Las Vegas Sun

October 1, 2014

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Saxophonist Trujillo returns for Jazz Society fest

The nights are getting cooler, but the Las Vegas Jazz Society will heat them up this weekend with back-to-back concerts at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

The society’s second annual Jazz & Art Festival features straight-ahead jazz Friday and big band Saturday.

Local legendary saxophonist Bill Trujillo, who has been out of commission for a year after back surgery, returns to the stage with his quintet Friday. The group includes Ronnie DiFillips on piano, Dick Jones on bass, Bob Chmel on drums and Tom McDermott on guitar. UNLV’s Young Lions of Jazz and the Las Vegas Academy’s award-winning high school jazz band open the evening.

The 78-year-old Trujillo has been performing in Vegas since 1960. The late, great trombonist Carl Fontana described him as “the embodiment of the great jazz tenor tradition of Stan Getz, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims.”

On Saturday, trombonist Nathan Tanouye and the Las Vegas Jazz Connection pay tribute to Russ Freeman. Freeman, a bebop and cool jazz pianist and composer, died in Vegas in 2002 at age 76. He worked with such artists as Art Pepper, Shorty Rogers and Chet Baker. Among his best-regarded work was his extensive collaboration with Shelly Manne.

Tanouye plays backup for Bette Midler at Caesars Palace and usually can be heard Monday nights at the Palms, performing with Jerry Lopez’s Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns.

Trumpeter Bobby Shew will be special guest.

Details: “An Evening of Straight Ahead Jazz,” 7 p.m. Friday; “An Evening of Gorgeous Big Band Music,” 7 p.m. Saturday; both at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, west on Charleston past Red Rock Canyon Visitors Center; $10 in advance; $15 at the gate; 985-2787, unlvtickets.com;

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