Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Miami JAZZ Co-op...(...has Allen Kanovsky's wholehearted endorsement!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/23/15

...made Monday nights destination decision easy. The Orta Araya Latin JAZZ Quartet with Othello Molineaux as guest artist at the Open Stage in Coral Gables. When I arrived "mi familia Latina", Cathy Orta (the Mom), Debbie Orta (Nicky's wife) and Luz Marina SalAzar (Mikes gal) were already seated and imbibing at a table up-front. Bill & Capt. Bob were in the house as well. The band has Mike Orta (piano), Nicky Orta (elecrtic Bass) Carlomag(nific)o Araya on drums and Ramses Araya on Latin percussion including cajon. Othello plays---no he doesn't play---he is dead serious and very creative on 'steel pan'. 

The Quartet is as 'tight' a band as you will ever hear. Precise would probably describe their performance. Layers of rhythm that seem to be the signature of Latin music. Mike's piano playing is flawless. Nicky's bass is often beyond the limits of the instrument. Carlo adds punctuation in every drum stroke. Ramses conveys the heartbeat of Latin JAZZ. The tunes they payed in the first set, are on their latest album and included, "Obsession", "Tres Palabres"(Without You), "Veranda" and  "Para Luego es Tarde"---Later Is Too Late. Othello joined in for the 2nd set. My experience with 'steel pan' goes back to days of Calypso when the instrument was made from an oil drum and the lyrics were 'racy' to say the least. Tunes like "Belly to belly, Back to Back" and "Drive it home". Othello is a JAZZ man in the true sense of the word. Playing one of the most difficult to play instruments he is as imaginative as anyone you've ever heard. 

They open the 2nd set with Ellington's "In A Sentimental Mood". The only 'sentiment' was great JAZZ. Carlo described it best when he used the word 'synergy'. The union of thought between individuals. I looked around the room and spotted Jack Siegel, Tom McCormick, Keanu, Aldo Salvent (with the most beautiful Adela), Rey Monroig and Jose Heredia. Elaine Porteous  (my sponsor) joined us in time to hear "Body & Soul". This rendition of the JAZZ classic went from 4/4 to samba to bolero, back to samba, then bolero again. Each of the band members delivering wonderful solos while expressing the deep emotion of the tune itself. Next they did a super up-tempoed "I'll Remember April"----grab your seat and hold on to your hat-----Carlo & Ramses get a featured section. Drums, congas, cowbells, cymbals, bongos, snare, cajon---round and round we go. Now the Jam is on. Keanu, Rey, Jose and Tom will all join in. Want to pick tunes for a JAZZ Jam? What better three than "Caravan", "Cherokee" and Joco Pastorius' "The Chicken". 

At the end, everyone in the audience were on their feet, cheering those on stage. Well deserved. Rick Katz and the Miami JAZZ Co-op honored my contributions to the organization by gifting me with a poster for the 5th Anniversary Jam signed by all those who performed that night. It will be treasured. 

A side-note to Ms. Rita Wilburn: Dear Rita(my weekend woman) your facebook message implied that you would be at a club on 33St. in Ft. Lauderdale. I jumped in my 'short' and broke every speed limit to get there before closing. I wanted to deliver the BLUES lyric I wrote specifically for you. I am now contemplating using it to light a --------. To quote an old song "Use Your Imagination". 

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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