Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"It was just one of those things...(but then again, who is counting, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/13/13

----that keep me going out every night to listen to live JAZZ & BLUES. Last night at Arts Garage I was treated to an exceptional performance by an accomplished JAZZ musician and his equally proficient rhythm section. The artist Joe Locke(vibraphones) headed the bill. With him was Paul Shewchuk(bass), Rudolfo Zuniga(drums) and the well traveled Martin Bejerano at the piano. Martin has played with Joe on prior occasions. For Paul & Rudolfo it would be the first time. Never the mind. Each one of them was "in the groove", playing inspired solos. The vibraphone is far and away my favorite JAZZ instrument. Joe did everything possible to reinforce that feeling. He plays long, imaginative phrases which create the mood for others to do the same.
They opened with a familiar "Old Devil Moon". This was not your Grandma's 'moon'. This .was post-bop contemporary and had the audience whispering the "Oh my's" and "Wow's". Joe's handling of the 4 mallet technique is flawless and flows effortlessly. His between song patter is interesting with well told anecdotes about himself as well as fellow JAZZ artists. The quartet plays one that I don't recognize but has my attention because of the somewhat discordant chord structures and odd rhythmic patterns. Loved every musical bar. When they played "You Don't Know What Love Is" Joe showed how emotion enhances performance. His facial expressions told the story of this BLUES. Joe told the story of how when he was a youngster Jimmy Scott's singing of "Everybody is Somebody's Fool" was listened to, over and over again. 
Years later, Joe, had the opportunity to re-record that song with Jimmy. Next was another tune I didn't recognize but Martin's piano solo was a reflection of the long phrase philosophy and displayed his mastery of those 88 keys. During the break I asked Joe if he sang to his playing or played to his singing. He said it was a question he found it difficult to answer because of his personal feelings about it. But, he did answer by saying that since the vibraphone was not an instrument that you were close to, you didn't hold it or put it to your lips, the singing was a way o make the connection between the human and the instrument. 
The 2d set opened with "Sweet and Lovely"---talk about creating a 'groove'. During Paul's solo he quotes "Lullaby Of Broadway". Maybe because I had mentioned Dolf during the break. The next tune was "Invitation" with Joe doing a complex intro and Martin doing a 4* solo. When Rudolfo held the spotlight, he not only displayed his adroit stick work but did a little manual work as well. A very soft and tender playing of "My One and Only Love" which had tears forming. They closed the performance with a super up-tempo "Caravan" during which they traded 12's, 6's and 4's. All at a break-neck pace. To say it was a great night for JAZZ in the southland would be a gross understatement. Woke up too late to catch Rudolfo, Leon and Jim at the Wolfson. Sorry guys. Will try to catch Joe Locke's master class at Arts Garage 4PM.

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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