From: Norm Johnson

For: Column for 07-07-2021


During my younger days in Los Angeles, following my return to civilian life after serving in the Korean War, and moving from San Diego, I began hunting out various forms of music.  The first place I found was on Sunset Blvd, in Hollywood, around 1958-60.  I’m not sure of the name but I believe it was called the Blue Note. Anyhow I would hang out there whenever I could (if I wasn’t dancing in a contest somewhere in the City of Angels).  The attraction to me was the piano player and his wife: Bobbie Troup and Julie London.  Eventually we became friends (not close but nice and friendly). That’s when I was told about the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach.

Every Sunday afternoon, and going into the evening, it was Howard Rumsey and The Lighthouse All Stars. What it really was, was an all-out Jam Session open to some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world. And all it took was purchasing a bottle of beer (if you could even get inside). I’ll name just a few of those who at one time or another were actually named members.  See if these names mean anything to you: Rumsey of course was the bassist/band leader, Chet Baker, Garry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Bob Cooper, Conti Candoli, Stan Levey, Shorty Roberts, Bud Shank, and the great Shelly Manne.  For a young guy in his mid-twenties to see and hear them play was so darn special. What I was watching was the birth of what soon became known as “West Coast Jazz.”

Why am I remembering those days in this column?  Quite simple gang.  I was at the Italian American Club on Sunday, June 27, and sitting in a Standing-Room only showroom, listening to a young lady sing her butt off for close to 90 minutes. 

Ms. Andy James and her All-Star Band reminded me so much of those Sundays in Hermosa Beach.  She, alone, brought back those memories of listening to Bobbie and the wonderful Julie London at the Blue Note.  Wow it was another wonderful evening—one that I hadn’t experienced in a long time.  I loved “West Coast Jazz.”  My late friend (and a very long-time client) and one of the founders of the Supremes, the great Mary Wilson, loved to perform jazz. She once told me that she rather sing a great jazz song than any of those hits she was known for when she was with Motown.

Ms. James lived up to her billing as a smoldering jazz vocalist with a selection of songs from her opening number “In the Still of the Night”, followed smoothly into “Night and Day.” Couldn’t ask for anything better than those two, but then she torched it with a beautiful “Call Me” and one of my all-time favorites, “Born Free.” All told Ms. James presented 14 various musical selections from the above mentioned to her jazz debut recording of “Caravan.” Her smoky elegance of the classic reminded me of a few female vocalists who also recorded that particular song, singers like Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and my friend Julie London.

And of course, the musicians who kept the music flowing.  Her musical arranger, pianist, and conductor, Bill Cunliffe, assembled eight of the best in Jazz:  John Patitucci, Jazz bassist; Chris Potter, saxophone; Alex Acuna, percussion; Marcus Gilmore, drums; Jon Cowherd, alternate piano; Jake Langley, guitar; Bob Sheppard alto sax and flute, and Michael Dease on the slide trombone.

All I can tell you is when you next read or hear that Ms. Andy James will be performing somewhere; get on your phone and purchase your tickets.  You will not ever be disappointed that’s for sure!




Due to extraordinary pre-sale ticket demand which saw his first two weekends of shows sell-out in just two hours, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar has added two additional shows, Friday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 13, to his first Las Vegas residency “Sammy Hagar & Friends” at The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod.  Tickets went on sale to the public on Saturday, July 3 at 10 a.m. PT via Additional shows for 2022 will be announced shortly.

Sammy Hagar remarked: “Adding these shows so quickly makes me happier than anyone for the fans that didn't get tickets the first time. “This is exciting; we're going to be doing this for a while."

Hagar will bring together a legendary circle of friends and bandmates, past and present, to the intimate 800-capacity STRAT Theater, including 300 GA floor tickets for a party vibe in front of the stage. Michael Anthony, the legendary bassist who’s played with Hagar for the past 30 years in bands including Van Halen, Chickenfoot and The Circle and Vic Johnson, Hagar’s longtime guitar virtuoso and bandmate in The Circle are confirmed for all six shows. Jason Bonham, the acclaimed Grammy-winning drummer, and their bandmate in The Circle is confirmed for the first two shows, Oct. 29 and 30, with surprise and special guests to be announced.  The theater will be designed to capture the beach vibe Hagar’s synonymous with, including elements of his famed Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, home to his epic annual birthday bash.

