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Italian-American singer, actor, songwriter, bandleader, and trumpeter, Louis Prima (1910-1978) was rooted in New Orleans jazz, swing, and jump blues, but he touched on various other genres throughout his career. From the 1940s through the 1960s, when these recordings were made, his music further encompassed early R&B, rock’n’roll, boogie-woogie, and even Italian folk music, such as the tarantella.
In 1954 Prima was offered a long-term engagement at The Sahara in Las Vegas to open his new act with singer Keely Smith (born in 1928, she is 89 at this writing). He enlisted New Orleans saxophonist Sam Butera (1927-2009) and his backing musicians, ”The Witnesses”. The act was a hit, and ultimately led Prima to sign with Capitol Records in 1955. The present concert performance at The Sahara, immortalized on the LP Las Vegas Prima Style (Capitol Records – T-1010), was taped by Prima in 1958 with Keely and Butera, and is presented here in its entirety.