Sunday, February 2, 2014

R-E-S...(Sing along with Allen Kanovsky, Nancy Kelly, Danny Burger and Alyona Ushe at Arts Garage!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 02/02/14

...P E C T and not just a little bit. Respect is what artists get from the audience when they perform at Arts Garage. Last night the Garage was sold-out. The tables laden with everything from expensive wines to Bud Light, from salade nicoise to cheese & crackers. Good friends and music lovers were there for a performance by JAZZ vocalist Nancy Kelly. Prior to Nancy taking the stage there was conversation and good-fellowship coursing through the room. When the music started the audience closed that down and gave their total attention to the musicians on stage. Ms. Kelly had stars up there with her. On piano, Mike Orta, Paul Shewchuck on bass and brush master Danny Burger at the trap set. This show of r e s p e c t was well deserved. Nancy has everything a JAZZ vocalist has to have. Range, creativity, vocal strength, sensitivity and stage presence. She opened with "I Love Being Here With You" using some deep-throated raspy tones. Mike gets a chance to show his exceptional talent when Nancy sings "Watch What Happens" and he has a solo section. 'Swing' is in the house. She pays homage to Peggy Lee when she does "Day In, Day Out" and follows with Billie Holiday's plaintive "Don't Explain" during which she displays her extensive range. Paul also had a chance at 'showing off' his terrific rhythmic sense. There is a young lady in the audience, about my age, who is celebrating her birthday. Her name is Pam Kolzim. Nancy does the birthday song and we all wish Pam, Many Happy Returns. Nancy doesn't leave Anita O'day out when she decides on "Let Me Off Uptown". I am there with the lovely Jackie Deering. She and I enjoying dancing together. We are bopping in our seats. There was no room to dance in the packed house. Paul & Danny do some really nice work with Nancy scatting along. Nancy credits Eddie Jefferson with the parody lyric "Benny's From Heaven". I first heard 'blue' comedian B.S. Pully do it in 1947. Ms. Kelly intones trombone sounds from top to bottom. Danny uses his brush handles while Nancy sings the ballad "Shadow of Your Smile. She switches moods with the 'bop' standard "Billies Bounce". She can bop and she can bounce. The tune and lyric are done at break-neck speed.  "On A Clear Day" combines with "Come Back To Me". Nancy understands the use of dynamics in voice and it is clearly displayed in these 2 tunes. Changing rhythms they do the 'bossa nova' "Looking At You". She does not leave the BLUES out and does "When You Get In, Make Sure You Gonna Get Back Out".

The 2d set opens with "New York State of Mind" with an exceptional Shewchuck solo. Did you ever hear "Misty" done as a bouncy swing tune? You would have if you had been here. They get back to BLUES with "Since I Fell For You". Nancy recognizes that the BLUES is the root of all of America's popular music. 'Bop' is back in town with Nancy doing "Janine" during which Danny does some fancy work including blowing the tom-toms up. They do "I'll Get Ready" and close the show swinging, bouncing and bopping "Summertime" A really unusual variation of the tune.Mike Orta's solo displayed the exceptional talent of the maestro.

I want congratulate Alyona Ushe on the magnificent work that she has done in creating this wonderful Art venue which now includes not only music and art but theater as well. Let us all give her a big 'hand'.    

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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