Monday, February 17, 2014

...and what he does...(Allen Konovsky mixes and matches his jazz & blues by ending a blues fest day with Nicole Henry's show.)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 02/17/14#2 night. How about Ms. Nicole Henry who is in town? The first time I heard Nicole was shortly after my arrival in South Florida in '06. Right off, I knew this young lady had a destiny of stardom. She had recently chosen JAZZ as her genre and was experimenting with melodic, rhythmic and lyric lines. Each time I saw her the presentation was more polished and effective than before. From the Van Dyke(R.I.P) in Miami Beach to Feinsteins in New York. From Blue Jeans Blues in Ft. Lauderdale to the Blue Note in Manhattan. Singing twice at the Cabaret Awards in Lincoln Center AND The Star Spangled Banner at the Orange Bowl in 2010. Growing as an artist with every performance. Last night I had the privilege to hear her once again. It was at the Coral Springs Art Museum in the Rrazz Room. The setting an art gallery arranged as a JAZZ club. The room filled with JAZZophiles and Ms. Henry's fans. The band backing Nicole had Pete Wallace (piano), Eric England (bass), Mike Piolet (drums), Tom McCormack (tenor sax), Cisco Dimas (trumpet) and Ruben Caban (trombone). The music started with a clave laced tune and Nicole displaying her sexy but playful side. Continuing her playful role, Nicole sings "Who Wants To Help Me Burn My Candle". It is just post-Valentines Day and her program is based on a 'love' theme. A little patter about her 1st boyfriend(10th grade) Fred and then "The Look Of Love". Cisco does a flugelhorn solo which has the mellow tone of 'amour' about it. She swings into "The Best Is Yet To Come", doing interesting things with the rhythm of the song and retarding the lyric line ever so slightly. Cisco on flugelhorn and Tom switching to flute, intro the next tune ""Somebody Walked Into My Life". Going back to the '20s Nicole does the Gershwin tune "Someone To Watch Over Me". If you are anywhere close to being the romantic type, her rendition will bring a tear to your eye. Tom's tenor solo contributed to the sentiment of the song and Nicole's dramatic closing bars added an exclamation point. Seated at my table is a young man who had never heard Nicole before. His name is Raul Alvarez and he had come from Miami on a recommendation of a friend. As the program progressed I could tell he was becoming more and more enthusiastic about Nicole's performance. He leaned over and said "She is the next Whitney Houston"-----I thought to myself, "Nicole is not the next anything. She is Nicole Henry. The one and only. The original model. The ever evolving JAZZ artist who is constantly refining and redefining her artistry."  They 'jump' "Falling In Love With Love", A Rogers and Hart song from the 30's. Mike Piolet does an interesting brush work solo on the tune. Nicole switches eras and song modes easier than I do dance partners. The next 2 featured solos by Ruben and then Pete. The latter was "Little Bee" which tells the story about love and pain. A note: all the musicians on stage including Nicole are products of the UM music program. Nicole continued with "Just A Little Loving" with solos by Ruben and Cisco. Nicole touched everyone in the audience with "You Must Be Running Out of Fools" and completely captured us all with her and Pete doing "She's Got A Way", a Billy Joel tune. "Take Me Back To A World Full Of Love" reminded us all of the parental caring which shaped our lives. The room comes to life with 2d line rhythm of New Orleans. The horns competing for the top of the line, drums pushing that infectious beat, piano skittering along and above it all Nicole's voice singing "It Won't Be Long". It brings everyone out of their seats, clappin' tappin' and shakin' it. Closing notes: While I was waiting to say goodnight, a couple, Joe & Theresa Beditz, approached Nicole. They were celebrating their anniversary and Nicole had sung at their wedding 4 years ago that night. What a great way to remember. While Nicole was in New York, the Friars Club gave her the "Sing For Your Supper Award" which is named for Frank Sinatra, its first recipient. It is not often that the Club honors anyone except comedians. It shows how far along she has come. If you love JAZZ vocalists don't miss an opportunity of listening to Nicole-----LIVE. 

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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