Jazzin' Jeanne Brei & 
The Speakeasy Swingers!

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From http://lasvegasweekly.com/ae/2015/mar/11/italian-american-swanky-supper-club-soiree-throwba/


Speakeasy swingin’: Jeanne Brei keeps it cooking at the IAC.
Photo: Spencer Burton

by Greg Thilmont   Wed, Mar 11, 2015 

It’s Throwback Thursday in March on East Sahara. With a tasseled red dress, a sparkling purple hat and a feathered boa, Jeanne Brei is ruling the ballroom as she descends from the stage in the Italian American Club.

With a band playing Dixieland jazz behind her—the Full banjo/trumpet/trombone/saxophone/bass/drum Monty—Brei works the crowd. She dance-walks between banquet tables where the audience is seated, while black-and-white-clad waiters deliver wine and entrées, supper club-style. She meets and greets, encouraging folks to two-step on the dancefloor. It’s kind of a rager.

Oh, about the crowd …

It’s safe to say that on this night the house definitely trends toward the retiree set (and their grandparents). All the same, the monthly show billed as “The Swanky Supper Club Soiree!” is gettin’ jiggy at its own good-times pace. The band, The Speakeasy Swingers, delivers some Big Easy-themed greatest hits such as “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” Then a guest vocalist, Paul Stubblefield, takes to the stage and brings a touch of Motown to the evening.

For an interlude between sets, Throwback Thursday heads into Lawrence Welk territory with The Backstage Revue Dancers, a trio of ladies whose patriotic routine includes tambourines and tap dancing. Is it Absinthe? No, but it has a lot of charm. Next, a violin soloist brings a Russian cabaret vibe to the cavalcade.

The Dixielandia resumes, and of course there’s a “When the Saints Go Marching In” lineup, Brei acting as parade marshal with a festive umbrella. The second set gets a lot funkier than the early show, with the band turning out rave-up versions of “C.C. Rider” and “Got My Mojo Working.”

This speakeasyin’ Throwback Thursday doesn’t end with the music, though. There’s a raffle! During the March edition, prizes ranged from tickets to Ja-Makin’-Me-Laugh at the D to a month of crossfit training. Sadly, I did not win a single thing.

For a $10 cover (including a few raffle tickets), the evening at the Italian American Club is a #TBTastic deal. The recurring evening next returns to the Italian American Club on April 2, when the theme will be more in the jump-jive-and-wail swing-dance vein.

The Swanky Supper Club Soiree First Thursdays, 7-10 p.m., $10. Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara Ave., 702-457-3866, iacvegas.com.

From LasVegaZine.com 


February/March 2012

Life is a cabaret, old chum. At least it is for Jazzin’ Jeanne Brei (rhymes with sky), a nostalgia entertainer who brings new life to the timeless standards of the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s’ American songbook, a time before rock and roll began to dominate the music scene (and later Las Vegas). As effervescent as fine champagne, she sings, dances, writes, directs and really does it all, all in a much appreciated move to keep the music of the good ol’ days right where it belongs – in front of appreciative audiences for whom, as the song goes - ”Everything old is new again.”

 Jazzin' with

Jazzin' Jeanne Brei

Arthur Bloberger: Let’s start with your roots. You come from a musical family. Tell me about growing up.

Jeanne Brie: My mother married her tap teacher and the dance studio was in the basement. I was born in Chicago, LaGrange Park. Left when I was three. We moved out to Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is God’s Country, USA, nestled in the base of Pike’s Peak. When we moved out there, they had hardly anybody there. It was just a tiny little town. By the time we left – it had been the fastest growing city in the nation for most of the ‘70s, right up until the gasoline crisis thing.

Arthur: So you’re used to a boomtown. But that's not us anymore.

Jeanne: But that’s how I fell in love with Vegas, because I recognized instantly in ’94 that this was another fellow boomtown just like C Springs was. We moved out to C Springs and lived in the same little area – we only moved two blocks every couple years, so I knew all the same kids from second grade through 12th. After high school, I took off for Northwestern in Evansville, IL, right outside of Chicago. Froze my ass off with 83 below with wind chill and said, “No more of that stuff.”

