Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009 | 2 a.m.
- Arthur “Doc” Rando-Grillot on being 99.
- Rando on how he feels about new music.
- Listen to the Dixieland band.
Doc Rando celebrated his birthday Tuesday night the way he has celebrated most of his 99 years, surrounded by family, friends and music.
Arthur “Doc” Rando-Grillot, who was born Jan. 23, 1910, smiled broadly and clapped his hands in rhythm as he sat in a chair in the middle of his living room while listening to a Dixieland band led by clarinetist David Poe.
The band included trombonist Brian O’Shea, bassist Bob Baker, drummer Bob Grundy, trumpeter Charlie Mond and banjo player John Colmus.
Crowded onto the tiled, raised front entry, the band serenaded Rando, a New Orleans native who began playing clarinet and saxophone at age 16 and for the next 25 years performed with such band leaders as Glenn Miller, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey and Bob Crosby, Bing’s younger brother. His final performance as a professional musician was with Crosby’s Bob Cats in 1951.
He then became a physician and practiced in Las Vegas for more than 20 years, sitting in from time to time with local jazz bands to keep up his chops. He retired from medicine more than 30 years ago.
Doc Rando Hall, a recital venue at UNLV, is named in his honor.
“I don’t know how I got here,” said Rando, who was 8 when he first saw a 17-year-old Louis Armstrong performing on a riverboat. “I certainly didn’t practice to be 99. All of a sudden I got there. Somebody must have pushed me. Truthfully, I never did believe I would be 99. I don’t feel 99. I feel the same as I did 20 or 30 years ago. My eyesight is gone but, like Joe E. Brown said at the end of that movie ‘Some Like it Hot’: ‘Nobody’s perfect.’ ”
Rando still loves music.
“I have my little tape recorder there and go back and listen to the old bands. I don’t particularly care for the modern music, rock ’n’ roll or whatever they call it, but I listen to it. I stay up at night to listen to Jay Leno because he always has someone that just sold a million albums. It must be good if a million people bought it. I listen to it, but I really don’t like it.”
Among the 50 or so guests were the ever-youthful Phyllis McGuire of McGuire Sisters fame and producer Maynard Sloate, who was a drummer in Los Angeles and became a friend of Rando’s at the end of World War II.
“Next year we’re going to have the president wish you a happy 100th birthday,” Poe told his friend.
Comedian Vinnie Favorito is becoming a favorite at the Flamingo. The Boston native opened there in August and recently announced his run has been extended three years.
“Anyone coming to Vinnie’s show should check their humility at the door. No one and no topic is off limits in his theater,” says Don Marrandino, president of the Flamingo Las Vegas.
Favorito says, “People pay me to insult them and I even get my own parking space! Life is good.”
Details: 8 nightly; Bugsy’s Cabaret, Flamingo; $39.95-$49.95; 733-3333, www.flamingolasvegas.com
Nevada Public Radio listeners have a special opportunity to support public radio while experiencing a little love.
Next Thursday’s performances of Cirque du Soleil’s “The Beatles: LOVE” will benefit Nevada Public Radio when tickets are purchased through news station KNPR, 88.9-FM, or classical music station KCNV, 89.7-FM.
Details: NPR benefit of Cirque du Soleil’s “The Beatles: LOVE,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 5, the Mirage, $125 for current NPR members or $150 for non-members (includes NPR membership); knpr.org, classical897.org or call 258-9895 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays