Musician keeps classic Vegas close to his heart

For those who have heard stories about classic Las Vegas and want to know what all of the fuss is about, a suggestion: Check out a Jerry Tiffe show.

During his weekly gigs at Arizona Charlie’s and Boulder Station — as well as shows elsewhere around town throughout the month –Tiffe offers evidence that classic Vegas isn’t gone but, maybe, just harder to find than it used to be.

Tiffe is from a suburb of Cleveland and admits that “I was always singing as a kid.”

He loved listening to music, too, particularly music created by groups such as The Mills Brothers and singers such as Perry Como.

“And Elvis came on the scene, and I liked him,” Tiffe adds. “But Johnny Mathis was my all-time favorite when I started going to junior high and high school. I’d come home after a hard day at school trying not to get beat up, and I’d go right to my bedroom and turn on Johnny Mathis records.”

By high school, Tiffe was performing in a four-man group called “The Fortunes” that sang at spots around town. Tiffe eventually would join other singing groups and combos, becoming successful enough that he was able to support himself through performing. He toured, too, playing nightclubs and supper clubs throughout the Midwest.

Finally, in 1987, Tiffe figured it was time to come to Las Vegas. He and his group did a showcase at the Sahara, which kicked off a string of multiyear gigs at hotels such as the Sands and Tropicana.

Tiffe has performed various styles of music over the years, in accord with the show business imperative to keep the crowd happy. But he still has a special fondness for the artists he grew up with and would love to create a show that re-creates that classic supper house vibe.

In the meantime, he enjoys packing venues with 200 to 300 people each week who listen to his renditions of a few standards, and is pleased to see younger people take up the banner of good music, too.

“I see younger people come in, say like in their 20s or 30s, they come in and they think I’m cool,” he says with a laugh. “I get into the old stuff, like from the (classic) Vegas years, and they dig it.”

Jerry Tiffe’s regular dates include shows at 2 p.m. Thursdays at Boulder Station, 4111 Boulder Highway, and 4 p.m. Fridays at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, 740 S. Decatur Blvd.

— By JOHN PRZYBYS

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