Saturday, February 9, 2013

shortest route to Mardi Gras...and Al still exceeds the speed limits to get there...

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 2/10/13

Continuing the effort to shape up for the decadence of Fat Tuesday celebrations I headed for Al Poliak’s "Funky Biscuit" in Boca Raton. The reality was that there were two bands I wanted to listen to. The first, Albert Castiglia (a personal favorite) and the second Colonel Bruce Hampton. The Colonels band is out of Atlanta and I've never heard them before-----there's a saying that goes "something old, something new, something borrowed, something BLUE". Well Albert is an old friend, The Colonels band would be something new. Thank the Lord for the borrowed time he has given me, and if you are at the Funky Biscuit you are surely going to hear something BLUE. 

AlbertCastiglia (pronounced ka-steel-ya) never ever disappoints. I have seen gals shiver, shake and fall to the floor while listening to his sometimes incredible guitar playing.

Alongside on stage was Bob Schuler on bass and behind them was well known  Bob Amsel on drums. The place was packed. All of the tables reserved. I found an empty stool at the secondary bar, with a great view of the stage. On one side of me was a young man, Mike, who early on, wanted to be a musician. Instead he married a girl he loved, went to work and raised a family. In other words he went "legit" "No regrets" he says  but last night he had to get his "BLUES" fix. Like I said before, Albert never disappoints. Young Mike listened, jaws agape. On my other side was a somewhat more mature "snowbird" from N.Y. He loves the BLUES like I do but could give history lessons about it. Artists, bands, venues and tall tales. The band did a tune entitled "Living the Dream" which will be on their recently released CD. It tells about a musician’s life. Not the glamour of it but the reality of the "biz". I was joined at the bar by JAZZ vocalist Rita Marie. She can tell you about the struggles musician endure. You listen to Albert and the band and, without a doubt you'll be clappin' tappin' and shakin' that booty.

Next up was Col. Bruce Hampton(guitar/vocals), Jez Graham(vocals/keyboard), Dave Easley (pedal steel guitar) and Mike Hinton(drums). Again, I had never heard this band and their music is difficult to describe. If you could make a stew with these ingredients that might explain it. 1 tbsp folk--1 tbsp funk--1 tbsp rock--1 tsp country--a cup of BLUES and 1 cup of JAZZ. Stir well, place in a cool dark place, sit back and enjoy. Every tune they do has the tastes of all of the aforementioned fixin's. A couple of thoughts. Thoroughly fun. When was the last time you saw someone playing a pedal steel guitar and Dave is a master at it. Mike Hinton, the drummer, knows how to play behind a band. Touch and technique. Jez Graham was doing the bass line with an amazing left hand. The line was so much like a stand up bass, that Rita, a musician herself, asked me where the bass player was standing. The Colonel pleased the audience with his vocal renditions. As sometimes happens (this is peculiar to BLUES venues) people get up and stand in front of people who are seated, blocking their view of the stage. Most of them are considerate and move after a few moments. Wellllllllllll. When the Colonel and his band started, a young man with an I-phone type camera placed himself in a position where I could not see half of the band. Being the gentleman that I am, I said nothing, figuring he would be only a short while. One song, 2 songs, 3 songs and then the band did some Funk. With that, this guy, starts a little monkey dance. Not "The Monkey" of Rock 'n Roll days. I mean dancing what looked like something a monkey might do. Being the gentleman I am, politely asked him to place himself somewhere else. He, being the gentleman he is, obliged. The evening ended late but peacefully. I asked Al when I could hear him play. He does it on Monday nights at the Biscuit. Is that why he opened the joint???

Attention JAZZophiles: see listings for upcoming Dillard School of the Arts fund raising Gala.

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Posted by Jazz & Blues Florida 
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