Friday, November 15, 2013

Did you ever...(we don't thinks so, Allen Kanovsky! But it certainly looks like it was your night to win at Arena in South Beach!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/15/13

...put your last 3 quarters in a slot machine and watch the tumblers come up with three 7's in red, white and blue? Did you ever buy a $1 lottery ticket and win $4500.00? When was the last time you handicapped a winning trifecta? That's what they call "getting lucky". I do know there are other ways people can think of, but if you love JAZZ. intelligent women and food, in that order, than you should have been in my shoes last night. It started with an intelligent woman, Ms. Jackie Deering, picking me up at my front door and driving us to the VIP party for the opening of a new JAZZ club in Miami Beach. The "Arena" is on Washington Ave. in South Beach. For invited guests there was complimentary beverages and hors d'ouvres, prepared by master chef Eduardo Rodrigues. Topping the list was an appearance by a band of Latin JAZZ musicians fronted by Sammy Figueroa.

The club is well designed and has a superior sound system that was put together by the sound engineer, Patricio Suarez. The invited guests covered the cultural spectrum of South Florida. Artists, writers, musicians and dancers. Attire, strictly South Beach. Sammy's band had Gabriel Vivas on timbales, Brian Potts on vibes, Chino Nunez and Charlie Santory. They opened with a JAZZ standard, "The Continental", with definitive clave rhythm. The layered sounds of congas, bongos, timbales, piano and vibes created a shoulder and hip shaking mood throughout the entire room. Festive would be the best word description. Sammy always delivers an exceptional show and last night was no different. Thank you, Sammy. Jackie and I were enjoying the scene until after the first set. A 'dance club' disc jockey took over the sound system, turned the volume to 10, put on some music that completely tore down the JAZZ vibe that had permeated the room. I asked Jackie if she was ready for coffee. As we left we met our hosts and wished them success. It takes more than money to make it in the JAZZ club business. "Hey, Jackie, instead of coffee, how about the Van Dyke?"-----"Good idea. Who's there?"----"We'll know when we get there."-----

Continuing the lucky streak, how about this. We get off the elevator and run into Nonami Irikawa and Jaime Ousley. After introductions all around, I spy Rick Katz (CEO of Miami JAZZ Co-op) and we join him. The band is all UM faculty. Chuck Bergeron (bass), John Yarling (drums), John Harte (guitar) and the most recent addition to the staff, Dr.Kate Reid (vocals). Another round of intros before the 2d set starts. Jackie didn't need an introduction to John Y who she has known for years. The room is now filled with other JAZZ musicians including vocalist Samm, drum master Carlomagnifico Arayo, bassist Kai Sanchez and sax man David. We are in for a treat as Dr. Kate opens with "You Can't Take That Away From Me". The set is all JAZZ standards which she delivers in her very own sultry voice and JAZZ styling. It is apparent that she uses her voice much like the voicings of a trombone. Original, swinging and pleasant to listen to. She concludes the set with "World On A String" in a nice jump tempo. The last set is short and very sweet. 3 tunes. "You Turned the Tables On Me", A totally beautiful interpretation of "Body and Soul" which is followed by a scatful "Honeysuckle Rose". I thanked Dr. Reid for her performance and asked for her favorite lyric line, She took her time to answer. Reviewing in her mind the extensive number of songs in her book. "There's so many." It takes a few moments and then she tells me, "The opening stanza of "Dedicated To You". Kate proceeds to recite it. "If I should write a book for you, that brought me fame and fortune too, that book would be like my heart and me----dedicated to you". The great Johnny Hartman sang that song way back in the "day"----Great lyrics never die.

Going to the opening of Arena, listening to Sammy and those Latin All-Stars, heading to the VanDyke, meeting so many friends, listening to talented musicians and most of all hearing Kate Reid for the first time made for a great evening in the company of one of the "sweetest" and "cutest" gals I know. Thank you Ms. Jackie Deering. Happy landings, wherever you are!

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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