Sunday, May 24, 2015

It's Saturday and...(And Allen Kanovsky is making every day count at Jax Jazz Fest)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 05/24/15

...the kids are at it again. 

Competing, I mean. This time it's for geetus, green, dough, folding. First place $1,000.00. That's a 'G' where I come from. $750 for 2nd and $500 for third. The awards are to be used exclusively for furthering their musical education. Contestants included groups and soloists. I must confess that I was a bit jaded by my having attended the Essentially Ellington Competition a couple of weeks ago.

In order of appearance we had JAZZ Infusion. a trio of 14 year old girls. Kayla N. Graves(t-Bone), Miranda Whiteman(alto sax) and Jenna Wolbers(tenor sax).  The played 2 bop lines. Next was Pranti Kudre(14) who sang "All I Could Do Was Cry" and "Blue Skies". Following was a vocal trio, Catching Karma, singing and playing in Dixieland style, "That's Life" and "Rising Sun". Michaela Rowe sang "All I Could Do Was Cry" and "Stormy Weather". Up to this point I didn't think I had heard much JAZZ outside of the first group who played from charts.That would change with the appearance of Skylar Nolan(15), I remembered him from last year. No music stand. Just an alto and soprano sax. First he played "Autumn Leaves"and then on soprano "Amazing Grace". His emotional "Amazing" brought tears to my eyes. Marisa Webster 18, a trumpet soloist, impressed me with her tone, technique and articulation. She also played with no sheet music. A 'home-schooled 18 year old Katherine Kincaid sang a Gospel tune "Who Will Come For Me" and "Love That Will Last". 

I was thirsty and hungry and missed the JAZZ Jet Trio and Azalea Pratt. 

Returned for Jason Puthusserth who did 2 standards. Sydney Leiser 15 sang "Beware MyFoolish Heart" and "It's Cool To Fall In Love". Carley Stickney was last to perform singing "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Sentimental Journey". The judges Deborah McDuffie, Joy Dennis and Timothy Snyder would now choose the five finalists who would then play 1 song each for the final decision. Up first was JAZZ In Fusion doing "One Note Samba" from charts. Michaela Rowe sang "But A Change Will Come". Skylar Nolan stayed in the JAZZ genre with "Billies Bounce". Marisa Webster sang "Cherokee" and Sydney Leiser did "Summertime". First place went to a deserving Skylar Nolan. Sydney Leiser took 2nd with JAZZ in fusion taking 3d. I refuse to write negative reviews so I will not critique the performances. 

I would be remiss in not mentioning Skylar's performance. In one word "OUTSTANDING". His parents encourage his interest in JAZZ. He should have won last year also. The rhythm section for the contestants was the John Lumpkin Trio. They will appear at the Omni's JAZZ Brunch today. 

Back to the hotel for a nap, a beverage and a snack. Soft pillow, Tito's on the rocks and crispy french fries in that order. Now Maceo Parker Funky & Fun. Funkier and funnier. Funkiest and funniest. Two vocalists ??? Fontaine & Darleen Walker brought the crowd, and I mean crowd to their feet. JAZZ? I don't know. Maybe!!.I know I was tappin' and clappin'. 

They were followed by Scott Bradlee's PostModern Jukebox (As featured in the current issue of JAZZ & BLUES Florida). Singers, tap-dancer, bassist singing. Flappers to Hipsters. Definitely a show band putting on a show.

I might be spoiled having listened to youngsters early on. Kids like Tony Madruga, David Leon, Patrick Bartley, Christopher Cummings, Ben Stocker, Ian Munoz and many others. I need a JAZZ fix early. Maybe the Omni JAZZ brunch and the John Lumpkin Trio to thank them for the job they did with the kids.     

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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