Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Do you remember...(If you are writing it, we guess you do, Allen Kanovsky!)


Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/9/13

...is part of an opening line of a lyric. It continues with "the night we met." Last night presented a night of memories. It started with my entering the Miami Gardens Country Club. The entry was "dressed up" for a formal affair to be held on the morrow. When I came into the lounge area, George Maio was setting up his traps. A few moments later trumpet player, John Branzer, arrived. I asked him who was playing piano. He pointed to a tuxedo-clad man who was finishing his dinner. "Billy MacCumber." Holy mackerel!! I couldn't believe it. Flashes of good times way back in the day. I'm talking about the spring of 1957. Las Vegas. The lounge of the Sahara. Flo and I are celebrating a belated honeymoon. On stage is Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Sam Butera and Billy MacCumber. If you remember the band doing a tune "Jump, Jive and Wail" you remember Louis shouting to Billy, "Wail Willy. Wail". Prima always called Billy, Willy. He also had Billy taking care of his trumpet because he had found out that he played the horn as well. As John was setting up his horns, trumpet and flugelhorn, he uncased what I called a pocket trumpet. John corrected me. "It is a piccolo trumpet". You are never too old to learn---unless you are an old dog. Additionally, John told me the trumpet he played was a gift from the fabled Harry James.  High F's must be implanted in that horn. The trio did classic tunes including "The Shadow of Your Smile" and "Muskrat Rumble". Billy had the chance to show off with a medley of famous Prima songs.

When Billy took a break, Peter Fuchs sat down at the "88". I took the opportunity to chat with Billy's wife, Charlotte. They have been married 62 years and she remembered the Vegas years. I asked about how it was to be married to a busy musician. "Awful" she said. There is no "Saturday nights". You never get to go to a wedding or party together. But as they say "Love conquers all." I guess 62 years is the proof of the pudding.

I took off during the 2d set, which I rarely do. They were playing Besame Mucho and broke it for "Happy Birthday". I wanted to catch the opening night of Deborah Paiva and Ken Burkhart at Jakes.

When  I walked into the JAZZ Lounge, Deborah had just started to sing "You Make Me Feel So Young". She followed with "Old Black Magic" It wasn't black magic that made me feel so young. It was Deborah's unique JAZZ phrasing  It is exclusively 'hers'. That styling comes from not listening to other vocalists versions. She would listen to instrumentals so she would not be influenced and become a copy-cat. She is definitely her own stylist. Ron Sant(flute) joined Ken  on stage and they played "Coming Home" and "Green Dolphin Street". Ms  Paiva returned to do "How High the Moon". The tune is my musical 'national anthem'. Guitarist Art Weissman steps up. He and Ken do "Stormy Monday" during which Ken quotes Monk's "Straight No Chaser". When they play "C-Jam Blues" Ron joins in and the 'joint is jumpin''. Deborah continues the mood with "This Can't Be Love". Again the reference to feeling young. If only my feet, back and neck didn't hurt. Now, what had become a quartet played "The Things You Used To Say".

Flo's favorite tune was "My Funny Valentine". Deborah's styling gave the lyric special meaning. Art picked up on her vibe and played a solo that brought applause not only from the audience but also his fellow musicians. It was one of those moments that JAZZophiles live for. I moved to the bar to look at the smile of the very pretty Megan. You know you're going to get a righteous drink if the people behind the bar are named Paddy, Kathy, Patrick or Megan. It's their heritage. Now it is Ken and Deborah doing "Monkey See, Monkey Do". It is a fun song and they have fun with it. I hear them playing "Secret Love" and the evening starts to fade. I thank everyone, say G'night. "Hello" Tracy. It's a short ride home See ya!  


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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