Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Time After Time"...(Allen Kanovsky finds the great jazz happening in South Florida!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 01/16/14

...I take advantage of the opportunity to listen to Ira Sullivan, Chuck Bergeron, Brian Murphy, Mark Berner, John Yarling and Danny Burger. Wednesday I had the chance to double down. A Miami JAZZ Co-op noon time event at the Coral Gables museum and an evening performance at BJB's in Ft. Lauderdale. The lunch hour program was MJC's first of the season and the 46th of the series. It is a weekly event. There was an audience of over 100, including Melodious Mel Tipton, Joe Donato, Joel Kruger, Deborah & Duane Crisp, Donna Blue, Omar Madruga,  Mike Cady and the Coral Gables Mayor. The program opened with what I call the music for the day after tomorrow. Disonant, discordant, arrhythmic with no definitive time signature and very interesting to listen to. John Yarling (drums) showed what a percussionist can do when they are free from musical restraint. Ira described it a 'free' or 'avant garde'. I dislike the term 'avant garde'---out in front of the army---forward artillery observer---2 man scouting patrol---minesweeper before the advance---images of war.

The new JAZZ is as Ira said 'free'. Amen. They followed with a Borodin classical composition which was translated to "Strangers In Paradise". Ira played soprano sax and Brian did a very pretty piano solo. Mr. Sullivan calls his band the Inter/Outer Continental Quintet. Back on tenor sax, he and the band do "Hello Young Lovers" in pure be-bop. In a Latin vein playing flute with Mark Berner, the tune is "Quiet Nights".

A pretty gray haired woman, dances solo, behind the seated audience. Her name is Teresita Mestre and she loves dancing.  I think it was Brian's salsa laced solo that inspired her.  Ezzio Chaviano and Alexis Salas of Le Chat Noir, show up in time for "Jitterbugs Waltz". Chuck Bergeron (bass) and Brian shine with Ira on soprano sax. Ira and company play a JAZZy "Cry Me A River" and close the show with Ira and Marks traditional playing of Godspell's tune "Day By Day" transiting to "Amazing Grace". I always sing the lyric to "Grace" It is the story of the last 32 years of my life. I head home for a nap but am too "hyped" by the music, to sleep.

I get to BJB's in time to take advantage of "happy hour' pricing and hear the last few numbers by Jessi Campo and Jason Beach(JB). She sings, he plays tenor. She has a pleasant voice. He has sax chops. If they got rid of the tracks I could say really nice things about them.

Ira and the band come to the stage with Danny Burger replacing John Yarling on drums. The Wednesday show is titled The Danny Burger Showcase. There is not a seat to be had in the house. There isn't even a space to stand in. The servers are hard put to take or serve an order. Great JAZZ musicians playing to an audience of dedicated JAZZ listeners. Ira plays soprano on "The Summer Wind" which quiets the 'chatter boxes'. When switching to trumpet, mid-tune, Ira searches for his mute. He has difficulty in locating it. Of course it is right in front of him, in full view. Happy 82d, Ira. Getting back on tenor with a Duke Ellington composed BLUES he plays a lot of lower register bringing to mind Ben Webster. I have to say I have never heard so much music using just 3 chords. An up-tempo "The Way You Look Tonight" and then a flute duo with Mark on "Autumns Leaves". Ira leaves the stage to the trio and they play "Beautiful Love". Danny, Brian and Chuck are the kind of musicians that leave you wanting more of whatever they're doing. Ira returns on trumpet, playing "Solar"---pure be-bop.

At the onset of the2d set, Ira invites violinist Vitali Imereli up to jam with the band. Ira plays soprano and they do "The One and Only You", swinging it. The bop standard "Billie's Bounce" follows. Chuck does it on bass and it inspires them all. They go around twice and the audience is loving it. Vitali is a superb technician with Grapelli tinted chops. They offer up some Coletrane with "Giant Steps" and "Naimi". Ben Stocker(tenor sax) and his Dad,Mike get there in time to hear all of the 2d set. Ira and Mark repeat their afternoon performance of "Quiet Nights". There is no room for any one to dance. The last set has Ira doing another be-bop trumpet solo on "Brothers". They close the show with Ira's traditionals-------'and now I see.'

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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