BWW Previews: CLINT HOLMES: RENDEZVOUS at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas Showroom
Jess here. A stage originally designed for Frank Sinatra at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas is now home to one of my greatest musical performance mentors, Clint Holmes. A performers' performer, Holmes is a jazz (and frankly all kinds of music) genius. His career has spanned decades and he's been involved in many aspects of the music industry, ranging from songwriter to recording artist to producer.
Holmes just began his Golden Nugget residency last month. This show is absolutely fantastic and celebrates several tunes from his new album "RENDEZVOUS." The title track is an original written by Holmes in remembrance of a jazz club that he and his father used to frequent when he was a teen. The song, "At The Rendezvous," is one of my favorites and featured Holmes performing his signature interactive SCAT with the band members and "slapping five" with the audience. He did such an amazing job with this tune and the audience loved it! Other favorites from his new album included his cover of "Say Something" which is currently climbing the Billboard Smooth Jazz charts!
Holmes also performed a few standards, including an acoustic version of "Nature Boy" backed by guitar master Pablo Gadda. The crowd was mesmerized by this touching performance as Holmes delivered the lyric in a way that made you truly hear the words for the first time. His talent for contemporary music was then revealed with an awesome mash-up of Billy Joel's and Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" followed by a crowd pleasing medley of "On Broadway" and "The Schuyler Sisters" from HAMILTON, complete with rap. This arrangement was absolute genius!
Holmes also shared several other originals including his 1972 hit "Playground in My Mind" and "1944," the title track from his 1944 album. "1944" is one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever heard. It tells the history of how his parents met, and celebrates their lives in music in WW II. Another showstopping original was "If Not Now, When?" a song inspired by Holmes' past battle with cancer. The show ended with "Hallelujah" which truly showcased this entertainer's layers of talent. Holmes' band was also incredible and included Christian Tamburr (musical director, piano and vibraphone), Rocco Barbato (sax), Pablo Gadda (guitar), David Ostrem (bass) and Jakubu Griffin (drums). These seasoned musicians are the some of the best in Vegas, and play off each other perfectly to create incredible music together.
Holmes is an amazing artist in every sense of the word. I've been attending his shows and studying him for years, and attribute many of my performance skills to trade secrets I've learned from him as a member of his audience. There is no other master of improvisation or storyteller like him, and Las Vegas is truly blessed to have him as a resident headliner in our community! I will miss him terribly when I leave for college in the fall, but look forward to listening to his new album as a substitute until I can get back home to the desert. Thank you for the music, Clint!
"Learn how to laugh. Learn how to love. Learn how to live. That's my style." -Stephen Sondheim