Nearly a full house welcomed back native son Kenny Rampton last night at The Smith Center, which featured the esteemed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in its Reynolds Hall auditorium.
Three song selections featured Rampton trumpet solos last night, including the first of two back-to-back Duke Ellington covers, Gerry Mulligan's "42nd and Broadway," and JLCO saxophonist Sherm Irby's interpretation of standard, "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby." He received some of the loudest ovations of the night.
Musical director and fellow trumpter Wynton Marsalis, who introduced each number during the 90-minute concert, made sure to especially talk up Rampton at his homecoming show. Besides extolling his virtues on the horn, Marsalis pointed out that not only was Rampton's mother in attendance, but his first two trumpet teachers. "When your momma and your first two music teachers come to the show, that's important!" he said.
Rampton attended both Bonanza High School and UNLV before entering Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved to New York City in 1989 and joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2010. Among other resume highlights, he also is a member of several Charles Mingus-inspired bands and has played with a handful of Broadway productions.
Marsalis, no stranger to Las Vegas, also thanked the audience for welcoming the band to its "beautiful" new venue.
The Reynolds Hall will also host Chick Corea and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (separately) later this spring, with SFJAZZ Collective (playing a Chick Corea-inspired program) returning to the adjacent Cabaret Jazz venue March 22-23.