Monday, November 18, 2013

How do I know...(Well, Allen Kanovsky, we guess that is hard question when it seems you know everything, about everyone, everywhere!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/17/13

...I'm in my kind of joint? It's easy! If there is a hand written motto on a chalk board that says:

it is definitely a place I'll hang. The place is named "Le Chat Noir" and is located on S. Miami Ave. It is a warm and friendly kind of establishment with a wine bar, gourmet food at 'civil' prices and a room downstairs where you can listen to JAZZ---live. I am sure that not many of you who read the stuff I write were around in the 50's, in New York. It was the era of Jack Kerouac and "On the Road" Before hippies invaded the Village, East and West. The intimate downstairs room at "Le Chat" spells JAZZ. The ambience is Greenwich Village 1950. It also has the largest selection of both classic and nouveau wines in the Southland. The music ain't bad either.

Last night I and fellow listeners were treated to Debbie Orta (vocals), her husband Nicky (bass), Sam Levine (drums & Mike Levine's son) and the incomparable Pete Wallace (composer) at the Norel Stage 2 keyboard. Among the audience members were Thania Sanz(vocalist) and her friend Kimberly and arriving in time for the second set Othello Molineaux(steel pan) and a beautiful companion. Debbie opened her set with "Nice Work If You Can Get It". That's as true a statement as can be made if you are talking about being a JAZZ musician. The band follows with "Lazy Afternoon" which put me right in to a hammock, pina colada in hand. I believe it is on Debbie's upcoming(December) CD. A bossa "Agua De Beber", followed by a featured Pete Wallace solo. Debbie sings "Comes Love" to a Latin beat with both Nicky and Pete playing outstanding solos. In my opinion, the best song of the set. Pete gets a chance to play his composition, titled "Darkness Prevails". The melody itself reflects the title.

They end the set with "Love For Sale" which again invokes my memories of my extremely short career as a musician (age 15) in a club called the "Pump Room" on Washington Ave. (1947).

The 2d set starts with a Pete featured solo. Debbie sings "I Remember April" and then a lovely rendition of "Speak Low". Returning to Sur America she does "Djindi" Othello is sitting in on congas and it adds depth to the performance. During the break I asked Othello about what made him choose JAZZ as the genre for his performances. He explained that his motivation was two-fold. First to show the world the breadth of the instruments voice and then to expand his audience beyond tropical island tourists. The 3d set has Debbie singing a ballad in Portugese, "Djin Djin." Next a song written by Pete with the lyric written by Debbie "Tonight My Heart Is Showing Me A Different You" will become a favorite for many of us. The final song of the set is a super up-tempo "I Get A Kick Out Of You". Nicky has the final word with his incredible acumen at strumming the bass at break neck speed. It is closing in on 1AM as they start the final set. Harold Arlen's "Devil Moon", Billie Holiday's "You've Changed" and a swinging "I'm Old Fashioned". One more Wallace composition "Trying To Love You Less". I suggested a lyric line "you mean so much to me" to Pete. He said he would credit me if he used it. I told him considerate it a gift. A special night with special performances, special food and special wine.

I had arrived early because of an event that was to take place next door at Ave D. and the place was shuttered tight. Fortunately, Alexis Salis (prop.of Le Chat Noir) saw me and invited me to sit down, enjoy a glass of a new 'white' and some conversation. He is a pleasure to talk with and very knowledgeable about the subjects we covered. They included, the Miami JAZZ scene, women, wines of the world, women, marriage, women and several other subjects including women. I look forward to speaking with Alexis again. "I believe I'll have another drink".

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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