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September 23, 2014

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Louis Prima Jr.: ‘This has been a difficult 12 months personally and professionally’

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Denise Truscello

Louis Prima Jr. and his band.

Louis Prima Jr. at Fremont Street Experience

Louis Prima Jr. and his band at Fremont Street Experience on Dec. 7, 2010.
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Louis Prima Jr. at The Hard Rock Cafe

Louis Prima Jr. and The Witnesses featuring Sarah Spiegel perform at the Hard Rock Cafe on The Strip on May 21, 2010. Launch slideshow »

As Robin Leach winds down his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — with a visit to Pisa and its Leaning Tower, plus, a stop in fashionable Milan — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with Las Vegas big-bandleader Louis Prima Jr., new Riviera resident comedian Matt Kazam and Las Vegas artist Michael Godard. Here’s Louis.

So here we are, another year older, another year wiser. Robin is on vacation again, and Las Vegas’ forgotten son is filling in for the day. If you will excuse my sarcasm, I promise that there is a worthwhile lesson in the end.

This has been a difficult 12 months personally and professionally. A year that saw my residence burglarized for two weeks, by a group of teens that remains unprosecuted, while I was on tour. It saw extremely difficult but necessary changes to our band. And, most devastatingly, it saw the passing of my mother, Gia Maione Prima.

There are so many memories that will forever stay an important part of my makeup. How many of you Las Vegas old-timers (hey, who you calling old?!) saw your first movie at the Huntridge or the Centerama? Who played at Lorenzi Park and picnicked at Tule Springs? How about ice cream at Thrifty’s or shopping at Wonder World?

Mom, we miss you.

But I am not here to bring you down.

See, I haven’t gotten out much this year. We had a very busy year of touring and bringing Prima Magic to the masses. So I have nothing Las Vegas to champion other than our spirit.

Our spirit to rise above those people or occurrences that beg to bring you down. Our spirit that, despite the difficulties, causes us to rise above the smoke and rebuild, that encourages us to spite them by beating the odds and come out on top.

I look around this neon playground of ours and proudly smile as we thrive as a city with entertainment and goings-on at every corner. For I join in the goings-on, as in this most difficult time, The Witnesses and I have been busy at iconic Capitol Records in Hollywood recording our sophomore album for Warrior Records.

“Blow,” released worldwide June 10, is a collection of original material and a couple surprises, surprises that include a duet with my dad. A poetic send-off to the legacy that my mother so passionately protected, that we so energetically revisited. A send-off of sorts to ourselves as we debuted at #25 on the jazz charts, #1 most-added album to radio playlists and shared the iTunes Top 15 sellers with music greats.

So, yes, I raise a toast to Las Vegas, as you are my inspiration to rise above, to never say quit. The Witnesses and I raise a toast to all of you as we invite you to try a little “Blow” (LouisPrimaJr.com, iTunes, Amazon, major record outlets, Pandora, Spotify).

Whatever your avenue for music, give it a shot. It will make you smile and get up and dance and bring you back to the glorious entertainment for which Las Vegas is known.

We should all raise a toast to the human spirit that lets us rise above it all and smile. You’ll excuse me if I toot my own horn, but our new album will “Blow” you away.

And until we see you onstage back home, we’ll see you on the road.

Be sure to read our other guest columns today from Las Vegas artist Michael Godard and new Riviera comedian Matt Kazam. On Sunday, it’s star chef Rick Moonen, museum maverick Tom Zaller and Eric and Jayne Post of “Marriage Can Be Murder.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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