Thursday, November 14, 2013

When words mean...(when they are not mean words, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/14/13 much as the music it makes for a great afternoon. At Arts Garage, Wednesday afternoon, after a performance the night before, Joe Locke held a Master Class. Far more than a music lesson it was a teaching about life and how to live it. It was about pain and joy. Most of all it gave you a look at the soul of a JAZZ musician. Included in the attendees were James Kidwell a BLUES guitarist and harmonica player, my friend Bette Forman, Renee Frankton, Shirlee Tillis and the director of Education at Arts, Drew Tucker, along with some of his students.

Joe talked about the influences in his life. The musical, the literary, the philosophers, the humorists and the heart-string tuggers. He played short sections of his compositions including "Available in Blue" and "Sword of Whispers". They told the same story and reflect the core of sadness in Mr. Lockes life. He says he has no complaints. His life is good and he is happy. Many years ago, while I was incarcerated, I attempted to write a song. Part of the lyric said, "But deep down inside me, it really hurts so". I think it is true for some part of each of our lives. He spoke about the changes in the business of music. The subject of an artist "selling out" came up and Joe quoted Jim Hull(vibes). "I never sold out---because nobody asked!". Jackson Brown wrote "Lives In the Balance". Billie Holiday had the courage to record "Strange Fruit". Drew talked about the social revelance of both songs. Joe asked the question---can you read a novel in 3 minutes---think about it and the stories that have been told in 32 bars of music. Joe talked about the poet Walt Whitman and a poem he wrote about the Brooklyn Ferry.

Whitman wrote it not only for the readers of his day but for all the readers and ferry riders to come. The same holds true for some of the music we hear today. He and I chatted for a moment after the class. I learned a lot about life in our shared few minutes. Thank you, Joe.

(Click pic to enlarge)
My phone rings---it is our esteemed publisher, Charlie Boyer of JAZZ & BLUES Florida. He is in the southland for the Gold Coast Jazz Society season opening concert of The Frank Derrick Big Band. I agree to meet him at FishTales to hear Bobby Nathan and JoJo at their weekly 8pm-midnight blues jam. We order egg-drop soup which is not traditionally served in BLUES joints. It was the soup of the day, served hot and very good. Bobby and JoJo, along with Andy G(drums) and Gary Williams who is known to the BLUES world a "G-Money" on bass. They do two shuffle BLUES back to back, "Bright Lights, Big City" and "Sucking on a Tanqueray" to end the set. Hey you have to hear JoJo on that Hammond  sk l . The 2d set starts and the jam is on. Sergio is on bass and Barry sits at the kit. 
A Louis Jordan-like "If You don't Know How To Do It Yourself", "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" and my request for "Early In the Morning". Bobby steps out front to sing and play Charles Brown's unforgettable tune "Black Night". It is followed by another favorite of mine, "Don't You Lie to Me" and then "Two-timing Woman" this is a night for the BLUES. What follows was the treat of the night. Roscoe Martinez is in the house. 
It don't take long 'til he has the mic in hand and sings "I'm Going Down, Down, Down". Now that he has captured our attention he sits on the stage step, grabs Bobby's guitar (Bobby switches to the Hammond) and they do a soulful rendition of "The Wind Cries Mary".  
Bobby & Roscoe

Roscoe is an upside down(left handed) guitarist, which proves again that left-handers are brilliant folks. Still sitting on the steps Roscoe sings "If It Weren't For Bad Luck" and caps it all off with "There's A Train A'comin" Jacques and Martine have come in and do as Bluesy a dance as Roscoe sings the song.
Drew Pearson (guitar) joins the band for "Take Anything You Want" and then a Stevie Ray Vaughan' composition. 
Martine & Jacques
I cross the street to BJB's where Toni Nicolosi (guitar/vocals) is with Danny Burger (drums), Mitch Goldstein (Hammond) and Cody (bebop)Alan on sax and flute. Jack Seigel and his bride are in the audience along with Orlando Machado. Toni loves to do Sinatra songs and so he does "The Way You Look Tonight" to open the last set. Cody takes a tenor solo and manges to 'bop' the 'Ol' Blue Eyes' tune. Toni, next plays "Prelude To A Kiss" beautifully. He asks me if I know the title. I don't. He tells me. I tell him "Now I know." Cody uses his pipes and JAZZ style to sing the lyric to "Green Dolphin Street" along with an outstanding be-bop solo. Orlando joins the band for "Wonderful Things" with Cody taking a flute solo. Now they all turn be-boppers with "How High the Moon". Tony and Orlando trade a series of 4's. Each trying to outshine the other. What a contest. Danny returns for his closing favorite "Caravan" and doesn't disappoint with his solo-------I am out. Hi Tracy and flutes all the way homeWHAT A DAY !!!!

One more thing-----Thank You, Lord.

The end of the day and the start of a long way home...

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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