Thursday, August 6, 2015

What's in a name? Asks Allen Kanovsky...

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 08/06/15

The name we will examine today is Maria Rivas. Let's begin with beauty. Spiritual, facial, vocal and heart. Two years ago, at about this time of year, Maria self-administered her last rites. She was at deaths door. Her body, lungs, liver and breasts were ridden with cancer. The thing that saved Maria was an experimental drug (21st century medicine) and the Lord adding a helping hand or vice-versa. Last night at Danny Burger’s Showcase, Maria delivered a dynamic performance. The rhythm section had Brian Murphy on keyboard, Dr. Jamie Ousley on bass and Danny doing tricks with sticks.

Maria is Venezuela's gift to America. In her native land she is acclaimed as their leading JAZZ vocalist. What's in a name? Maria Rivas. She has the spirit of a wild horse running the western plains. In her lives the soul of an ancient follower of the rabbi, Jesus. Pretty enough to make any man fall in love. Her voice, a dynamic example of what all 'chick singers' should aspire to. Maria is a multi-faceted artist. Her paintings of JAZZ notables are collector's items. Her 'scats' are superbly creative and imaginative. She'll sing "Girl From Ipanema" as a slow BLUES shuffle or "Route 66" in Samba rhythm.

Last night, Maria opened with "It Isn't Even Spring" in an almost conventional way. Brian and Dr. Jamie caught her groove right off. Now with a funky back beat she does "Summertime". I challenge anyone else to even dare do that. During Brian's solo he quotes "Rhapsody In Blue". George Gershwin composed both. It made me wonder if any cemetery grounds were shaking in disbelief. When Jamie took his turn, Maria hummed softly under his music. "Autumn Leaves" done in Portuguese and 'scat'. "The Very Thought Of You" is too beautiful a song to mess with and so Maria does it straight and warm memories of Flo fill my mind. Maria used to do a long soliloquy about coffee as an introduction to "Night In Tunisia". Not anymore. She has her own vocal intro and then knocks you out of your seat with stuff you cannot believe. Maria takes a short break while the trio does "You And the Night and the Music". Very appropriate. Maria returns to do "Night & Day" in bolero tempo and en espanol. Maria's English is accented and not perfect. I don't know who taught her Yiddish but her "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" has the tone of the Barry (read Bagelman) Sisters back in the late 30's.

I danced with a lovely lady named Dahlia who, unfortunately for me, is returning to Maryland today. She promised we would dance again in October when she returns. I told her that October is 55 days away. 83 year old guys are thankful for tomorrow.

Dr. Jules Oaklander was helpful in bringing Maria to the States. Last night he was my driver and tablemate. Joining us were Leana (Photog of credit – see below) and Ken Bresnahan along with their beautiful daughter who was celebrating her birthday.

The 2nd set was as good as the first and Maria opened the final set, dedicating the song "Alfonsina De La Mar" to me. It tells the story of a woman, desecrated by a broken love affair, walking into the sea to perish. Jamie has recorded that song with his wife Nanami Morikawa. Barbara Van was in the house and Maria graciously invited her up. They did a duet on "Rte 66".

Maria closed the evening with "See What Happens". She makes her final appearance, before heading to Bangkok, at the Miami JAZZ Co-op Rent Party in Coral Gables (see listings) Monday night. In Bangkok she will be at the Lebua Hotel. The stage is at an open-air restaurant, 65 stories (appxtly 700 ft.) above street level with the most magnificent view of a city as you will ever behold. Happy trails and landings, Maria mi vida! 

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?" 

 ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~
Posted by Jazz & Blues Florida
Please visit to see the scene.
Or, just use this FORM to sign up to have
Florida's jazz & blues news delivered to your inbox.
And, if you like what you see here, please HIT THAT FACEBOOK SHARE BUTTON below!

Did you know that as Florida’s ONLY promotion platform for live jazz & blues:
We have the only monthly publication dedicated to previews of upcoming jazz and blues shows in Florida at ?
We have the most comprehensive festival page for Florida jazz & blues at
We have the most comprehensive and active news blog for Florida jazz & blues news
We have the most complete and current listing of Florida jazz and blues links at
We have the largest email notification system for upcoming jazz and blues events in Florida?

No comments :

Post a Comment