Monday, December 9, 2013

I know you can...(Allen Kanovsky knows he can!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 12/09/13 or you wouldn't have got this far. Do you know that you can record football games on your TV. Do you also know that you can't record live performances without being there. Why this diatribe? Because despite my disclaimer, I do promote. I promote the idea of supporting live BLUES & JAZZ , and the musicians and clubs that provide it. I'd rather have an adult beverage in my hand than my fingers on the remote

Last night, I, my friend Bill and his pal Capt. Bob were members of a small audience at Jakes Speakeasy JAZZ Lounge. There were a few JAZZ students from FIU including Heliette U. who , like I was taking notes.

I walked in as Noreena Downey was singing "You've Changed", On keys was Jeff Padowitz and George Mazzeo was playing drums. A perfectly matched trio. Next, she did "Almost Like Being In Love". I am an 'old dog' who has been walked around the block a time or two. I sat, deep in a leather lounge and felt myself falling in love with that voice. 'You're kidding me'. No, I'm not. Pederson, Alford, Henry, Valentin, Ampo, Paiva, have all captured my musical heart at one time or another. Each have their own voice and style. Last night, to that sparse audience, Noreena had it all. The magic that makes a performance a once in a lifetime happening. An audience member requested "Girl From Ipanema". A question about the key and off they were. Ms. Downey has captured the art of retarding , slightly, the lyric line. I find it adds to the JAZZ stylings of any vocalist. She does "God Bless the Child". You don't hear a Billie Holiday version. You hear pure Noreena Downey and a great solo by Jeff. A young guitarist, Albert Moncada and an old JAZZ ( and blues! cb) veteran, Jerry Mascaro (bas/keys/vocals) have come in and will play during the 2d set. Jeff and George start the set off, instrumentally with "I Remember You" and "Easy To Love". Those 2 tunes, done by Chet Baker were among Flo's favorites and memories of she and I, together, lightened my mood. Noreena returned with another of Billie's songs, "Good Morning Heartache", Again it is not Billie's voice. It is all Noreena including one of her creative song endings. Albert Moncada joined in and you could hear the distinct Django/gypsy influence in his playing. The next song was a swinging "Come Rain or Come Shine". Noreena and George did a really hip drum/voice interlude that had me tappin'& clappin'. After that, a tune I haven't heard anyone do in a long time. "In My Solitude". I am seriously considering asking her to marry me but "Just In Time" I remembered my dear Mother's warning about 'chick' singers. "Sonny boy", she admonished, "You'll end up driving her around, smoking dope and drinking bourbon whiskey". She was right about a couple of things.  Flo didn't sing or drive. Rose drove but didn't sing. Scatting her way in to "All Or Nothing At All" and they are really in a groove. Now a 'bossa', "Promises" that has a beautiful lyric even in 'anglaise'. "You Are So Beautiful To Me", "Our Love Is Here To Stay" and the Beatles "I Give My Love to You' almost has me back on bended knee. A jumping "Bye-Bye Blackbird" brings me back to reality. 

The band takes a break and I chat with Alex(Jake's prop.) about business. JAZZ is a tough 'gig'. Especially for the club owners. Only the boldest and bravest survive. Suddenly I hear a strange voice and a tune from back in my 52d St. days. It is something that Lambert, Hendrix and Ross did way back then. It is titled " Doodling" and if a title ever described a melody, this is it. Jerry is singing. I thought it was only horn players who thought they could sing. He follows with lyrics to Monk's "Straight No Chaser". The only thing that saved him from my shooting him in the heart was I liked his selections. Thankfully Jerry gives up the mic for the bass and Jeff does his thing with "When I wish Upon A Star" followed by all of them doing Jose Feliciano's "Aftermath". Noreena sings "All The Things You Are", scatting it all the way through. "The joint is jumping'. In the background I hear bongos. I turn around. There's a guy, bongos between his knees, playing appropriate rhythm patterns. His name is Vewiser Taylor. He is nice to talk to, with a good sense of humor and I hope I meet him again. "Moondance" bongos, keys, drums, bass and Noreena and the night draws down. They play a few bars of clave and Noreena and I do a little dance floor baking.

Does anybody know a reliable jeweler? Just in case I need to buy a ring. I know, Mom. I know!       

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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