The Kats! Bureau at this writing is Artemus Ham Hall at UNLV, where I am spending a Sunday afternoon enjoying the UNLV Jazz Studies Jazz Ensemble 1 and Latin Jazz Ensemble fill the room with wondrous noise.
The program that has furnished musicians for many great Las Vegas stage bands and also the Las Vegas Philharmonic is soaring after winning the Big Band Division at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival on April 2. The Jazz Ensemble 1 performed Sept. 17 at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and its new CD, “Rail Trails/Latin Journey III,” is out now.
Dave Loeb, Nathan Tanouye and Uli Geissendoerfer, cultural giants in this city, direct these musicians.
The Monterey success bolsters UNLV Jazz Studies program’s status as one of the best in the world. Catch these musicians whenever you can. They are the artistic future in Las Vegas. As UNLV College of Fine Arts Dean Nancy Uscher said from the stage, “This music is inspiring, brings us together. When we hear it, life is good.”
More from the scene:
Gaga still on the books
Lady Gaga’s cancellation of her European tour dates has not affected her plans to return to T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 16. Citing chronic pain, Gaga has called off her tour of Europe, which was to begin Sunday in Zurich, Switzerland. The second leg of her U.S. tour, which stopped at T-Mobile on Aug. 11, begins Nov. 5 in Indianapolis.
As she announced her health concerns and tour cancellation, Gaga’s documentary, “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” was released for streaming on Netflix. The pop superstar addresses her pain, which stems from a broken hip suffered during the “Born This Way” tour in 2013, in the new doc.
At one point, as she is preparing to sing at Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday party at Radio City Music Hall last December, she cries and says, “The whole right side of my body is in a spasm. My (expletive) face hurts.” Later that month, while still in that pain, she performed a VIP show at Encore Theater. “When I feel the adrenaline from my fans, I can go. But it’s not like I’m not in pain.”
Coinciding with the release of “Five Foot Two,” Gaga posted a message on Twitter expressing adoration for her fans and saying, “I’m just a girl who is trying to become a woman, who loves to write music, to sing, to play piano, guitar, dance, perform and act.”
Down the rabbit hole
“Alice,” the original steampunk rock adaptation of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” is back at Red Rock Resort’s Rocks Lounge Monday night. Pre-show is 9 p.m., followed by the rock musical at 10. Creator Anne Martinez and co-vocalist Ashley Fuller return to their roles at the front of the show, and Vegas dancer/choreographer Michelle DiTerlizzi guest stars as the Red Queen.
As busy as she is talented, DiTerlizzi has performed in Las Vegas over the past decade or so, in “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood, “Vegas! The Show” at Miracle Mile Shops and Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak Live” at Luxor. She was also a cast member of the live shows at Holly Madison’s 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque at Mandalay Bay.
Big ups to Jennifer Romas, who continues to assemble a “Sexxy” empire at Westgate Las Vegas, centered on her adult revue at Westgate Cabaret. The hotel has unveiled a bank of “Sexxy” slot machines, where a line of three Jennifer symbols wins $16,000. I thought she was priceless, but whatever. The hotel also offers “Sexxy” $5 chips, blackjack tables and big-spin wheels. It’s a whole “Sexxy” thing at Westgate.
My favorite moment from Saturday’s ribbon-cutting event was Romas hugging her parents, John and Judi Romas. These two have been through the whole Tilt-A-Whirl of Jennifer’s career and her 600 shows at Westgate Cabaret. If you’re looking for a Vegas success story, this show is one.
Who Was Where
Wiz Khalifa, Louis Tomlinson, French Montana, Bebe Rexha, and Juicy J at Hakkasan at MGM Grand on Saturday night for Travis Scott’s performance … Little Mix (the triple threat of Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Ann Pinnock) at “Magic Mike Live” at Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday night … Rapper, producer and actor Ja Rule at “Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth: Round 2” on Friday night … Jason Derulo — achieving a VegasVille Triumverate — hitting Omnia at Caesars Palace and “MJ One” at Mandalay Bay on Tuesday, and 1Oak at The Mirage (with Flo Rida) on Wednesday. Derulo was celebrating his 28th birthday, which was Thursday.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.