Tuesday, January 14, 2014

For a good time...(Call Allen Kanovsky FIRST!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 01/14/14

...Call Noreena Downey. A bunch of folks had a good time with Noreena last night and they didn't have to call. Ms. Downey was on stage in Ft. Lauderdale accompanied by Jaui Schneider(piano), George Mazzeo(drums) and Jeff Carswell(bass). Noreena is a JAZZ singer. In The Apple you would be paying a $35 cover(per set) to listen to her at the Blue Note or Metropolitan Room. Her interpretations and rhythmic sense makes for an exceptional listening experience. Management had requested that Ms. Downey do "dance" numbers. The first set had a mix of standards and 'Top 40'. As anyone who has been in a joint with me knows I like to dance. Fortunately, or vice versa, I don't own a white, vested suit. Also I bear no resemblance to John Travolta in any way. And I find 40 anything, except females, boring. Noreena and the band start the set with "I'm So In Love With You". I almost fell asleep. I come back to full awareness when they follow with "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To". There are 4 star solos all around. The dreaded "40" returns with Al Jarreau's "We're In This Together". My yawn is stifled when they count off and play "No Moon At All". "I'll Be There" has me in a quandary, part JAZZ, part disco. She redeems herself by a scat intro to "All Or Nothing At All" with a Latin beat. No one in the joint has gotten up to dance so Noreena and I break the shut-out. It's a moonlit night but Noreena's "Stormy Weather" brings the BLUES to town. Jaui's solo has a lot of "after hours". A guy who also has no resemblance to the movie star, requests Steely Dan's "BackTrack". She accepts the request but she does it 'her way'. Then swing into "Kansas City". Jaui plays a little boogie and they give George a chance to show off. And he does. The 2d set started with the rhythm section playing a kind of funky bossa, if there is such a thing. A real easy tempo as Noreena sings "Look For A Silver Lining". From 'Porgy and Bess', Noreena chooses "Summertime", but this ain't your Grandmas song. This is 'Summa'time'. A solid funky beat and after a chorus, Noreena scats her way into a 'solid' JAZZ mode. In my opinion "You Don't Know What Love Is" may be her best song. She breaks Bill's heart and it's his curfew time. Ain't nobody who don't like "Bye Bye Blackbird" even the band. Jaui wants to play "Bebe" to show his chops. Noreena does some unison work and then he is off on his own. "Have You Met Miss Jones" finally has couples up and dancing including Noreena and I and I and Carmen ci'ta. Carmen was at one time the vocalist with the Tito Puente band. Her fiancĂ©e is Jose Emilio Valenzuela who plays drums. He is also a better dancer than me.  An emotional "Use Me Up" ends the set.

Mike Murk and Lucy have returned from an Australian boat buying trip and join Babette at the bar. Mark has just picked up his Dad at the airport and are enjoying the music as well. The last set has all the remaining customers up and dancing to an instrumental salsa tune. "Besame Mucho", "God Bless the Child", "How Long Has This Been Going On", "Mean To Me", "Mascarena",  and "On The Street Where You Live" keeps us all on the dance floor. Noreena is singing and I'm trying to figure it out. Hmmmm. The tune is vaguely familiar but------rhythm different----melody restructured-----"Smooth Operator"------
only Noreena coulda done it. Mike and Lucy show me the pictures from Australia and photos of the "BOAT". I have been officially hired on as 'cook', pot washer and deck swabber.      

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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