Arthur: So where did you go next?

Jeanne: Got in my car after college. I had interned as a newspaper reporter at the Macon Telegraphic News in Georgia and then decided I didn’t want to be a newspaper reporter, which was surprising because I thought I’d want to get into something on the air or as a reporter, but I didn’t like the kind of editing they did - painting the slant of it as opposed to the writing of it. So I headed my car down to Florida to work at Disney and my car blew up in Virginia. So I spent a summer and a fall there. It took me about 15, 20 minutes to get a job, and I found a room to rent for $25 dollars a week, a block off the beach. Granted it was a walk-in closet, but it had a bed, and the dresser was in the hall. I didn’t see much of it, because I literally was at work from 6 o’clock in the morning until two a.m.

Arthur: A lot of great talents have waited tables.

Jeanne: From there I would go to Tidewater Dinner Theatre where I was doing the show Applause, and I’d be there from like 5 until 10. Then I would go to Philip’s Waterside and sing at a piano bar until about 2 in the morning. I was one of those nutty Rat Pack types that burns the candle at every end. I ended up working at a harbor cruise ship, which was great, because that was just luncheon, so I didn’t have to get up at 6 a.m. anymore. I could sleep in until 9. I did that for like 6 months and I went home to go to Christmas and my car died again in Colorado. So I spent a year there and readied myself for New York.

Arthur: If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.

Jeanne: But first I thought I’d go to New Orleans, and be a Dixieland singer with a band there, but as much as New Orleans is a fun town to party in, I thought it was no place to live. I didn’t like someplace where the cops are more crooked than the crooks. And the sales tax and the entertainment tax and the liquor tax – hardly any bands were working back in those days. They had lost so much money because there was so much corruption and graft during the World’s Fair that there was no work at all. It was very depressed.

Arthur: Kind of like Vegas now.

Jeanne: But it was a great town and I love the history and I love the architecture and I love the music. When I was down there, there was hardly any Dixieland music at all, period. It was all rock ‘n roll and it was very disheartening. When you get off the plane in Vegas, the energy is… okay, I can misbehave. I can be like Frank and Dean and Sammy and stay out all night and drink and carouse. When you get off the plane in N’awlins, it was, oh good, I can break the law. I can piss in the street and I can flash my boobs. It’s a completely different feel. They just go that extra mile. I sort of like decorum. I was there the month after Mardi Gras. I don’t think I could have survived Mardi Gras. I was there for the three festivals after though, and that was plenty for me. I was like, this isn’t my style. I’m not that kind of party hearty kind of girl.

Arthur: So where to next?

Jeanne: I went off to Boston, then down to the Catskills and kind of wandered around during six weeks off and got invited to a party in Long Island. This was in about 1986.  It had a boat in the backyard. It was mostly I would say stockbrokers and stuff. The next thing I know they whip out the pot. Like, okay, if I’m in another room I don’t have to smell it. And then they whip out the Cocaine and it’s like, you know what, my first night in New York and I’m going to get arrested (laughing). But I didn’t. Again it took me about 20 minutes to find a waitressing gig, but I did have to work the Fourth of July, and it was the Statue of Liberty Centennial, a terrible time to have to work. It was pretty exciting there. I positively love New York. I love the energy. I love being around the best and the best brings out the best in me. I was fortunate to see a show pretty much every week. If I had a really good week, I’d see a Broadway show. If it was not such a great week, I’d go se a cabaret show for 10 or 20 dollars. But I always saw stuff all the time.

Arthur: And soon you were in them instead of seeing them.

Jeanne: I was in the American Tap Dance Orchestra, which was the premier tap company at the time. I got to work with Honi Cole and Cookie Cook and Bunny Briggs and others, just amazing, amazing tap dancers, most of whom were in the movie Tap, as was I, as an extra. I got to work with Sammy Davis, Jr. in that show. I got to work with Gregory Hines two or three times. I was on the same bill with Fabian. I actually got to meet Ginger Rogers. We took her picture with the company. She wasn’t dancing at the time. She had two very beefy guys on either arm and she glided in and she glided out. I got to rub shoulders with some pretty wonderful people.

