Sunday, July 26, 2015

It pays to have...(...friends in high places, not just friends that get high, right, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 07/26/15

...high class pals. They will take you to high class events. 

For example Dr. Jules Oaklander, whom I consider a good friend. Dr. Jules is not only a JAZZ devotee, he is a true patron of the Arts, supporting Opera, Ballet and Symphony. Last night we went to radio station WDNA's (88.9FM) presentation of JAZZ vocalist Kevin Mahogany. 

The rhythm section was all-star. Chuck Bergeron (bass), Mike Piolet(drums) and Martin Berijano  at the blond Baldwin 88. Kevin opened with "Kansas City, Born & Bred To Play the BLUES. "Swing My Blues" was next. Martin, Chuck and Mike have caught the groove and the audience as well --- let the good times roll ---. It started with JAZZ riffs, then rollicking piano BLUES and back to straight ahead swing. Oh Yeah!!!. The long-ago ballad "Just Friends" started out as a samba/bossa then 4 beat swing and back. 

The audience is entranced by Kevins' vocal skills. Have you ever heard the tune "If I'm Lucky". I hadn't. Kevin dedicated it to a good friends Mom. It was so beautifully done that the hint of tears came to this old dudes eyes. Next was a tune that Kevin wrote titled "Still Swinging" which tells of the transitions that JAZZ & BLUES have gone through. Kevin did a scat portion during which he quoted a bit of Cherokee & Jericho. Martin was just plain jammin'. 

Switching to BLUES and some fun Kevin sings "Tony Bennett Never Calls". A friend had asked Kevin to write a lyric to a melody he had written. The lyric tells of the love the composer has for his wife "Joanne Julia"  done in bolero tempo. Kevin and Chuck become a duo to do "All Shades Of You Are Blue". After the vocal, Chuck picks up the melodic line and Kevin tones the bass line, then back again. Breathless is the only way to describe what I felt. Remembering Billy Eckstine and his contribution to JAZZ & BLUES, Kevin does "I Want To Talk About You". Mike & Nicky Orta's mother, Kathy, is seated behind me. She taps my shoulder and whispers --- "Memories, huh?" 

Another Kevin original is a BLUES titled "It's Too Late" done to a nice shufflin' BLUES tempo. His encore was "Rte. 66". Done as I've never heard it before. A slow drag with emphasis on both lyric and melody --- the perfect way to end the evening.

Enjoying it with me were Rick Katz (Miami JAZZ Co-op) and his wife Fran, Melodious Mel and lots of WDNA members. 

On the way home Dr. Jules and I stopped at restaurant with newly changed ownership. Our mission: Convince the owner that having A JAZZ program might increase his business. Dr. Jules is credited with starting the JAZZ program at MOCA. Talking to a manager whose idea of live music is a guy spinning disco mix and another guy shouting above it and adds a Karaoke nite for listening pleasure is like "pi--ing into the wind". 

Tonight double duty. South Florida Hall of Fame Induction & later Maria Rivas. I thank the Lord everyday for the blessings he bestows upon me. Jazz musicians, Blues musicians and breakfast at Sage Bagel. 

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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