Friday, June 19, 2015

There I go...(Allen Kanovsky went to Miami Jazz Co-op's Anniversary Concert)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/19/15

...I did it again. Yep! I deleted my notes for last night's MiamiJAZZ Co-ops Anniversary Gala. I was so proud of myself. Copious notes had been taken. Artists, song titles, composers. All listed and on my Android. Shelly Berg playing the last few bars of "Get Me To The Church On Time" and then it happened. The big fat thumb of the little fat jerk found the delete icon and the next thing on the screen is "there are no notes on this page". 

Fortunately, the program was so amazing that I remembered most of what had happened. From memory here it is. Bette Forman(Arts Garage volunteer & fellow JAZZophile) did the driving and we got to the Steinway Piano Gallery in plenty of time for some wine & hors d'ouvres. The M.C. for the evening would be the very Real Tracy Fields. Tracy introduced Mr. Douglas Thiel (Manger) who welcomed us and the MJC. He spoke a few words about the Steinway & Sons history and the recently arrived (from Germany) grand piano that would be used this night. 

The first group on stage was The MJC Directors(past & present). It started with a quartet. Chuck Bergeron(bass)Jim .(piano),Gary Keller(tenor sax) and John Yarling(drums). Then David Fernandez(soprano sax), Jamie Ousley(bass) and Wendy Pedersen stepped in followed by Nicole Yarling and finally making an appearance, clad in black & gold Mr. Joe Donato playing a curved soprano sax. The reason there are no song titles listed is because of the G-D delete button and its buddy my thumb. Next up was Ariel Pocock(piano/vocals) with James Suter playing bass. Arial is young and unique. Her voice, rich. Her piano, just JAZZy enough. Her stage presence, way beyond her years. She did three tunes(blame the delete thing). A vocal at the keyboard, an instrumental and to close a stand-up vocal. She and I look forward to her future in JAZZ. 

Next up were the "Four Brothers". Nooooo - not the Woody Herman sax section. It was brothers Mike(piano) and Nicky(guitar) Orta plus CarloMagno Araya(drums) and his brother Ramses(congas). Their first tune, done to traditional 'Danzon' rhythm was, as translated "Later Will Be Too Late", Danzon changes rhythms form almost bolero to almost salsa and is a challenge to any rhythm section. The next song was a Gerry Neiwood(saxophonist with Chuck Mangione) composition titled "Joy". Very complex rhythmic and melodic lines. They all did one heck of a job. 

Another quartet followed. This time the "Miami Saxophone Quartet" The Msrs. Ed Calle(tenor sax), Gary Keller(saxes), Gary Lindsay(alto sax) and Mike Brignola(baritone sax). They opened with an Ed Calle composition which gave them all a chance to show off just a bit. The quartet had the addition of Jim Gasior at the 88, Chuck Bergeron(bass) and Carlomagno on drums for just this one number. Their next song was "Little Feats" written by a friend of Gary's and based on the chords of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps". A trip way back in time for Jelly Roll Morton's "Black Bottom Stomp" had the house rockin'. 

The final group had Shelly Berg on piano, Chuck Bergeron(bass) and John Yarling(drums). All the tunes Shelly had chosen were from the musical "My Fair Lady". To say Shelly is animated would be a gross understatement. First off, he is as dynamic a pianist as you will ever hear. He not only uses the piano pedals, he tap dances, while seated as well. It is easy to see that he enjoys every note he plays and that is infectious. "I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face" & "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" were the first two. The melody is fun. The lyric is fun. and the way Shelly played it was way out beyond fun. I'm talking about "Get Me To the Church On Time". It was fantastic. Rousing, roaring piano work. With Shelly and the whole audience enjoying every single note 'til the very last one. During the course of the evening, Rick Katz, being ever so gracious, recognized Steve, Giselle and I for our volunteer work for the Miami JAZZ Co-op. 

Thank you Rick and thanks to all the members of the MJC for making my life a wonderful musical trip.  

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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