Arthur: Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Jeanne: It came in handy later when I was in Vegas and Maceo Anderson, who was a founding member of the Step Brothers, a tap act from ’25 to ’65, had died, and a PBS guy was at the funeral, and I told him I’d introduce him to the tap community and he asked me to do a TV show. So I ended up writing it, narrating it, editing it, typing the cover graphics – I did everything on the show – for nothing. But I did. I wanted to learn how and I wanted to do it. And they loved it, so they hired me for more. It was really fun doing it.

Arthur: Let’s stay in New York for a moment. What else?

Jeanne: With Light Opera of Manhattan, I did Give My Regards to Broadway, and that musical director recommended me to the national tour of No, No Nanette with Phil Ford and Mimi Hines, and I went out on the road with that. I started doing cabaret shows around that time. And I had studied at the Eugene O’Neil Cabaret Symposium with the most amazing instructors you’d ever want to meet in your life and all the top musical directors in New York. I was so incredibly fortunate. And later I went to the Yale Cabaret Camp. I started doing cabaret shows. I did one way up at Adelade’s Soho Supper Club, one was at Don’t Tell Mama’s, and I fell in love with cabaret. I love doing that.

Arthur: When did you decide to bring your talents to Las Vegas?

Jeanne: I moved out to Vegas in ’95. Debbie Reynolds Casino was going great then, and Tom Gallagher and John Meren with the Nevada Performing Arts Society were doing Brown Bag Cabarets Monday at lunch, and they heard I was from New York and a cabaret artist, and they called me and said they’d like a New York cabaret show. I said, “Great; book me a date.” And that’s when I realized that New York cabaret audiences listen with their heads and they’re the most well-informed cabaret audience you’ll ever meet - at least one person in that audience either knows the composer of the 12 songs you’re singing or was there when it was introduced. But in Vegas, the opposite is true. It’s 12 songs, 10 of which everyone knows every word to or they shut down and quit listening. They listen with their gut; they listen with their heart. It’s a completely different medium here, which is ironic since so many come from New York and California, but when they get to these borders – I don’t have to think anymore – I’m in Vegas, baby. I mean I would do cabaret shows and half the audience would be New Yorkers but they still wanted the songs that everybody knew every word to. I had started my cabaret act and it was called ’30s Jazz – Sweet and Hot, and I was doing all these songs that I call gems – people don’t really know them, but they’re written by fabulous composers from the day, they’re like the B sides of the A songs, and about three songs in, I’d say to Charlie, “Stormy Weather in C, let’s just get ‘em back.” And that’s the way it is.

Arthur: I know you’ve also performed at our New York, New York, as well as Fitzgeralds, the Union Plaza and the Westward Ho, even the Moulin Rouge. How long were you at Debbie Reynold’s?

Jeanne: I did a show with her about every six to eight weeks for almost two years. Then we took ‘em out to Sun City, and the first time I saw the Starbright Theatre, I was just enamored and I said, “Oh my gosh, let me bring in a cast!” I had a cast of 10 and I had a band. What was really fun is that I knew going in that I would totally sell out. They provided the marketing, they give you a little ad in the newsletter, plus everybody knew me from Debbie’s. They were bussing those people in from Sun City, Summerlin, to see us every week at Debbie Reynolds’. It was a different cabaret artist every week on like a six to eight week rotation, which is what I hope that the Smith Center will do, because it really is magical to see performers do something completely different from their ongoing shows, where they get someplace to spread their wings and do their own act. Keith Thompson, who’s brilliant and is the musical director of Jersey Boys, has been bringing cabaret to Vegas, slowly but surely. He’s even done his own cabaret show here, Kooky Tunes, at the Flamingo Library. I’m hoping that with the Smith Center opening that maybe there’ll be room for a few more people – like yours truly.

Arthur: I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. It would be perfect for you.

