Saturday, November 30, 2013

"of all the..." (Good lord, now Allen Kanovsky thinks he is Humphry Bogart!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/30/13 joints, in all the towns, in all of the U.S.A. I walk into one that has live JAZZ.

It ain't by accident. Last week I watched a football game and ate some really good wings. The walls were covered by a mural and portraits of JAZZ & BLUES artists, past and present. Table tops full of JAZZ & BLUES oriented matter. I was told by the proprietor, Gregory, that they had live JAZZ on Friday nights and sooooooo. The big sign outside reads COALHOUSE PIZZA. Below is another that reads 52 DRAFT BEERS. JAZZ, Pizza, Beer, thermometer reads 28, Friday night, Stamford CT. "Who could ask for anything more" I rushed in and got a lot more. A 'chick' singer-----I know! I know!-----is  intoning the opening bars of "Embraceable You". The lady's name is Arlee Leonard. A multi-faceted woman who knows how to sing a song as well as being a writer, poet and minister. The trio backing her has Tony DiCerto (guitar/leader), Rafael Carruthers (bass) and young Josh Carruthers on drums. Arlee follows with "Look Of Love" adding some original lyric lines and scat as well. When she sings "Our Day Will Come", Tony takes the opportunity to impress with his solo portion. Josh serves up a samba rhythm and the band does "Wave". The Brazilian tempo catches Arlee and she has to do a little dancing. Changing styles the group gets a little funky with "Smooth Operator". Again Arlee adds some original lyric along with a 'quote' from "Love For Sale". Going back to the swing era, they pay, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love". It seems to me that Arlee completely changes character when doing old JAZZ standards. Her demeanor and attitude reflect that wonderful era of music. They trade 4's going 'round and 'round. It is fun for all.

Singing BLUES in C, Arlee does "Everyday". She adds some more of her original lyric and does a great job emulating horn sounds. Ms.Leonard invokes memories of past BLUES legends when she sings the words "Meet me at the crossroads". At the songs end she hits notes that I have never heard outside an opera house. WOW! Arlee mentions the names of past generations of women JAZZ vocalists and then closes the first set with "Just In Time" and "Isn't She Lovely". Swinging them all the way!.

When asked about her favorite lyric line, her answer was from "Fly Me To The Moon". The line--"fill my heart with song and let me sing forever more"--I can't think of anything I could ask for would be more joyful. A couple of her faithful fans, Vivian & Jim Hearn were there along with a bunch of younger folks (20s/30s). The 2d set opened with Ms. Eugenia Jelani sitting in and doing "Almost Like Being In Love" and "All Of Me". Soft tones and swinging style---very, very nice. Arlee returns with a program including "What A difference A Day Makes". "Walk On By", "Ma Cheri Amour" and "On A Clear Day". When she does "Girl From Ipanema" she reads a poem she wrote as an English interpretation of the Portugese lyric. Arlee sings "Sunny" soaring through those upper register notes in the closing bars. It seems that Arlee met some Italian guy (you know how they are) one summer in Shanghai. Love at first sight. The short lived romance inspired her to write an alternative lyric which includes the line "A summer love is all we had". Thank you Arlee, Eugenia, Tony, Rafael and Josh for a great night of JAZZ.

Coalhouse Pizza's menu includes items like---"Body & Soul", "Round Midnight" and "Birdland" salads--Bessie Smith, Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker wraps--Ella, Dizzy, Louis and Billie paninis, also pizzas named for Herbie Hancock, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman and Stevie Ray Vaughan. There are more than 70,000 pizza parlors in the U.S. but if you need a little JAZZ with your mozzarella it is Coalhouse in Stamford CT.

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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