Wednesday, January 29, 2014

About one thousand years ago...(They weren't even thinking about The Miami Saxophone Quartet, were they Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 01/29/14

...this guy was in the 2d grade. One of the things they taught was Music Appreciation. "Liebestraum", Lizst and Chopin. Spring nights, his sisters, in the guise of baby-sitting bundled him up, threw him in the rumble seat of a Chevy and took him to music appreciation at the Glen Island Casino---Goodman, Dorsey, Basie, Herman and that's the music I came to really appreciate. Last night at UM my love of music was reinforced with a performance by the Miami Saxophone Quartet. Gary Keller (flute/soprano sax/clarinet), Gary Lindsay (alto sax/clarinet) Dr. Ed Calle (tenor sax) and Mike Brignola (baritone/bass sax) make up the horn section --- as Gary K. said "Who needs trumpets and trombones?" The rhythm section has Jim 'the genius' Gasior on piano, the incomparable Chuck Bergeron and "Sticks" John Yarling at the trap set. They had guests, Sam Pilafian (tuba) joined in on a couple. Rene Luis Toledo (flamenco guitar), Tany Gil (congas/castanets) and Raymer Olalde (cajon/bongos/timbales) joined in on Dr. Calles composition "Iberian Suite". The quartet(sans rhythm section) opened the program with "America, the Beautiful." It was arranged by Gary Lindsay and first played a few weeks after 9/11. It is a moving piece and was played with emotion. They followed with a Gary Lindsay composition, "Intoxicated Rag", with Sam joining in on tuba. At one point of the tune, there was a unison of bari sax and tuba --- very interesting. Next another Gary L. original, titled "Pilgrimage". It was a piece commissioned by an upstate N.Y. High School. "Pilgrimage" is written in 3 movements. Each of which presented more complex melodic and rhythmic lines. I found it difficult to identify the time signature but I finally settled on 3/4----maybe. The rhythm section joins the "Quartet" for Dr. Calle's "Dancing On A Cloud". It swings. I'm back in that rumble seat in the parking lot of the Glen Island Casino. I must say, I marvel at the talent on the stage. They play, they teach, they compose, they arrange. I know how to spell my name! Another Lindsay tune, in 2 movements, "Lost(and Found). Gary K. was right. These 7 musicians project the sound of a 16 piece 'big band'. Mr. Bergeron really delivered with his solo portion. The saxes take a break, leaving Jim, Chuck and John on stage to do a Jim (the genius) tune "The Foster Rag". This ain't no 1900 rag-time. This is here and now. Recognizing the past but seeing the future. Jim and Chuck trade 8s with John to bring it to a rousing finish. I am seated alongside Jim's wife Peggy. I ask her how difficult it is to be married to a genius. Her reply was memorable. "It is difficult. It's called LOVE". Every man should be fortunate enough to be married to a woman who would make that kind of statement. Seated on my other side was Jeannette Pina. Her ex-husband was a trumpet player --- enough said. Sam returns for a Gary L. arrangement of "I'm All Smiles". The arrangement goes from waltz to swing and back. Mike is now playing bass sax and the blend of tuba/bass makes for very enjoyable listening. Dr. Calles "Iberian Suite" is next on the play list. Messrs. Olalde, Gil and Toledo join the band. Rene plays a flamenco guitar intro to a salsa tinged first movement "Midnight Rhumba". Raymer is playing the 'cajon'. I am always amazed at the sounds you can get out of a "box". Clave has a tendency to make you move to the rhythm. I notice that Gary L. is doing a little shoulder shaking and foot movement in time. Even during his solo. The 2d movement "Siesta" is 'muy romantico' and featured flamenco guitar. We are returned to the streets of Spain with "Pamplona". The stirring sounds that envision the running of the bulls and the sounds of 'habanera'. This has Tany doing an impressive job on castanets. Dr. Calle is never lost when the music is inspired by his heritage. Jim 'the genius' is featured on the next number, "A Child Is Born" written by Thad Jones and arranged by Gary Lindsay. The quartet now has Ed on Soprano, Gary K. on flute, Gary L playing clarinet and Mike Brignola on bass sax. The exceptional talent of these musicians is on full display. 

Chucho Valdez composed "Mambo Influenciado" and Gary Lindsay charted this arrangement. The quartet returns to the original conformation with Raymer now playing timbales. I realize now, why Gary L. was shakin' it during "Midnight Rhumba". "Clave" has taken over his 'alma'. A great performance of talent.

Music Appreciation. That's what it is all about. And that's how I roll!!!!!  

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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