Updated: Mar 21, 2022
The Las Vegas Jazz Society, keeping the jazz alive since 1975, will present the Sunday Jazz Series featuring the Peppe Merolla Quartet at the Bootlegger Italian Bistro on March 27.
The quartet includes Peppe (drums and vocals), Charles McNeal (sax), John Belzaguy (bass), and Uli Geissendoerfer (piano).
Peppe is an accomplished musician, singer, and actor and a wonderful addition to the Las Vegas music scene. He and his family have performed all over Italy, Canada, and the US and were the opening act for Frank Sinatra in New York.
Charles studied extensively in Denver and has been a featured performer at many national and international festivals, including Monterey JazzFestival, San Jose Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), and Porretta Soul Festival (Italy).
John has been a professional upright and electric bassist for 40 years and as well as a composer and arranger. He also plays piano, guitar, and Cuban tres though not on as high a level as the bass.
Uli Geissendoerfer, originally from Munich, is a versatile and remarkable musician exploring rhythms and melodies across many styles of music, with a special emphasis on world, jazz, and improvisation. He worked with, among others, William Cepeda (awarded a Grammy nomination), Groove Collective, Giovanni Hidalgo, Blood Sweat & Tears, Leslie Uggams, Tito Puente, Cirque du Soleil, Kofo the Wonderman, Ute Lemper, David Cassidy, several symphonies, and the Connecticut Opera.
In January of 1976, a 10-member Board of Directors was formed consisting of a cross-section of musicians and jazz-loving citizens. The Board included Monk, Jay Cameron, Frank Gagliardi, Ken Joy, John Lindner, Sari Phillips, Tom Severns, Dan Skea, Judy Tarte, and John Unrue. In addition, a support team of renowned musicians titled the “Jazz Ambassadors at Large” was also assembled to spread the word, the music, and the dream, far and wide. Included in this group of Ambassadors were Joe Williams, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Marlena Shaw, James Moody, B.B. King, and Carl Fontana. For more info, visit lvjs.org.
The Bootlegger Italian Bistro is an iconic restaurant started by Maria and Albert “Al” Perry. Their daughter, Lorraine Hunt-Bono (former Lt. Governor of the state of Nevada) and husband, recording artist Dennis Bono along with Lorraine’s son, music producer, Ron Mancuso and his son Roman oversee the operation. This dedicated Italian family fondly contributes their combined talents to bring the finest food, drink, hospitality and entertainment to the many friends, celebrities, and visitors who patronize their restaurant—continuing a family tradition in Las Vegas for over 65 years. For more info, visit bootleggerlasvegas.com.
The Sunday Jazz Series featuring the Peppe Merolla Quartet will be performing at the Bootlegger Italian Bistro, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. S., from 1 to 3 p.m. on March 27. For tickets, click here.