Monday, June 15, 2015

Today's review is written in...(By Allen Kanovsky in many tongues, and many locations...)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/15/15

...the voice of Damon Runyon. I was and am a great fan of his and I dedicate the following to his memory. 

So, me and a coupla guys, namely Ken Burkhart and Tony Messina are sitting outside of a favorite haunt. We are discussing various subjects such as dolls, music, dolls, the Anzio beach head and dolls. Ken and Tony besides being pals of mine are musicians. Ken plays keyboards and Tony mouths the harp. After dolls the most important subject of the conversation is music. This and that. Owners, gigs, low pay, not enough work. These topics have been in the musicians conversational litany since time began. 

There's a band playing inside the establishment. I mention the leaders name and Tony sez he is of the opinion that "The cat is cool". 

It is not in my natural way to be critical of musicians as I never could play well myself. Tony sez "cool". I say "square". So square that he has more right angle corners than Times Square. The discourse gets hot. Tony is talking with his hands in motion. He is Eyetalian(and you know how they are). I am of Hebraic heritage so I also talk with manual emphasis. He stands. I get up. Tony juts his chin at me and does that thing with his hand under his chin. Kenny starts to get between us but not in time to stop me from punching Tony in the chops. Tony responds, in kind by delivering one to my solar plexus. I grab him around the neck and pull him to me. I get a whiff of his after-shave. I got him in a hammerlock and I ask him what it is. He can hardly speak as I am holding him in a firm grip. "Francine bought it for me for Valentine's Day". I let go. "Francine?"
"Yeah, her". "Valentines Day?"  "Yeah, that's what I said". "I only got a funny card" . "So". I let go and we sit down. "What makes you think he's cool?"  "He's intelligent, he is talented and he talks nice." "So do I" --- "Yeah, but you're fat". 

I started to get up again but then said to myself "We've been pals for 18 years and I am fat". So instead I say, "Short, fat, cool & hip". Tony sez "Al, you're right". And we walk across the street to listen to some BLUES.

Now it's the real me, still short, fat, cool & hip. On stage is Brian Klein, singing and playing guitar. He is well known in the BLUES community for his compositions. Brian is playing "Take It To Town". He continues with his "Crime of the Century". Brian has great rhythmic sense in his lyric lines. He has written the song "Sway" and influenced by his life in Nevada he wrote "Reno"
with which he concluded his program. 

Okay! You want to hear a BAND. Listen to this line up. Left to right: Kilmo Doome(bass/vocals), Raiford Starke(lead guitar/vocals), Jimmy Fiano(bass/vocals) and behind them all John Yarling(drums) No, thankfully John doesn't sing. Kilmo's childhood friend and fellow musician died a few days ago and so they dedicate the first tune, "I Got A Lot Of Rhythm & BLUES", to him. Jimmy steps to the front to do "In the WeeWee Hours of the Morning". Raiford and Kilmo deliver really nice solos. Raiford takes up the vocal chores with "I Just Wanna Be Your Lovin' Man" and does a 5* solo besides. They play some funk which I know but can't identify----no, so far I've only had one beverage. Kilmo sings "Howls" to Raifords crying guitar. Jimmy gets one more vocal chance with "I Believe My Child Is Gone". 

Tony, I and his pal Tom, walk back across the street to listen to 'some' JAZZ. I italicized JAZZ because what Eric and the JAZZers do is JAZZ sometimes and other times it's just plain fun.Last night was special in some ways. Eric had added a bass guitar(Sergio) and melody guitar(Gino). As usual he had Ken Burkhart on keys, Yamin Mustafa on trumpet, Juju Johnson(sax/flute) and Doc at his great kit. Yvette Norwood-Tiger will handle the vocalizing. Hey, a rare treat, Babette returned to action last night and it was great seeing her up, not really up but in her chair and smiling, and about. Yamin opened with "Tenderly" and played it just that way. Sergio and Gino paired up for "Satin Doll". Yvette got up to sing "Green Dolphin Street" followed by a swinging "All Of Me". That tune holds some wonderful boyhood memories for me. "Blue Skies" and Juju shows what JAZZ tenor is all about. During "It Feels So Good" Yamin quotes "Jingle Bells" and it jerks me up in my seat. A JAZZ tune? Middle of June? Jingle bells? Can it be because there are only three valves on a trumpet? Quotes became a topic of conversation with Kenny and Yamin during the break.A request for "Cherry PinK" had Yamin displaying his upper register chops. Ken followed with "Georgia" and I had Denise up and in my arms. I whirled her and twirled her to the end of the set.  When the band returned, during every one of his solos, Ken would quote some other melodic lines Sometimes 3 or 4 in a row. How do you remember all the chord changes that match?. The 2nd set had some young musicians join in for the N'Awlins section. Juju and Yamin marched in to "Saints" and  a young tenor man(Christian) played a credible solo along with another young trombonist(Noel). Joining them was a talented bassist(Jose). Yvette came up to sing "Hello Dolly" and then a lovely version of "La Vie En rose". Juju, Yamin and Gino added to the beauty of that song. 

Piano Bob is invited up to play some boogie-BLUES and he is joined by Tony Messina on harp. Piano Bob rumbles out a few 8 beat bars and let me tell you the JAM is ON. Cats are wailin'. I am clappin' tappin' and boppin' in my seat. Every one took a turn. It is exactly why I go out to listen LIVE. Bob lets them all know the next tune is an 8 bar, rather than 12 bar BLUES. They take off and it keeps getting hotter. OOOOOWEEEE BABY. Ken returns to the K.B. and a young man named Andre sits down at the kit. "Night In Tunisia". Be-bop at it's very best. Nobody slacks off and young Christian makes an impression. Yamin plays one of the most imaginative trumpet solos I have ever heard. Next time I speak with his Dad, I will tell him about it. The evening would go on for what seemed like forever. Eric and Yamin did a cute bit about teaching someone to play trumpet in 3 seconds. Yamin did it. Twice. And supposedly won $40 from Eric. Did you ever try to collect from a guy who he himself can't adequately describe what he does?  

The night didn't end there but I will. In closing I would add that I danced with Eric's wife again last night. If you see Vinny tell him we need to talk.

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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