Fans will take in the experience of a lifetime seeing the legendary artist performing some of his greatest hits, which include some of the most iconic rock anthems ever written, like “I Can’t Drive 55,” “There's Only One Way To Rock,” “Right Now,” “Heavy Metal,” “Mas Tequila,” “Why Can’t This Be Love,” and many more in an intimate venue.  Sammy & Friends will celebrate Hagar’s career, spanning four decades, from his solo career, Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot, The Circle, and surprise additions to the set list depending on which of his musician friends take the stage with him, the show will transport the audience to Baja, where you never know who will join Hagar on stage.

General ticket prices begin at $100, plus applicable tax and fees, and a limited number of VIP meet and greet packages are also available for each show. All tickets and packages can be purchased online at begin at 9 p.m. Purchases will be limited to six tickets per transaction. More information about the show is available at and Sammy Hagar’s website

After 16 months of lockdown, due to Covid19, the F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) returns to the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara for its monthly luncheons. As a member I’ll have the opportunity to visit with some older friends, who I’ve missed seeing for those 16 missed events. Incidentally, it’ll be the Celebration of the club’s 16th and 17th anniversary and it all begins at 11:00 a.m. Friday, July 16th.

Grammy winning saxophonist Gary Anderson's has put together a 16-piece orchestra to provide the music for those who can sing (and there are quite a few members who can carry a tune or two)..

Besides the Pledge of Allegiance by Purple Heart recipient Vincent Palmieri and Invocation by Stephen Braude, the National Hymn will be sung by Sue Weet and the Cadets of the Honor Guard of the UNLV Airforce ROTC program will be presenting the Colors.

Nelson Sardelli, creator of the fun organization, and a wonderful entertainer and friend, will be the Master of Ceremonies... As usual, attendees (over 165 at this writing) will be surprised by the appearance of many local celebrities. For more info about the FIORE afternoon check their website.


The Battle for Vegas presented by Dollar Loan Center and hosted by Reilly Smith returns to the Las Vegas Ballpark at Downtown Summerlin® on Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. The game beneficiary is the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation, with proceeds benefitting Grant A Gift Autism Foundation, Ackerman Center, Nevada's leading nonprofit provider of clinical​, support, and vocational programs and services to families affected by autism; and Miracle League Las Vegas, the local chapter of a national organization that provides opportunities to children with special needs to play baseball, regardless of their disability. 

The star-studded charity softball event gives fans the chance to watch their favorite stars in action as the teams “battle” it out for Las Vegas’ ultimate bragging rights, all for a good cause. The softball showdown features two all-star teams of professional athletes, celebrities, and media personalities, led by Reilly Smith of the Vegas Golden Knights and his teammates vs. Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen and friends from the Las Vegas Raiders.

Team Reilly and VGK friends will play for Miracle League, while Team Marcus and Raiders friends will play for Grant A Gift Autism Foundation, Ackerman Center. The initial event launched in 2019 raised over $136,000 for local nonprofits.  According to Smith, the bar was set high with the inaugural event and this year should be no different.

“Once again, we are looking forward to coming together to support two nonprofits in our community that do great work, while having a little fun,” Smith said.  “We appreciate our fans coming out to support this event that promises to entertain while helping our community.”

Gates open on Saturday, July 24 at 5:30 p.m. The home run derby begins at 6:30 p.m. and the opening pitch is at 7:30 p.m. Concessions will be open throughout the Ballpark, making it a perfect one-stop for a family-friendly night out. America’s Got Talent finalist Daniel Emmet will sing the National Anthem. Other confirmed entertainers include the Vegas Vivas, DJ Green, along with mascots Chance, Buckets, Spruce the Goose, and Aviator will also make appearances.

Tickets for the Battle for Vegas Charity Softball Game are available online at at the Las Vegas Ballpark ticket office. General ticket prices begin at $40. A limited number of elevated package experiences, including ballpark suites, are available. Individual and corporate sponsorships are available. For more information about group tickets, suites, or sponsorship opportunities, contact James Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit

 Well, gang, you know one of the places I’ll be hanging out at…see ya there I hope.  I’m outa here!