The Instrumental Lon Bronson

Gaming Today Magazine
David Stratton

It has been said that live music has become a lost art in Las Vegas. You’d never know it by watching Lon Bronson. An exuberant but exhausted Bronson recently came off the stage at the House of Blues after opening for the Tower of Power. The show was in addition to his regular duties conducting for David Cassidy at the Rio, directing the musicians in the Sahara’s Congo Showroom and serving as production manager at the Riviera, where Bronson also holds after-hours jam sessions in the Le Bistro Lounge. The multi-talented musician, orchestra leader and songwriter has been on a 10-year roll, and he’s finally beginning to bask in the glow of well-deserved limelight.

On Saturday, the Riviera will host a midnight party for Bronson in the Lounge, where guests will be treated to T-shirts and cake. What truly seems to be a small token for Bronson’s efforts could be outweighed by the number of star-studded entertainers and show business friends who will no doubt pack the lounge. Reminiscent of the old Rat Pack days, the list of celebrities who spontaneously jump on stage to perform with Bronson and the band include Taylor Dane, Penn Jillette, Huey Lewis, Joe Walsh and Blood, Sweat & Tears, as well as members of Tower of Power. But on Saturday, the real stars will be Bronson and his All-Star R&B, Rock & Soul Revue band.

The group’s members have played with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Celine Dion, The Four Tops, Elton John and the Temptations. If you’ve never seen Bronson and his band on stage, you might have caught them on TV. They performed for the 1998 HBO special "Mr. Vegas Party Starring Drew Carey," which also aired on NBC. Said Carey after the show, "The band kicks ass. A house band so good, you never want to leave the house!"

Bronson’s original compositions and his All-Star Band were also featured in the 1998-1999 TV season of "Viva Variety" and throughout the "Drew Carey’s Club Roast," both on Comedy Central. A native of Keene, N.H., Bronson has lived in Las Vegas since 1985. He took up the trumpet at the age of 10 and eventually graduated cum laude from the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 1981. After touring the United States and Canada for several years, Bronson landed in Las Vegas. In addition to his various engagements noted above, he joined the faculty of UNLV’s music department in 1995. He is also a professor at Southern Nevada Community College.

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