Jeanne: I love cabaret. I’m not the kind of person that likes to do Jersey Boys for six months or a year. I don’t like the same thing over and over again. I love variety. I’m a typical Gemini. If I can do a different show every week, I’m in heaven. Yeah, it’s a lot of stress, because I do like to write it, and I like to direct it, and I’d like to produce it. And star in it.

Arthur: So many hats…

Jeanne: I need to start like delegating, which is the way we’ve been doing it at the Italian American Club. We do a different variety show every month. I bring in guest stars. In January, we had Sonny Charles from the Checkmates sitting in with Don Hill from the Treniers, legends in this town, playing the good life. And we had the Steppin' Kings with Van Porter, a fabulous Broadway tap dancer who I’ve known for probably 20 years from my days in New York, and they came and did a tap dance. And like the old variety shows, I challenged them and joined them in a dance.

Arthur: I know you’re staying busy, but what does the future hold for you?

What I’d really like is to do a show called Time Traveling With You and go to all the places across the country where you can time travel, whether it’s Christmas at the Hearst Castle in City in San Simeon, California, or Fourth of July in Williamsburg, Virginia, or Mars 2112 in New York at 49th and Broadway. We used to have something like that here called SpaceQuest Casino in the Hilton, but they got rid of it. There’s a lot of different ways you can time travel across this country.

Arthur: It does sound like you really get around.

Jeanne: I’ve been fortunate enough to have actually been in all 50 states, most of the Canadian provinces, all of Europe and most of the Mediterranean. I’ve ridden a camel up to the pyramids of Egypt, driven a race car 139 mph, I’ve gone barnstorming in a ’41 German biplane. On New Year’s I was swimming with the dolphins in the Bahamas – I definitely live life to its fullest.

And that she does! But right now Jazzin’ Jeanne Brei is bringing life and song, along with her band, The Speakeasy Swingers (together they won the 2011 Excellence in Entertainment award for Jazz Ensemble of the Year), to the Sorrento Room at the Las Vegas Italian American Club (702) 457-3866). It’s located on Sahara Ave. just east of Eastern, one of this town’s most historic venues, and it all takes place on the first Thursday of every month. Entitled “Throwback Thursdays,” it’s a return to a kinder, gentler, more melodic era. Catch her while you can, because there’s no telling what this bundle of energy will be up to next.

For more info about Jazzin’ Jeanne Brei, visit http://www.jazzinwithjeanne.com/.

Tin Pan Alley Cats On Stage
Performer enhances Starbright Theater productions

Las Vegas Review-Journal Summerlin View, June 28, 2002


Even though her brand of entertainment is far from the beloved hijinks of the Rat Pack, you could say Jeanne Brei is a lot like Frank Sinatra. They've both played Vegas, and they've both done it their way.

Brei, a New York City transplant since she moved to Las Vegas in 1995, is the writer, producer, performer and the force behind Tin Pan Alley Cat Entertainment.

The Lakes-area resident is known in Summerlin and other Sun City and Anthem neighborhoods thanks to her popular cabaret-style shows, such as the "It's Make Believe Ballroom Time" show that drew a sizable audience to the Starbright Theatre in May.

Now Brei is keeping busy pitching a new idea to venues off the Strip and even downtown. She's keeping quiet on the details, but rest assured that the show is New York cabaret flavored.

"It's kind of like Vegas B.C., like who was there at the opening nights at some of the famous showrooms in town," she said. "I'd love to do something historical like that, and I think it's vintage Vegas."

Brei grew up in Colorado, tap dancing and singing to the music of the 1920s, '30s and '40s. After graduating from Northwestern University in the Chicago area, she headed off to New York and performed in several off-Broadway productions. She also wrote, produced, directed and starred in three cabaret productions, two of which featured her own band, the Tin Pan Alley Cats.

Brei has since sung and performed all over the country, and in Las Vegas with the Nevada Opera Theatre, Nevada Chamber Symphony and the Nevada Performing Arts Society at the Debbie Reynolds Hotel.

