Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brenda and Joe a JAZZ Love Story - by Al Kanovsky

Submitted by Al Kanovsky, 7/7/12
The stories surrounding JAZZ and the artists that perform it are rife with broken hearts and broken dreams. Rejection, repression and remorse.

Every once in a great while you meet someone who paints a brighter picture of the genre we love so much. Such is the story of Brenda & Joe.
The headline should read--
--The scene is Baltimore, about 30 years ago. This guy Joe, likes his music. Sweet and hot. It is his habit to visit the clubs (in those years they weren't clubs they were joints) that had JAZZ. His days were spent at John Hopkins, his evenings around town. One night while out with a friend he heard Brenda singing. Joe, not being shy, took the opportunity to speak with the girl with the great voice. There was just a little bit of a spark. Long story short. Nine years later they were married and have been happily so for 20 years. When I say happy, I asked Joe how it felt to be married to a  singer who had so much joy in her songs (even the sad ones) his reply "A blessing". Asking the same question of Brenda being married to a professor of sociology(UM) she replied "Whenever I dare to be down he is there to hold me up". This conversation took place last night at Joe's Stone Crab in South Beach. I want to thank Joe's for presenting JAZZ on Friday and Saturday nights as they prepare to close for the Summer.

Brenda Alford's voice and demeanor reflect the joy of life that she feels. She has a full time career as an Elementary School teacher (soon to retire) but her vocals are that of a truly professional JAZZ artist. She is a favorite of many a good friend including Bill and Yale. At present Yale is hanging in NY with Flo and The Gang and is rueful of not having the opportunity to hear Brenda. Almost forgot the boys--boys??? in the band Paul Shewchuk(bass), Lenny Steinberg(drums) and the unfathomable Joaie(I hope that's right) Schneider(piano). At a table adjoining ours was a couple who had been brought together by Lenny 30 years ago. What a night for love stories!!!

Interestingly, Brenda, was brought up in the same neighborhood as Billie Holiday. Her mother attended the same school. When Brenda mentioned this it brought back to memory a 5 day gig that I played in a joint on Baltimore Street (the Block) in 1950. It was a strip club, down 2 flights of stairs (say sub-basement). There were 5 dancers. They worked in the light of a baby spot (about 4 feet across) I still wonder about why they called them "Dancers". We played the same 10 note riff(with chord changes) for 45 minutes of every hour for 6 hours every night. That 10 note figure is etched into my brain like my childrens names.  

No comments :

Post a Comment