Monday, July 9, 2012

music lovers have big hearts - by Al Kanovsky

Submitted by Al Kanovsky, 7/9/12

On Sunday,
33d St.
in Fort Lauderdale turned into Times Square on New Years Eve. Fish Tales was hosting a benefit for Graham Drout who recently had surgery to remedy the effects of diabetes. Graham is an icon of the blues genre. Not only as a player but composer and arranger as well. The first time I heard him and his band, Iko-Iko was shortly after I arrived in Fl. I was still finding my way in the live music world down here. I had been to O’Hara’s on Los Olas and
Hollywood Blvd.
The Van Dyke and Mrs. Murphy's. I needed a blues fix. I found it in a hole in the wall in Delray called the Back Room. Iko-Iko was the band and they made me a fan, like cocoa, in an instant.
Yesterday in FLL, bikers pulled up in their leather, gals in tight jeans and tighter tops, old guys like me and younger folks like you and every blues musician and fan from all over the state were there. Darrel Raines had a band playing on the street and Albert Castiglia had the group inside. Albert played a full set of Graham's hit songs and compositions. Contributions rained in from a variety of sources. Raffles, silent auction, donations and proceeds were all part of the givings for Graham. The enthusiasm of the fans and their generosity proved again that in order to clap your hand and tap your toes, deep down inside, you have to have an awfully BIG heart. I only stayed for one set and wish I could have stayed longer. My prayers and good wishes are extended to Graham who has brought much pleasure into my life. Thank You!!!

I walked across the street to BJB's and the Barbara Vann Jam. They were getting some of the overflow crowd as well as their regulars. It is a pleasant way to spend some late afternoon Sunday hours.  Barbara does the standards. Mike Orta dazzles on the piano and Linc Lackey entertains with ditties like "Benny's From Heaven" and "Little Dicky". Luz Salazar got up to sing a few and a newly arrived Nicole Star did a rousing "Route 66"

The evening featured a lively, bubbly Maria DeCrescenzo. The band behind her was a really swinging group. Martin Hand (great guitar) Nicky Orta (the hearbeat), on bass guitar, Bob Taylor (providing lyrical licks) on piano and driving the band, the electrifying, Matt Calderin playing drums. It was loads of fun. I grew up in The Bronx. Most of my friends were Italian or Jewish. There were a few Polish and Hungarians and even some gypsies. We grew up and got married. Some of us more than once. My gang held and went to lots of wedding receptions. That was what last night at BJB's seemed like.

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