Las Vegas Piano Man in Tune with his Passion - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Piano Man in Tune with his Passion

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LAS VEGAS -- Many music legends have passed through Las Vegas over the years, but few have stayed and played for local audiences for nearly seven decades. One man has become a part of this city's colorful musical history.

The name Joe Vento may not immediately ring a bell but most of people have heard of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Liberace. These well-known singers are all part of Vento's musical portfolio. It's a resume he has built over the decades while performing in Las Vegas.

It's hard to miss the well-dressed man hovering over the piano in the lobby of the Royal Resort Hotel just off the Las Vegas Strip. Most of the guests admit they have no idea who he is, but they nearly always stop and sing along. Some even record the memory on their cell phone.

"When you see him, it just warms your heart," said one guest.

If you listen closely to the words, Vento is happy to tell his story. It's a story of music and passion that has been part of Las Vegas history for the past 70 years. In the 50s, Vento, or Jo Jo, as he is called by family and close friends, started performing with the Three Suns. The pop trio played at musical venues along the Las Vegas Strip from the Sands to the Frontier and at private parties hosted by celebrities such as Debbie Reynolds and Janet Leigh.

Just a few miles for the Royal Resort, Vento took 8 News NOW inside his home filled with a lifetime of musical mementos from his Grammy Award winning records to an eclectic collection of instruments which includes 27 accordions. Along his walls, there are pictures and signed autographs of famous stars he's worked with over the years from Nat King Cole to Tony Bennett, Johnny Carson and the Rat Pack.

And then there was Liberace, a man Vento called a legend and a friend.

"Usually piano players have long fingers and his looked like meat hooks! Like a butcher! But he played beautiful piano and he played with soul," Vento said.

When it comes to soul, Vento still has plenty of that left. He says the music keeps him alive and the jokes keep friends and strangers coming back for more.

"I have always wanted to know what town I am going to die in. You know why? I will never go there," Vento laughs.

There's no talk of leaving life behind just yet. Even at 95, Vento plans to keep the music going for years to come.

Aside from the Royal Resort, Vento, who's an army veteran, still performs both locally and across the country.

Vento also has some favorite modern-day musicians including Sir Elton John, Lady Gaga and Eminem.

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