With that hotel out of commission, there are not a lot of venues available to the all-singing, all-dancing, sometimes naughty and always funny style of show Brei is good at. But that doesn't change the fact that there is a local audience for her particular entertainment niche, she said.

"People love this music but they don't always know they do until they hear it," she said. "The Sun Cities love these shows because its big live music with an orchestra, they can dance, and they know this stuff. But most of the time there's no place to do this kind of thing here.

"I tried doing the lounge thing at a hotel but it was totally different. The casinos only want you to sound good, like on the radio, so people don't get off the slot machines to come check it out. The audience is there for cabaret shows, but the venue is not yet."

Having a perfect place to play hasn't prevented Brei from going the extra mile in her Sun City productions. She frequently employs residents of those neighborhoods to perform as dancers in the shows.

"The last one we had a huge cast of Copa Girls, and we got some Sun City Summerlin residents for that," she said. "They had an absolute blast, and most of them were old pros that had been dancers or performers. It was great to feature them and kind of honor the community that way."

Between planning the next local show, shopping new ideas around town and performing in other cities, Brei stays pretty busy. Last year, she even made her first venture into the world of television, producing a PBS special on Maceo Anderson.

While Las Vegas and New York are vastly different entertainment cities, Brei said she will continue to focus on her specialty type of cabaret production.

"It might be easier to do something like this in New York, if you find the right people," she said. "It's tougher to sell this niche here, but the audience is there. And it's what I do."

"Coffee With Caryll"

All Talk Radio Interview Dec. 13, 2005


"Jazzin’ With Jeanne" (7 p.m.) &
"Jammin’ With Jeanne" (9 p.m)
to open
at the Fitzgeralds Hotel Showroom
Wednesdays in November

"The Vintage Vegas Experience" is how singer/dancer Jeanne Brei describes her upcoming two shows a night at the Fitzgerald Casino on Wednesdays in November.

"The 7 p.m. show, "Jazzin’ With Jeanne," is going to be like a 1950s musical variety TV show--sort of a cross between the Dinah Shore and the Nat King Cole shows," says Brei, "and the 9 p.m. show, "Jammin’ With Jeanne," will be a looser cabaret/jam with some very special guests. For instance, the first three weeks of November, the French jazz band Sac à Pulses,will be the jammin' band and I'll have the marvelous Dehner Franks on piano. And I'm so incredibly fortunate to have some of the finest LV musicians for my early show--including the incomparable Charlie Shaffer on piano, the wonderful Ty Lemley on bass, the outrageous Jimmy Racey on drums and the legendary Don Hill from the Treniers on saxophone.

"As a matter of fact, my very first show on Nov. 7 will be a tribute to Don Hill since he'll be turning 86 that week. I've been talking with lots of legendary Las Vegas lounge entertainers about saluting the man with the honking saxophone who was one of the early founders of rock and roll. And the second show of the night will feature a fabulous band currently on tour in America, Sac à Pulses. They've opened for such luminaries as DeeDee Bridgewater but defining their sound is very difficult to do since they serve up jazz instrumentals and vocals in 2 & 4-beat swing, Charleston, beguine, blues, boogie-woogie, Cajun & modern New Orleans parade rhythms. Not only do they play a fiery New Orleans jazz (including the funky sounds of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band), they appeal to a much wider audience because they mix up their rhythmic styles. Plus, Christian Vaudecranne's unique scat and stage presence is a value sure crowd pleaser. Trombonist Pierre Guicquéro can play Teagarden or Turré; his approach to harmonies work in old style but are more akin for more modern jazz."

