Bill Trujillo's new traditional jazz-driven full-length album, Vegas, is set to be released on October 23.
A fixture for several decades in the orchestras at such legendary hotels as the Tropicana, Sands, Stardust, Hilton, Dunes, Frontier, Flamingo and MGM Grand, Los Angeles native Bill Trujillo has made Las Vegas his home for 50 years while backing everyone from Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack pals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. to Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee.
The 13-track set is a true family affair, featuring music composed by Trujillo's nephew Christopher, and soulful background vocals of the saxophonist's daughter Michelle Marie, who sang in Las Vegas in the '70s and '80s. Los Angeles jazz and R&B singers Cathy Segal-Garcia and Irene Cathaway also provided background vocals.
The collection was produced and executive produced by Bill's son Nick Trujillo (www.nicktrujillo.com), who has recorded two CDs of quirky songs (Is That Viral Enuf 4 U?, That Is (Still) The Question) under the name Gory Bateson, the mythical nephew of the late British anthropologist Gregory Bateson. With Vegas, Nick adds acid jazz and bebop to his eclectic catalogue.
Vegas, the album and its title track, are fashioned as tributes to the swinging vibe of Trujillo's adopted hometown--a theme that extends to "Our Lady of Vegas” and "Bishop G,” the Catholic schools his kids attended; "The Strip,” the place he worked for so many years, "Howard Hughes Blues,” for the man whom Trujillo thinks "ruined Vegas,” and "Thank You Mr. Bennett,” for none other than the singer who helped the saxman get hired again after his firing by another Vegas legend forced him to support his family by driving a cab for a year in the '70s.
Vegas is also a heartfelt musical love letter to the musician's family. The family-inspired song titles include "Lee-Lees,” the nickname for his youngest daughter Lisa; "Michelle Marie” his oldest daughter; "Bossa Nico,” a silky bossa nova named for Nick; "Claudia's Dance,” for his wife; and "Grammy and Mom,” for his grandmother and mother, who raised him after the untimely death of Bill's dad when he and Chuck were boys.
That familial spirit extends to the other musicians on the album. Trujillo's friends are longtime Vegas residents with a combined 200-plus years of performance experience in the city: pianist Ronnie Simone, bassist Dick Jones, drummer Howard Agster, guitarist Tom McDermott and bassist Bob Sachs.
Nick Trujillo produced "Vegas” at Los Angeles' Moonlight Studios, with L.A. musicians David Vasquez (keyboards) and Jeff Lewis (trumpet), singers Cathy Segal-Garcia and Irene Cathaway, and his dad, uncle, and cousin.