Students in the UNLV Music Department’s Jazz Studies program are keeping Las Vegas’s musical legacy intact. Pick up the June 2013 issue of longtime jazz publication DownBeat and you’ll notice the UNLV kids earned a few Outstanding Performance recognitions from the magazine’s 36th annual Student Music Awards. UNLV Jazz Ensemble I was honored in the Large Ensemble category, UNLV Latin Jazz Ensemble earned distinction in the Latin Group class, and John Summers received a Best Arrangement nod for his take on Michael Brecker’s “African Skies.”
Considered the premier jazz-education prizes in the U.S., DownBeat’s awards are judged by a panel of educators and performers. I’m told the “blind” process involves listening to number-coded audio recordings, ensuring impartiality. Makes me feel sorry for the judges, because UNLV’s student jazzers are comely! Side note: UNLV Latin Jazz Ensemble nabbed third place in the Open Combo category at April’s Monterey Jazz Fest Next Generation, a performance-based contest. Trombonist Max Acree placed first as soloist, and sax-player Julian Tanaka cinched second.
The long-running feud between Vegas bands Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse should escalate: The rivals release new discs within weeks of one another. Fate’s industrial-metal offering Ungrateful arrived May 14. Reverse’s hip-hop and electronica-influenced Fashionably Late hits shelves June 18. Fate’s original vocalist, Ronnie Radke, was kicked out after drug problems and a battery conviction. Fate went on to release three albums with another singer. After two years in prison, Radke debuted Reverse with 2010 single Raised by Wolves. The smack talk has never abated and, with each band veering radically from the emocore template, it’ll be interesting to see who lands atop Hot Topic’s Great T-shirt Wall of Being.
Cool shows this week: Brooklyn/Brit group Lovelife romances synth-pop fans at 6:00 p.m. May 22 at Fremont Country Club. They have a slight R&B edge (they’ve been called a “goth D’Angelo”), readily apparent in latest single “Dying to Start Again,” which will appear on Lovelife’s forthcoming Stateless EP (out June 11). Catch this band before they blow up. … The Dickies draw near! The (allegedly) first West Coast punk act to sign with a major label, this iconic group’s roots go back to 1977. Founding guitarist Stan Lee (not the classic comic-book creator) continues to deliver fast and furious riffs, and the band’s comedy-infused melodies haven’t diminished. Hopefully they still cover the theme to Japanese cartoon Gigantor. Dig the Dickies at 8:30 p.m. May 23 at LVCS. … Also May 23: Savannah, Georgia’s Kylesa sludge-metals its way into Backstage Bar & Billiards at 8 p.m. Kylesa unveils a new album, Ultraviolet, May 28. So now is the time to see ’em shine.
Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Tell us in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.