Brei's performing credits began as a child when her widowed mother married her tap dancing instructor and he created a family vaudevillian act. "Vaudeville may have died before WWII," says Brei, " but we played what I call the "animal" circuit - the Elks, the Eagles, the Moose lodges along with senior citizen centers." Her unusual upbringing led to her enjoying multi-generations of music -- from trad jazz to Broadway, from standards to pop. She headed to NYC after college and co-starred in the national tour of "No, No Nanette" with Phil Ford and Mimi Hines, performed with the American Tap Dance Orchestra at the Cotton Club in New York and worked off-Broadway in "Give My Regards To Broadway." Since moving to Vegas, she was Gloria in "Damn Yankees" at Spring Mtn. Ranch, the Mother in Nevada Opera Theater’s "Hansel & Gretal," Christmas Carol in "Twas: A Christmas Musical" at Cashman Field, and, as Artistic Director for Tin Pan Alley Cat Entertainment, she’s written, produced, performed, directed and choreographed musical revues at several casinos including the New York-New York Casino, Debbie Reynolds Hotel, Westward Ho Casino and Sun City Anthem, Summerlin & MacDonald Ranch's theatres. And just last year she lost 47 pounds in five months learning how to pole dance for a Flirty Girl Fitness infomercial!

Brei is self-producing the series of shows and is determined to keep it affordable for those on fixed incomes. “Since there will be a completely new show every week, we’re going to offer monthly passes of all four early shows, all four late shows or all eight shows for the month – bringing the cost per show down to $12.50. But even if you only come for one show, we’ll offer seniors and locals half price tickets ($15) and if you’d like to stay for the second show, it’ll be just $10 more with your ticket from the first show.” Of course, for those whose budget allows them to splurge, VIP tickets for the first two rows will be $40 and will include a meet-and-greet and photos with the cast.

“I’m as bullish on downtown Las Vegas as the mayor is,” says Brei. “For those locals who haven’t been downtown lately, they haven’t been there at all. The new East Fremont street area is like “CityWalk Vegas-style” with its 40-foot martini glass, ruby slipper and other neon signs from the Neon Museum. And each of the downtown hotels have been renovated – especially the Fitzgerald’s which now has a gorgeous SkyVue bar with a balcony that overlooks the Fremont Street Experience and a beautiful, intimate showroom that seats 170. We’re hoping to fill it with folks who love Rat Pack-style, ‘Vintage Vegas’ entertainment – singing, dancing, carousing and an all-around great time.”

"Jazzin’ With Jeanne" opens Wed. Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. with many special guest stars paying homage to Don Hill from the Treniers. "Jammin’ With Jeanne" also opens Wed. Nov. 7 at 9 p.m, and will feature the French Jazz Band, Sac à Pulses. Tickets are $30, $40 VIP, $15 seniors & locals for each show. Monthly passes are $50 for 4 shows, $100 for all 8 shows. Tickets are on sale at www.JazzinWithJeanne.com or will be available at the showroom two hours prior to showtime (beginning at 5:00 p.m.). For more show info, call (702) 254-3836.



Claire Voyant, Las Vegas Online
Nov. 9, 2007 Column

Lots of excitement taking place in downtown Las Vegas this last week...and we don't mean just that involving O.J. Simpson. (Simpson is charged with robbery using a deadly weapon, kidnapping and conspiracy.) We are talking about another exciting thing. On Wednesday night, a group of fans and friends gathered in the upstairs showroom at Fitzgeralds Hotel/Casino to honor Don Hill on the occasion of his 86th birthday (his actual birthday is November 1st), and to help launch Jeanne Brei's series of Wednesday night shows, Jazzin‘ With Jeanne and Jammin‘ With Jeanne, at the property. Hill performed with the famed Treniers for 55 years. Called "The swingingest saxophonist alive," Hill played with Louis Armstrong before joining The Treniers. He appeared in movies, on television and recordings and performed on stages around the country. It was wonderful to see him in the spotlight again, this time with Charlie Shaffer on piano, Danny DeMorales on bass and Jimmy Racey on drums (and providing some comedy bits), as they backed up singer/dancer, and the show's producer, Jeanne Brei. Joining Hill's wife, Gloria, in cheering on the pioneer musician (who sounds as good today as he did 50 years ago), among the well-wishers, we spotted Skip Trenier, Lonnie Hammargren, Mark Richards, Kid Carey, Bob Kaz and Sonny Charles of The Checkmates. Many happy returns, Don Hill!

