s outdoor Carnival Court stage. Last year, he and Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee, another old-Vegas favorite, were displaced when Bill’s was closed to be remodeled into The Cromwell.
Jarr, sometimes known as Anthony Pettine, has been a Las Vegas favorite since 1982. He is one of the last lounge singers to do the full-blown “act” combining cover songs of contemporary artists, comedy and chatter on the Strip, even if the 2000s saw his band the Krums dwindle down to two members and finally a karaoke machine.
Jarr never cared whether fans laughed at or with his impressive blue-eyed soul voice delivered in spandex, pirate boots and a hairstyle echoing horror-movie hostess Elvira. Even in 1969, his one major label album, “Pledging My Love,” featured him sporting what would now be called a Prince look.
“Only there was no Prince at the time,” he once recalled with a laugh.
“I’m serious. The tighter the pants, I always found I made more money,” he said. “That’s why the women would always show up, to check out the bulge.”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.