Tuesday, January 29, 2013

even better than football...Miami Saxophone Quartet

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 1/29/13

Monday night is a tough night for entertainment when there is no football. As it says in that old BLUES standard it's "gloomy". Lunas, the day of the moon, and last night it was full and cloud-shrouded. I ventured forth, heading for U.M.’s Gusman Hall. I was wary, you know, vampires, werewolves and such might be about. No---I was safe and on my way to hear and enjoy the Miami Saxophone Quartet. Gary Keller on alto & soprano, Gary Lindsay, composer/arranger on alto, Ed Calle, tenor and Mike Brignola playing the baritone sax. Standing in for Chuck Bergeron on bass was a student, Geoff Saunders, who was outstanding. Jim Gasior(piano) and John Yarling (drums) completed the rhythm section. The program started with the quartet(sans the rhythm section) doing a few. The opening selection was "America, the Beautiful". As youngsters, it was probably one of the first songs they ever played. As educators and professionals they portrayed our country with an emotion inspiring rendition. They followed with a Gary Lindsay original composition "School Yard Suite" in 3 Movements. As the title implies it's about school days. The first "Tag" the second "Recess Romance" and the final movement "Hide & Seek". The music, as written and played, fulfilled its mission. I was transported back to P.S. 54 in The Bronx. I am 8 years old and playing with my friends Morson Manning and Joey Tedesco. Music can be magical especially when played by musicians like this. As the program continued the Quartet invited several students to join them.

Steffen Zeichner was featured as a violin soloist. David Hartsman and Mark Small joined in on an ensemble piece. A young man, Dan Strange, was invited to join the group. He plays Keytar. An electronic instrument that looks like a stretched out guitar with accordion keys on one side and an elongated neck. It is made by Roland(keyboard mfr.) and is named aptly AX synch. I had seen it only once before during a BLUES session. I was joined at my seat by another of JAZZ's best friends, Jeanette and Rick Katz of the Miami JAZZ Co-op. I had a chance to chat with some of the students I know and it always makes me feel good to see how dedicated they are to the art and to keeping JAZZ alive and well. Back out into the dark and the lurking aforementioned vampires and werewolves. It was approaching mid-night a particularly dangerous moment on a moon-filled "noche Lunas" when there is no football. Into the car, which fortunately started on the first attempt and on my way home to dream of playing "Tag" and "Hide & Seek" in that schoolyard in The Bronx a thousand years ago. Musicians will generally "Thank" you for attending a performance. I say no need to thank me. I sincerely "Thank" Gary, Gary, Ed, Mike, Jim, John, Geoff and all the others for a wonderful evening of JAZZ. It absolutely was "Just One Of Those Nights." 
*EDITOR'S NOTE* The Miami Saxophone Quartet has just released a new CD, Four of a Kind, in celebration of their 12th anniversary of performing.

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