Tom Donoghue / Courtesy Photo
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 | 6 p.m.
I often refer to the Lounge at the Palms as the place where dreams come true. If trumpet ace David Perrico dreamed of being featured on PBS, it is indeed coming true.
This opportunity and project blossomed out of the Palms last month when Vegas PBS producer Matt Christensen caught Perrico’s ambitious show band, Pop Evolution, play a late Saturday night show at the Lounge. Eighteen of the city’s top musicians performing at high volume and proficiency do have a way of catching your attention, particularly in a venue that seats 228.
The band, and Perrico in particular, seems like an ideal fit for a special on PBS, though no run date has yet been specified. Perrico filmed a commercial spot last week in front of the fountains at Bellagio and in the classroom at UNLV, where he teaches in the jazz studies department.
The PBS crew will ring the room Saturday night when Perrico and Pop Evolution perform again at the Lounge at the Palms. The show is set for 11 p.m., an appealing start time for night crawlers in VegasVille, and the cost is a ridiculously low $5 at the door. PBS also plans to film Perrico while composing as part of the biographical segment of the special.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Perrico says, “but a lot of good things are happening.”
The band is simply stacked with great players — members of the Gossy Horns (Andrew Friedlander and Isaac Tubb), Frankie Moreno’s band (Rob Stone) and trumpet greats Lon Bronson and Tom Delibero are in the mix. “The Mayor,” Adam Shendal, plays drums (he’s performed in Vegas for decades behind Wayne Newton, Wayne Brady and Gordie Brown, among many other headliners). The guitarists — Jim Buck and Stephen Lee — are among the most respected players in the city. And I have been known to sit in on electric mandolin, and that is a joke.
The vocalist Saturday is Savannah Smith of “Vegas! the Show,” and there is some serious buzz about this woman (as opposed to comical buzz, I guess) as one of the rising stars on the Strip. Smith is replacing Pop Evolution’s regular singer, Naomi Mauro, who is taking a break from the act as she is pregnant.
The timing of the special and the momentum boost for his heartfelt Pop Evolution project are somewhat serendipitous for Perrico. The show for which he used to perform, “Viva Elvis” is long gone at Aria, and its replacement, “Zarkana,” premieres tonight. And the act for which he once served as music director, Zowie Bowie, is changing its lineup as Marley Taylor closes her dozen-year affiliation with Chris Phillips after Saturday’s show at Fremont Street Experience. Perrico and Taylor were once in a romantic and artistic partnership, and during a brief spell he was the bandleader for Zowie Bowie after Phillips and Taylor had split and during the active relationship shared by Perrico and Taylor.
It was all so very nutty while being terrifically entertaining, but all of those relationships are in the past. For Perrico, it’s all part of … what’s the word? Evolution.