Friday, October 3, 2014

New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival - Allen Kanovsky's Review, Opinions and Insights

*Editor's note - The photos shown here are highlights to Al's coverage. Many more photos, video clips and commentary are being added daily to the photo blogs in previous entries. Regretfully, we couldn't make it everywhere, but we did our best. If we missed you or your favorite group, it was not intentional and we look forward to returning next year and starting at the other end of the list! Oh, yeah... photo credits: Debby Strickland took the good!
 Here are the links (or, scroll down!)

 Before I write a word...(And today Allen Kanovsky has many, many words about The New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 09/30/14

...about the music I heard or the musicians I listened to at the New Smyrna Beach JAZZ Festival I am gonna tell you about a guy. He's kind of short --- but he is a giant. Probably weighs about 145 --- but he is a heavyweight. I don't
know if he can leap over tall buildings --- but he is Superman. He has no top hat, cape or cane --- but he made magic. His name is Marc Monteson (in picture to right w/me) and he creates, promotes, and oversees the event. He started 14 years ago with 3 clubs participating. This year there were 25 venues. Getting 25 club/restaurant owners to agree on which artists, where or when they perform has to be no easy feat. Who gets the opening act and who gets the closer. I personally would rather do 7 to 10 with no possibility of parole.  It's a year's work and he starts all over again mid-October. This is not a paid gig. Thank you Marc for all the work and a great weekend! 

The kick-off Friday night was at Clancy's Cantina. Debby, Charlie and I arrived too late for the buffet but were amply supplied with plates of delicious Mexican
appetizers. The band was a quartet with Ray Guiser out front on tenor sax. John Pellegrino was on the bass, Kenny MacKenzie (piano) and on a drum kit with 5 cymbals was Steve Prince. We caught only the last two tunes which were "Skylark" and "Scrapple From the Apple". John's solo on "Scrapple" had me marveling at his finger work. 

Martine & Jacques caught up with us at SONAPA. Jacques is racing his Mazda RX7 in Daytona this weekend. Kayonne Riley and the Downtown Quartet are playing. We all shared some more great appetizers, listened to a couple of tunes and were off to listen to some BLUES at The Garlic. So much great music, food, and beverage, but so little time...

The Garlic was jammed but we cadged a table in time for the last 3 tunes of the night. I only got Mark Hodgsons name
(guitar/vocals/harp) but did not get the other two. They were worthy of mention and I am sorry. We listened to "Bad To the Bone" and then "We're Gonna Do A Ring Dang Doodle". It made for a rousing end to the evening --- I forgot to mention the desserts and I mean desserts -- WOW!!!

Saturday, I am up fairly early to catch Cafe Grass playing outdoors in a courtyard. They are a trio doing Gypsy JAZZ. Jon Leone plays mandolin, Martin Sensiper (guitar) and they added Ron Gilotti on bass. Their program ran from Django's "Minor Swing" and "Nu Age" all the way to a 'Bluegrass" tune titled "Blackberry Blossoms". In between some 30's swing with "Nobody's Sweetheart Now" and "Do Nothing 'til You Hear From Me". When you listen you can hear the relationship of all the genres. 

Now Charlie catches up with me back at Clancy's for Kid Dutch (tm) and his New Orleans Music. On drums Dennis Laak (hi-hat & snare), Jim Miller (bass), Russ Weaver (tenor sax), Martin Sensiper (now on banjo) and Kid Dutch playing
trumpet, flugelhorn and mini-tuba, all one handed. The last one handed trumpet player I heard play live was Wingy Manone, in Greenwich Village, maybe 1944. The band opens with Kid singing "You Ought To See the Mardis Gras". Then he does Louis Armstrong's composition "Hesitating Blues". They go all the way back to the 20's for "Ice Cream" and we are really in Dixieland. The music covers Hank Williams Sr. "Hey Good Lookin'" to Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" and all the way to Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison". We clap, we tap, we have a damn good time listening to this band. Additionally you can hire the Kid Dutch band to provide the music for a traditional New Orleans Funeral March, which might be my second choice if I don't go out the way I describe further below as my first choice...

Now down the street to the Flagler Tavern. Marty Morell and the M&M Latin Jazz Ensemble. Marty at the keyboards with his lovely wife Michika Otha Morell (congas/vocals), Jeff Rupert on tenor sax, Ben Kramer (bass) and John Jenkins
(drums/timbales). Anybody who knows anything about me knows about my love of Latin Rhythm. This band did not disappoint in any way. While Charlie and I were there they did a Marty original, "Summertime" sang by Michika and a traditional Cuban lullaby. And then salsa, muy caliente. Sauce, very hot. My feet and hips are in motion. There's a lady nearby --- "Pardon me, Miss, would you" --- she extends her arms and then we are on the floor. The girl can dance and I encourage her to "show'off'. She does. Then I do. Then we both do --- show off I mean. My sincere wish is I die on a dance floor with a beautiful partner crying over my still form and the band not missing a beat. The lovely lady's name is Gina Campbell (nee Lopez). More about this later. I am wearing down and need a break. 

There is an ice cream store on the corner next to the OM Bar & Chill Lounge. I
order two scoops in a cup. Chocolate & Butter Pecan. I need 2 scoops of ice cream like I need the ---p. But it was good and I read 3 chapters of an Ed McBain book while doing so. 

