West Las Vegas was historically a proving ground for many of a young musician. Ray Anthony, Lionel Hampton, Sy Zenter and others picked a spot at one of the six clubs on Jackson Street in Las Vegas on Monday nights and jammed, because most musicians were off on Mondays.
Those old days still live on in Las Vegas at the Huck Daniels Celebrity Jam at 8 p.m. Saturdays in the Fiesta lounge in the El Cortez. Usually the sessions are packed and last until 1 or 2 in the morning, with more than a dozen musicians and vocalist usually taking their turn onstage, providing some of the best “hidden” entertainment in Las Vegas at a price that’s hard to beat: a two-drink minimum.
It has not been easy for the Huck Daniels Celebrity Jam session, which began 19 years ago at the Aladdin, then bounced around to the Maxim, Continental, and the Stratosphere before landing at its present home at the El Cortez.
“Now it’s a struggle to survive,” says guitarist Huck Daniels, who moved to Las Vegas from Reno in 1962. “Back in the day, young musicians with a lot of experience could play smaller clubs till they got up on their instrument and stuff. We don’t have that anymore and as a result you have guys who don’t know how to act on stage.
“About a third or the people here are singers and musicians, the rest are just fans,” Daniels says.
Las Vegas may not be the first place you think of when you’re considering attending a top notch wine tasting event. However, the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino is betting that you’ll be interested in blending fine wine with a sampling of Fremont Street jazz when they host The Spring Wine and Jazz Fest on March 27 through March 29.
The three-day event begins Friday night with a Champagne and Wine Reception under the beckoning desert sky at the hotel aquarium and pool. Guests will join winemakers and wine owners, sampling wines while listening to jazz.
Saturday night you have the opportunity to sample wines from 60 California and Washington wineries – current vintage releases and barrel samples – alongside food from the hotel’s award winning chefs accompanied by more local jazz.
Then it’s off to a champagne brunch with a side of jazz on Sunday served with Laurent Perrier,Taittinger, and more that will conclude with a live auction.
By booking for all three events prior to January 31 the total cost is $249 per person. Individual event tickets may be purchased. And for an additional fee you could attend a Napa Valley Red Blend Showdown and a Blind featuring tasting of Opus One, Duckhorn Paraduxx and BV Dulcte. There will also be a Blind Tasting that would let you compare your skills against the Masters through a five bottle tasting that will include training on insider methods of deduction.
Participating wineries include William Hill, Beringer, Gallo Estates, Geyser Peak, Rutherford Hill, Sawnson, Mount Veeder, Conn Creek, Twomey, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Hugo Family Cellars.
The Golden Nugget is also running a Winery Club Room Package that includes two nights, a spa credit and 25% off any bottle of wine at the Grotto Ristorante that starts at $179 http://www.goldennugget.com/specials/winerypackage.asp Reservations may only be booked by phone at 800-634-3454 and use promo code WINE09.