Catching up with old friends, musically

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Timing is everything. Singer Ronnie Rose returned to New England last weekend for his 50-year class reunion at Taunton High School in southeastern Massachusetts. It turned out to be great timing by reunion planners, because the John Allmark Jazz Orchestra performs on the first Monday of the month at The Met Café in nearby Pawtucket RI. As a result, Rose also had a musical reunion with the trumpeter's big band, which was one of his favorite backing bands before he moved to Vegas 15 years ago.

As a special guest for the night, on Monday, August 5, Rose performed a half-dozen tunes. They included “The Shadow of Your Smile” (a crowd-pleaser often performed by orchestra’s longtime vocalist, the late Clay Osborne), “Stormy Monday,” Ray Charles’ “Mary Ann” (first recorded in 1957 and then recorded with conguero Pancho Sanchez in 2003), and Big Joe Turner’s “Switchin’ in the Kitchen,” which Turner re-recorded with Rhode Island’s Roomful of Blues.

Rose, a fine singer who also pulls out his harmonica on the bluesiest material, hadn’t sat in with this robust big band for six or seven years but relished the opportunity. “It was so great,” he said. “It was like putting on an old pair of shoes.

This longtime fixture on the Rhode Island jazz and popular music scene, moved to Las Vegas in 2004, where he appeared at a variety of venues over the years.

He liked Vegas and Vegas clearly liked him—as he was named Entertainer of the Year in 2011, inducted into the Las Vegas Entertainers Hall of Famein 2012, and was a multi-year winner of “Best Jazz Male Vocalist” and “Best Blues Male Vocalist" at the Las Vegas Black Music Awards.

He is semi-retired but still performs a few gigs a month either in Vegas or on the road. He’ll be at Arizona’s Prescott Jazz Summit on August 24 and 25, performing with the festival‘s big band, and at a jam session to follow.

If you’re in Vegas or plan to visit, check the schedules for The Dispensary Lounge and the Piazza Lounge at Tuscany Suites and Casino to see if he’s on the bill. Better yet. Check his calendar at his website.

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This story appears courtesy of Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes.
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