Sunday, February 24, 2013

in the, and as it shall ever be...Al likes good music.

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 2/24/13

"In the beginning" there was the BLUES, Sometimes it requires sacrifice to find the beginning. Who would drive four hundred some odd miles to listen to the roots and then drive another four hundred to listen to the results? Mia culpa--I confess--c'est moi!!!. And it was worth the effort. Let's start with "Little Mike and the Tornadoes." Little Mike plays BLUES harp and keyboards. His band plays the BLUES. His professional career started early. After leading a series of bands as a teenager, Mike formed The Tornadoes in 1978. At the age of 22, Mike was leading one of the busiest and toughest blues bands in New York City. Mike's reputation led to the band's touring as the backing unit for blues legends such as Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Walter Horton, Otis Rush, Bo Diddley, Lightin' Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton, and Jimmy Rogers. He moved away from music to raise his children with his wife Therese. The kids are grown and Little Mike is back. The long drive was to attend the CD Release Party of Little Mike's latest "Forgive Me" at Dos Mamas in Gainesville.

The evening started with Earle ‘Bo’ Page (vocals/banjo/bass) doing a solo on a long lost Tennessee tune titled "Old Joe Clark", followed by a truly moving original. Banjo playing seems to be a lost art. It is not lost with Bo's plucking. Bo was followed by solos by guest BLUES man "Big Rick" of the "Big Rick & the Troublemakers". He also took us on a trip through time going back to a song "Sittin' on Top of the World" that was a hit for the "Mississippi Sheiks" in 1928. The rest of the band had Mike's long time friend, Jonathan Buck on drums, and Mike Meadors on guitar, harmonica and keys. They ran through historic BLUES tunes as well as numbers, including "Wait A Minute, Baby", from the new album. Big Rick opened the second set with "Shake Your Moneymaker". It got many of the audience doing just that. Big Rick’s friend Lisa insisted I get up and do a little "Shakin'". I admit that what I shake can not be defined as a "moneymaker". More like a "fat old a--." Eddie Jacoby sat in for several smokin' tunes.  Mike, playing harp produces many unique sounds using his throat as well. He ended the evening playing "keys" and with everybody, including his wife and beautiful daughter Alanna---the esteemed publisher of JAZZ & BLUES Florida, Charlie Boyer and his partner Debby Strickland---and Lisa with the chubby old guy, on the dance floor having a really good time---and ain't that what the music is all about?

Saturday noon and I'm back on the road headed for Delray Beach and Arts Garage. Arts is a unique venue. They charge a cover but you can bring along a "picnic" including food and beverages and enjoy the repast while listening to the best of JAZZ and BLUES. Those of you, and not necessarily locals, who are as much in love with the music as I am, can contact the authorities and voice your support of Arts Garage. They do need all of our help. The featured artists were Troy Roberts and his band Nu-Jive. From one end of the musical spectrum to the other. From where it started to where it is going. Troy came to the U.S., from Perth, Australia a few years ago and played wherever he could in South Florida. I heard him early on and became an instant fan. The band is made up of dedicated JAZZmen including Eric England(bass)--more about him later---David Chiverton at the trap set---more about him too---Tim Jago on guitar (Troy's countryman) and sitting in for Silvano Monasterios at piano was Derek Fairholm (doing a very credible night’s work). Troy and Nu-Jive did a program of all originals. Really original in chord structure, melodic line, tempo and dynamics. The audience responded, heartily, to every song and solo. The time signature of one of the tunes troubled me. No four beats to the measure, or 8 or even the odd 9. Curious, I asked Troy about it. He told me it was 3/4 and then quickly amended the answer. "Well, not really 3--more like a broken 3--and morphing into a 4". Now you know what puzzled me and still does. Broken 3? I listen to the music that the JAZZ musicians of today are creating and think back to the early days of the be-bop era and how JAZZophiles reacted to the new harmonies and rhythms. It seems to have turned out well. A word about Eric England--wait a sec---I forgot to mention hair styles---Troy has a clean shaven head, Eric has what can only be described as an Aborigines "do". Eric works right behind Troy. If you sit somewhere in the middle of the audience the visual effects can be startling.---Seriously, Eric is a musician who not only loves to play but is "in love" with his instrument and it shows. On to David Chiverton. David continues to grow as an artist. He has become a hard driving soloist with impeccable technique and an absolute pleasure to listen to. He brought the audience to its feet after every one of his solos. 

Finally, a raised glass to Alyona Ushe, the Exec of Arts for her efforts to bring the best to Arts Garage and to the staff and volunteers who help make the evenings a joy. WHEN you plan to take in a show here, be sure to get your TIX online first - the word is out, and this place SELLS OUT.

Great JAZZ and BLUES all over Florida coming in the next few weeks. Check the listings in JAZZ & BLUES Florida 

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