Throughout the rest of November, enterprising Jeanne Brei continues her music and dance-filled Wednesday nights in the upstairs showroom at Fitzgeralds. Jazzin' With Jeanne, featuring a series of guest stars, will take place at 7 p.m., followed by Jammin' With Jeanne at 9 p.m. On November 14th, Shaffer, Racey & Don Hill return joined by Ty Lemley, with special guests at 7 p.m., followed by Dehner Franks on piano, and France's popular Sac a Pulses jazz band at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 (half-price for seniors and locals). Add $10 and stay for the second, and different, show. Check out www.JazzinWithJeanne.com, or call (702) 254-3836 for additional information. Two different shows on one night, folks. Come for one, stay for both.


November 05, 2007


By Jerry Fink

Vegas classic remembered

The Treniers are part of Las Vegas entertainment history, legendary performers who helped create the local lounge scene in the '40s and some say created rock 'n' roll.

Brothers Claude, Cliff and Buddy Trenier are dead, but nephew Skip Trenier, 71, is still around.

So is 85-year-old saxophonist Don Hill, who was with the group from the beginning to the end.

Hill will be honored by and perform with singer and dancer Jeanne Brei when she debuts a show Wednesday at Fitzgeralds.

"My very first show will be a tribute to Don Hill since he'll be turning 86 that week," Brei said. "I've been talking with lots of legendary Las Vegas lounge entertainers about saluting the man with the honking saxophone who was one of the early founders of rock 'n' roll."

Brei will give two performances every Wednesday through November. The early show, "Jazzin' With Jeanne," will be a cross between "the Dinah Shore and Nat King Cole shows," she says. It will feature Charlie Shaffer on piano, Ty Lemley on bass, Jimmy Racey on drums and Hill on saxophone.

The later show, "Jammin' With Jeanne," will be "a looser cabaret jam with some very special guests." The French jazz band Sac a Pulses will be her backup for the late show during the first three weeks. Dehner Franks will be on piano.

Details: 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesdays through November, Fitzgeralds Showroom, $30 general admission. $15 seniors and locals, 254-3836.

Clair Voyant, Las Vegas Online
July 6, 2007 Column

You say you don't know who Don Hill is? Well, let's fix that. At 86-years-young, Mr. Hill was the bandleader for the famed Treniers, and is the group's last surviving original member. Hill, along with identical twins, Claude Trenier and Cliff Trenier and brother Milt Trenier, began performing in the 1940s. The swinging Treniers were considered by many to be one of the first self-contained rock 'n' roll groups around. Anyone that knows the history of Las Vegas entertainment, knows these musical clowns were pioneers of the city's lounge era. Thanks to Las Vegas, the Treniers name became known around the country. Appearances on popular TV music/variety shows of the time - Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town, Steve Allen and Jackie Gleason - helped. The group released the song Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song), about the Giant's centerfielder. The clever ditty featured some dialogue by the Hall of Famer and was included on the soundtrack of Ken Burns' 1994 documentary, Baseball. In the 1950s, the Treniers even appeared in a couple of movies, including Don't Knock the Rock and The Girl Can't Help It. Released in 1957, The Girl Can't Help It starred Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell, Edmund O‘ Brien, Henry Jones and a very young Barry Gordon. It also featured musical acts such as Julie London, Fats Domino, The Platters, Little Richard, Nino Tempo (without April Stevens), Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Ray Anthony and, of course, Las Vegas favorites, The Treniers. Hill writes, It sure is nice to hear about all my friends, entertainers who are still here entertaining like we did in the lounges when there were only three casinos. Claude Trenier passed away four years ago and since then no one but me wanted to keep going. Jeanne Brei, Artie Schroeck and Linda November still make me keep playing but now it's a little too much to play long periods at a time. I had a wonderful life, first playing with Louie Armstrong for four years, then with Tiny Bradshaw, Gerald Wilson and finally with The Treniers for 55 years. So the ride is about over but I love hearing about those still in there performing. I only wish there were more jobs for these talented people.

The only surviving brother, Milt Trenier, has lived in Chicago for many years. At one time, he ran his own nightclub in the Windy City. Today, he still makes an occasional appearance at local clubs.