Sunday, February 17, 2013

A day that lasted all night!!!...and our friend Al has no problem with this....

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 2/17/13

The all-night day had a name. The Riverwalk BLUES and Music Festival. It was dedicated to Don Cohen, who had devoted his life to the furtherance of the music called The BLUES. The days programs sponsors include (in no particular order) The Sunday BLUES with Dar 88.5 FM, The Downtowner Saloon, Service Planning Corporation, The South Florida Blues Society, Dr. Mike & Karen Ancona, AMF Tire, Big City Rhythm & BLUES Magazine, JAZZ & BLUES Florida, Grandmasters Piano, Laspadas Oignial Hoagies, John Goodman showed, Boston’s on the Beach and a name I couldn't make out on the program help me out here Charlie please I mention them because of the worthiness of their cause (Global Premium Cigars). Keeping BLUES alive and well in South Florida. The venue was the parking lot of the Downtowner Saloon on the River in Fort Lauderdale---Now to the BLUES. The day started out with Holly & the Hubcaps on stage. Holly Doherty doing the vocals, George Mahercis on gutiar and the inimitable Pixie Ensign playing all kinds of harmonicas. When was the last time you saw someone playing "spoons"? Most of you either never did or it was so long ago you can't remember. As part of the Hubcaps presentation they had BeBeGee accompany them on this unique instrument. His regular is drums. He was taught by his grandfather. Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl were next.  Hold on to your hats----Joel(guitar/vocals) along with Doug Treane (tenor sax) Bob Deering (bass) and Stefano Rotini on drums filled up an hour and a half with excitement and then did two encores. During their set I noticed a couple off to one side who were up and dancing. We all know that people (particularly the gals) love to dance to the BLUES. Mostly shaking limbs and the nether regions of the Bod. Not Renee Roche and Larry Richardson---smooth as silk with creative turns and spins. They've been dancing together for 16 years. It showed.  Nearby there were a group of motorcyclists(bikers). I had often wondered about Bikers and the BLUES. It seemed to me if there is a BLUES joint you will find a bike or two or more parked outside. I approached and in an assertive tone spoke to this guy, maybe a head taller than me, 60 pounds heavier, muscles I don't even dream of having, hair down to his shoulders moustache and beard, wearing a black T-shirt that read H-D Barcelona with a pretty good looking companion whose name is Teresita Corral. His name is Joe Baffi. Baffi is Italian for moustache---you have to know him to call him Joe Stash. I was curious about the affinity bike riders, male and female feel for the BLUES. His answer kind of surprised me. He said "When you're out riding the rhythms of the bikes engine sounds are like music and mostly like the rhythms of the BLUES". Interesting answer from an interesting guy. The parking lot was filled with listeners and next up was Joey Gilmore with guest Betty Padgett. Sadly I was getting hungry just as my pal, photographer, Jim Goodman showed up. We need to warm up a little and consume some of the Downtowners menu items. We went into the Maxwell Room where a film of pianist/BLUES artist Deanna Bogart was being shown. Good film, good music. The film was followed by Ben Prestage who plays everything (often at once) who not only did a musical performance but a workshop as well. I listened and learned a lot about the BLUES, its history and how it is played. Back outside Joey Gilmore was just finishing his set. The area for dancing was crowded with body shakers. Off to one side in a less crowded area were a couple who were dancing my style (when I was agile enough) of dancing. New York (Bronx slick). Fun moves by both. Quick turns sudden stops, bounces, footwork and most of all happy smiles on their faces. I thought New York, they told me no. She is from Pittsburgh, he from D.C. Her name is Lindy, his Christopher. He teaches dance. Next up were award winners  Nikki and Matt Hill. She sings, he plays guitar and sings as well. He is the BLUES, she is a little bit Rock n' Roll. Great combination and the audience loved it.

Albert Castiglia (he insists that it is pronounced "ka steel ya". Where I grew up, Fort Apache in the Bronx, if an Italian didn't use every consonant and syllable in pronouncing his name he was probably Jewish. So Albert with the greatest respect, love and admiration, you may be "steel ya" to the world you are  "stig lee uh" to me. Albert had Bob Amsel, who is also from THE Bronx, on drums and affable Matt Shuler strumming the bass. I think every female BLUES fan in the world loves Albert. I love his music. They dance, they shake, they shout his name. OMG.  It could make one thr--------. I have seen and reviewed Mr. Ka stig lee a three times this week.

Enough, already--go on the road. Of course Albert and the band absolutely tore it up and I continue to love that band. It was dark, the temperature dropping fast. No one was leaving and for good reason. Next up was a band called "Trampled Underfoot". Two brothers and their sister. Out of Kansas City. If K.C. is producing BLUES bands like this, "Kansas City, Here I Come" wow!!! and I mean WOW!!! They shook it up, tore it up and rebuilt it. Daniele plays bass and sings the notes right off the page. Kris and Nick play drums and guitar respectively. Their parents, Bob and Lisa were musicians as well. Lessons well taught---lessons well learned. It was really getting cold when we moved into the Maxwell room for  Famous Frank Wards All-Star Jam. JP Soars was a featured guest and almost all of the aforementioned came back to join in the late night Jam. The clock showed 2AM. My being showed happy but exhausted. I went home . Not without saying to Dar and all the volunteers and vendors "Heck Of a job" on a day that lasted all night.

*EDITOR’S NOTE* The festivities continue today with the Blues Film Festival. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

Posted by Jazz & Blues Florida 
Please visit to sign up to have 
Florida's jazz & blues news delivered to your inbox.
Or, just email me at
And, if you like what you see here, HIT THAT FACEBOOK SHARE BUTTON below!


  1. The whole festival was great but that all-star jam at the end was over the top epic! Having Albert, Nick and JP all playing guitar together was just so much fun! Congrats to Dar, the Downtowner Saloon and everyone else that worked so hard to make this event happen. It was fantastic!!