Thursday, October 31, 2013

The return of the...(The Native? So what? Allen Kanovsky is a local EVERYWHERE!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 10/31/13

…"Snowbirds". It happens every year. The temps up North start to plummet. Limbs stiffen. Backs start to ache. They pack up get on a plane, train, bus or their own vehicle and head to warmer climes. The first to arrive are Deborah and Duane Crisp. They are just in time to catch Joe Donato's return to Blue Jeans BLUES. With Joe(alto/piccolo/mini) are Danny Burger(drums), Matt Bonelli(bass) and as Danny suggests, the man with two brains, Brian Murphy on piano. Prior to the Jazzmen taking the stage, vocalist Glenda Grainger entertains customers with a cabaret performance. The weather is mild and so I sit curbside where I can hear Glenda and read my current "crime" novel. She sings "La Vie En Rose" in French and I imagine I am a 'boulevardier' on the Champs De Lysee. Ms. Grainger runs through the "American Songbook" including "Rainbow" and "Stardust". Joe Donato fans start to fill the room including a fan from Canada, Jack of Ontario.

Danny introduces the band. Joe leads to the tune by quoting the Diz. "If there is no BLUES, there is no JAZZ" and the band swings into a Joe BLUES lyric "Blue Jean BLUES". Joe sings the words. If you regularly read what I write, you might remember my remarks about his vocalizations. At the break, recognizing improvement and being the smart-ass that I am I ask him if he has taken voice lessons. He answers, "No. Have you bought a hearing-aid?" I should have known not to ask a guy who wears red socks a wise guy question. During the opening tune Joe played that tiny sax. The tone that he generates with the instrument is amazing. They follow with "I Remember You". Donato employs be-bop phrasing, Brian swings it, Matt 'walks the dog'. Danny trades 4's with all using the brushes as only Danny can. They dedicate "Satin Doll" to Babette, a BJB's regular and JAZZ devotee. Joe employs both the mini and alto, sometimes simultaneously and managing to quote "Woody Woodpecker", "Cocktails For Two", Flight of the Bumble Bee" and  "St. Louis BLUES". Shades of Dolf. Brian's solo sounds a lot like the "Duke" himself. Joe is an eternal jokester. He intros the next tune as a Charlie Parker hit. The band plays "Tico-Tico". Sounds a lot more like Carmen Miranda and Xavier Cugat than the "Bird". He plays a little piccolo solo and steps off the stage to do some 'merengue' with Deborah. A beautiful rendition of "Send In the Clowns" and end the set with Deborah's request for "Back Home in Indiana". Danny's solo has Deborah asking me where do I set Danny in the ranks of JAZZ drummers. I make sure I don't rate musicians. Every performance by a JAZZ artist is distinct from any played before or will ever be played in the future. As I have often stated, I can tell what a JAZZ or BLUES musician had for breakfast, how their day was and even if they had an argument with their wife, girlfriend or club owner. Danny? No body has mastered playing with brushes as righteously as Danny boy. His innovation of "blowing up" the drum kit is exclusively his.

The 2d set opens with Coletrane's "Equinox Autumninal". Both Danny and Matt show-off a little and it is 'good listening'. Jackie Deering has joined us and I am hoping they will play something danceable. They do 2 'Lester' tunes back to back. Wayne Shorter's "Lester Left Town". Freddy Jacobs(trumpet) is on stage and be-bop is in the air. The next is "Lester Leaps In". Joe sings the lyric Jon Hendrix wrote to the melody. Part of the lyric reads, "Got the BLUES and I don't know how to lose them". Hey Joe, look at Jackie's smile, listen to her laugh or hold her hand for a moment. Instant cure. "I Didn't Know what Love Is" and then featuring Freddy on "Love For Sale". Jackie requests "S'Wonderful" and the band is in that 'groove' we all listen for. When the band does D&D's request for "Take 5" the couple take to the floor. I have never seen an attempt to dance to a '5' before. Deborah and Duane accept the challenge and conquer the complexities. 

The closing set opens with the 'jump' "C Jam BLUES" with a "Duke's Place" lyric sung by Joe with that vastly improved vocal tone. Brian displays the power of "2 brains" with an inspired two handed solo. His inspiration is in the form of his wife, Donna Blue, who is visible at the bar. Some visitors from the 'Continent" request "Europa" and the band complies. Jackie agrees to a request to dance with me. We awe  (or something like that) the remaining customers with our light-footed and light-hearted dancing. They choose "Desifinado" for the next tune. During Freddy's featured solo he quotes "A-Train" unexpectedly. The show closes with "You Came to Me" and "Rte. 66" Jackie and I 'lindy' our way through both. I love dancing with her. My doctor wants to know why I have this death wish. I thank the musicians for a great night. I kiss Jackie and Donna goodnight.

Hi Tracy. She's got Turk Mauro with Duffy Jackson playing "Canadian Sunset". It gets me home safe. Tonight is Halloween. I am in a quandary. Stay home and face hordes of runny-nose brats begging for candy or go out and face supposed grown-ups dressed up like ghouls, ghosts, pirates, witches, vampires, cowboys----"On and On, On and On, On and On"--------- begging for "Someone To Love"     

Al's Disclaimer:
A short note: The reason I write this is because I love music and words. I do not book acts. I do not promote acts. I do not accept invitations to review artists. I go to venues of my own choice. When and where is not influenced by anything other than who I would like to hear that night or day. If I don't like what I hear, I won't write about it. When I like it I let you all know. I never mention a name without asking permission. "Pardon me, Miss. Would you like to dance?"       

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