Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"It was just one of those nights... (We are beginning to think EVERY Night is one of those nights for Allen Kanovsky!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/16/15

...Just one of those fabulous nights". 

Last night was a SOLD OUT celebration of the Miami JAZZ Co-op's 5th Anniversary. And believe me "It was just one of those fabulous nights". It looked to me like every South Florida JAZZ musician, his or her wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, niece, nephew and old uncle were there. Old cats, young cats, hip cats, cool cats, and most with hats, and Rick & Fran Katz. Lots of JAZZophiles including my blog sponsor Elaine Porteous and long-time friend Bette Forman. 

As I am oft to do I thought about other great Jam sessions of the past. 1952. Los Angeles. Western Ave. A BBQ restaurant, Glenns, morphs into an after-hours joint. Who's there? Half the Basie band. A couple of guys from the Kenton orchestra. 3 or 4 be-boppers. 63 years have flown by. JAZZ is still JAZZ and it still has me firmly in its musical grip. Upright bass strings and all. Frank Consola (WDNA 88.9FM) will be the M.C. and Matt Bonelli will keep things organized. The evening starts with a quartet, Dave Fernandez (tenor sax), Rodolfo Zuniga (drums),Eric England (bass) and Martin Bejerano at the keyboard. They start things off with "Remember" and that's what brought L.A. to mind. Dave and Martin's solos kick the evening off in a splendid way. A bop tune (title evades me) has Eric and Rudolfo showing they can "wow" an audience as well. Sandy Poltorak (guitar) is invited up to do a couple. He starts with "Sweet & Lovely". Another tune out of the history books. Everyone is catching the groove They trade 8's then 2's and back to 8's. Exciting. Staying in the past the do "Sweet & Lovely". Martin puts himself in the 5* category. Sandy stays with him. Next up was Manny Azabel.(not sure of the spelling). A young man playing alto sax. The group shows no fear and play Monk's "3 Chimneys". A challenge to any musician. Manny's solo is ethereal and is definitely in the "day after tomorrow" JAZZ mode. Eric, having played with Aaron Lebos is familiar with this stuff and shows off a bit. 

A woman, Rachel, is sitting nearby and is quite knowledgeable about JAZZ and in her earlier years was a vocalist. She is clappin' and tappin'. It's getting betterer and betterer with Wendy Pedersen & Lisanne Lyons coming on stage. Wendy says "You can't lose with the BLUES" and the sing the classic "Centerpiece". 

During Lisanne's portion she breaks out into an inspired scat line. Wendy is right there as well. Manny's alto adds a little more 'bop' to the BLUES. Martin & Rodolfo continue to show off. Carlo 'Magnifico' Araya (drums) and Tom Williams (bass) and Jim (the genius) Gasior are now onstage with Wendy. She opts for a song that the year I turned 16 I sang 4 times a night, 6 nights a week for 6 months. Do you think I remember the lyric? "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me". My drummer Earl Schiff (RIP) called it "Mister Saturday Dance". I have to admit that Wendy does it a whole lot better and I do mean better. Additionally she is the only one I know who can keep time with her big toe.

Wendy really JAZZed this tune up and had my heart smiling with a wailing scat line. Gary Keller (tenor sax) joined Lisanne when she returns to do "The Very Thought Of You". Memories of Flo & I slow dancing in supper clubs around the "Big Apple".
They bring out the 'birthday cake' and Wendy sings the song. Jim joins in and I wish he hadn't. 

Tom Lippincott (guitar) is next to sit in with Jamie Ousley on bass. He starts with "Green Dolphin Street" and you know, right off, the cat can play. Silvano Monasterios(piano) and Chris Burbank(trumpet) now join the group for a tribute to Arnette Coleman who, sadly, left us a few days ago. The tune was "When Did the BLUES Leave" . Eric, Tom and Rodolfo were outstanding on this tune. 

The fabled educator (retired) Brenda Alford is now on stage. there is no doubt you will be entertained. Lucian Williams will handle the guitar chores and the master musician Bryan Lynch willl let you hear some trumpet. Brenda starts it off swinging an up-tempo "Just In Time". Somebody has set back the musical time-clock. Is 'swing' really back in town. Well Bryan will prove it's only an illusion. You want be-bop, you want Bryan. A brilliant array of triples are soaring in the air. The rhythm section don't let Bryan off scot-free. They follow suit. Silvano, Eric and Rodolfo deliver the mail. Brenda does "The Nearness Of You" with Bryan and Gary Keller playing soft background. Again I am in memory heaven. Tom McCormick (tenor) who I haven't seen in a while joins the band along with Arvel Nakundi (drums). They will play with Judy Deece (vocals). Judy opens with a nice bouncy " Thought About You". If there had been room I would have had Bette up and dancing.
Jorge Garcia is now playing acoustic guitar. I can never say enough about this incredibly talented and imaginative musician. The band does an instrumental version of "Stella By Starlight. including fantastic solos all around. Judy returns to do "Tenderly". Jim accompanies Chris's trumpet and I am so glad I'm here to listen to it. Lindsay Blair (guitar) , Hannah Dolgin (sax) and a young man playing flugelhorn joined everyone else to close it down with a round & round "Blue Monk". 

It was one heck of a night of JAZZ. Thanks to all the musicians who continue to make my life so pleasurable.

Thanks also to George & Giselle. They enhance the evening with their presence.   

The party SOLD OUT. The concert scheduled for tomorrow night SOLD OUT even earlier. If you don't have your ticket, here is what you will miss:

The Miami Jazz Cooperative Fifth Birthday Benefit Concert - Five Sets of Jazz. SOLD OUT! 7pm Wine reception catered by Lovables, 8-10:30pm Concert, Thursday, June 18: SET 1- The MJC Directors: Chuck Bergeron, Joe Donato, David Fernandez, Jim Gasior, Gary Keller, Jamie Ousley, Wendy Pedersen, John Yarling, Nicole Yarling. SET 2 - Ariel Pocock and Aaron Lebos. SET 3 - Araya/Orta Latin Jazz Quartet. SET 4: Miami Saxophone Quartet. Set 5 - Shelly Berg

Lesson? Get involved, go to the Monday night rent parties, and make sure you are in-the-know when incredible events such as these are announced. They are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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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