Now it was time for the "Cook Trio". Jason Cook (lead guitar), Ian Cook (rhythm guitar) and Kyle Jones (bass). My day started with Gypsy and would end with Gypsy. I like it. Martine and Jacques arrive just in time
and Sybil Gage and her husband have just finished their gig and join us for a 
couple of tunes. Charlie drags his butt in as well. Jason is a master of the
intricate 'gypsy' guitar riffs as they run through the entire litany of 20's and 30's Django, Jolson, swing and BLUES shows. My tail is dragging and I beg off after the first set and of course watching Martine and Jacques dance.

I rise with the sun on Sunday badly in need of a spicy Bloody Mary but it's only 6:15am. I remind myself it's Sunday so I get down on my knees and pray ---"Mercy, mercy, mercy. Lord have mercy on me!!!!!!!!!! Charlie and Debby are out shooting the sunrise, my need of an adult beverage is at the crisis stage. Finally at the point of no return Charlie says let's go, and we are off to the Spanish River Cafe. Debby leaves the morning drinking to us this particular time. 

We catch the last two seats at the bar at the Spanish River Cafe. Charlie doesn't want to have to show his ID so he orders a cranberry and soda. They don't dare ask me, not for a long time and so I get my badly needed "Bloody Mary". Our server is a very pretty gal, Katie, who had lived in St. Johns, USVI while Charlie lived there (I think). Anyway, beware of this young lady. She is a temptress and can lead you to a decadent life style. Innocently I ask, "What would you recommend with this Bloody Mary" I thought she might say "A short nap". Instead she says the 'Krispy Kreme and bacon Bread Pudding". I am old. I am fat. And am a total sucker for anything with more than 500 carbs. Thomas Jones (guitar/vocals) is performing with Tyler on percussion. We are in a far corner of the room. There's a lot of brunch time chatter so we don't get much of the music to listen to. We are impressed with the fact that management in most places have up-staffed and have all on the ball for service to Festival goers. Hey, places to go, people to see and so Charlie and I are off to the Outrigger. 

The Outrigger at the Marina on the north causeway. Nice place. Beautiful people. Right on the water, with a spacious deck and luxury yachts in their slips right there. I realize that I am not really happy being poor. 

It's the Robert Harris Trio playing. Robert on guitar/vocals, Jimmy Seay (bass) and Steve Takahachi playing a Roland V electronic drum set. The kit is great looking and the sound is true. The tunes they played had Latin, Caribbean and even some Detroit soul rhythm patterns. Jimmy was featured on a couple and he brought the bass to life. Charlie and I stayed through two sets and he decided we better head out to catch Josh Bowlus with Linda Cole before  I was no longer capable of driving --- or walking --- or even standing. 

We got to Norwoods safely. Again a full house but some nice people agreed to 'share' a table. I had just been seated when a woman came over, tapped me on the shoulder and complimented me on yesterday's mambo. It's so nice to be
remembered. One of the ladies we were sitting with is Beulah Mae. Beulah is a traditional BLUES pianist and has an album out titled "Hate To See You Go" and when they left those words were on my lips. Another lady comes over who asks if I am Cuban because of the way she saw me dance yesterday. If I made such a strong impression I might have to move here. Linda Cole is aglow in glittery make up as she sings "East of the Sun". Staying with that nice swing mood, she does "It Can Happen To You" and bounces right into "Love Is Made For You and Me". Along with Josh there is Claude Bass on bass (that's right) and Ben Adkins on drums. The tempo and mood picks up with "There's Good Rockin' Tonight" and then a hot BLUES "Right Down the Line". 

We hustle out of there because Nicole Henry (shown in photo with Marc Monteson and Sponsor Peter Puzzo) has an early (5pm) start at the Garlic. It's 5 of us. Debby & Charlie, Martine & Jacques and for balance, me. Nicole is also 5. She, James McCoy (bass), Mike Piolet (drums), Tim McCormack, (tenor) and Pete Wallace at the piano/keys. Nicole is wearing blue and white
waves. Tight and to the floor. She starts with "Sister Sadie" and here I am in love again. "Something Happens To Me" and then "Love For Sale". I played the latter at least 700 times between the middle of October 1947 to March of '48. It never sounded like the way Nicole does it. She takes it slow and easy giving each lyric line full meaning. Of course her version of "God Bless the Child" is beyond compare and "Running Out Of Fools" should be the handbook for girls who get phone calls from guys out of the past. "Love Potion #9" morphs into "Voulez Vous Couchez Avec Moi" and back. It's a night of good musicians, good music, good food, good friends and most of all Ms.Nicole Henry. 

I didn't get to see all of the guys and gals who played this weekend but as it said in an old song ---"Remember, there's always tomorrow...  

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?" 

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~
Posted by Jazz & Blues Florida
Please visit to see the scene.
Or, just use this FORM to sign up to have
Florida's jazz & blues news delivered to your inbox.
And, if you like what you see here, please HIT THAT FACEBOOK SHARE BUTTON below!

Did you know that as Florida’s ONLY promotion platform for live jazz & blues:
We have the only monthly publication dedicated to previews of upcoming jazz and blues shows in Florida at ?
We have the most comprehensive festival page for Florida jazz & blues at ?
We have the most complete listing of Florida jazz & blues performances at ?
We have the most comprehensive and active news blog for Florida jazz & blues news ?
We have the most complete and current listing of Florida jazz and blues links at ?
We have the largest email notification system for upcoming jazz and blues events in Florida?


  1. Is there an event this year?

  2. Yes, you can see all the Festival dates at: