Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I don't know where to begin....(but Al does know it ends with dessert!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 4/23/13

Truth be told, for the first time since I was a year old, I find myself at a loss for words. Usually they fall like rain off a roof. Last night was an exceptional experience. The venue, the music, the food, the audience make up, everything exceptional. Best to start at the beginning. The "M" Building is a sleek modern building set down in a neighborhood of modest homes with an elementary School on an opposite corner and a "Mom & Pop" grocery store on another. You walk through the doors and immediately recognize that you are in for a culture laden experience. It is home to 'Musimelange'. Anne Chichenportiche, a classic violinist is the founder. Her stated goal is to invigorate your soul by experiencing classical music. In many ways JAZZ & BLUES are classic. The performance by the West End String Quartet and Corky Seigel was the perfect melding of Classical and BLUES. The talented members of West End are Jaime Gorgojo Gonzelez (violin), Dave Moss (viola), Chihsuan Yang (violin & erhu) and Jocelyn Butler (cello). Corky Seigel is a harp playing BLUESman.

Back to the beginning. The event started with a Chicago Craft Beer Tasting featuring Goose Island beers. I sampled 2 of the 3 offered, the Indian Pale Ale and the Honkers Ale. The Pale Ale pleased me, the Honkers was lighter. Along with the beer sampling there was Chicago's Iconic Food by Chef Kelly Sheehan. I stepped up boldly, beer in hand, and partook of 3 of the 4 offerings. Rated as follows: Giardiniera (served in a shooter glass)3*. Marinated Italian Beef (skewer)2*. Italian Sausage Calzone (roll)5*. I am not vegan oriented and passed on the roasted Vegetable Calzone. I returned to the beer station and when I turned away I looked up and then up and then up. A tall slender beautiful woman stood before me. Her name is Criselda Breene. She was there with her equally beautiful friend from Australia, Jane. Criselda is on the Advisory Board of The Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO).

The room filled with "beautiful people" including the Mayor of Doral, Luigi Boria. He was accompanied by his wife of 30 years, Graciela. Mrs. Boria is "drop dead" gorgeous. They were celebrating the Mayor's birthday and were joined by their children and family.

The show opened with a cello solo by Ian Maksin which was warmly received. Corky and the Quartet took the stage. No electronics, no mics, just pure and beautiful music. Classical instruments paired with the 'lowly' harp. But it was talent heaped on talent. As I looked around the room, every audience member had a faint smile on their faces. Enjoyment and pleasure being provided by notes played on musical instruments. Most of the material was Corky's originals. His lyrics are whimsical and amusing. His renditions are pure entertainment. When Corky played his first notes I thought it was a bowed cello playing. Tone and feeling.

Jocelyn(returning from her honeymoon) played a solo that could only be described as "spellbinding". Another solo of a Chinese folk song "Lotus" by Miss Yang on erhu also demanded rapt attention. The erhu is a 2 string Chinese violin and Chihsuan amazed me with the chromatics achieved on this simple instrument.

Corky himself goes back "to the day" having played at the famous "Poppers" in Chicago every Thursday night through '65 and '66.  He had the opportunity to play with all the greats including Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. He put together the Seigel-Schwall that had outstanding success. His roots were reflected in his composition "Woopie Girl Stroll". It was a Chicago BLUES style shuffle and had the classical audience, clappin' and tappin'. His satirical "Goodbye California" about California earthquakes brought back memories of 'quakes I experienced in my 25 CA. years. The musicians were clearly having fun with the performance and that added to the audience’s pleasure. On the closing number the band was joined by a "bongero". This bongo player turns out to be Mr. Eduardo Marturet who happens to be the Music Director and Conductor of MISO. 

Sitting alongside me and enjoying the music as well, was another very attractive woman. I thought I recognized her. (That happens to guys my age, a lot) It turns out I had seen her perform a while ago. Her name is Susana Behar. She is a vocalist who does Sephardic and Latin hits. She will be at Arts Garage this Thursday night.

Desserts would not be denied. So as the evening ended they were served. Cupcakes by Sweet & Tipsy were featured. Liquor-laced cupcakes. Absolutely my kind of finish. With titles like "Nutty Guinness", "Irish Hug" and "Cosmo in the City" I could not resist sampling them all and came back for an encore. My heart congratulation to Veronica Hurtado and her wonderful creations.

Anne encouraged me to return for some classical music. I told her I review JAZZ & BLUES but would definitely return to this warm and wonderful, art filled venue to enjoy the music. "Musimelange” is barely a year old and Miss Chicheportiche has done an amazing job in developing the program. My best wishes for continuing 

Al's Disclaimer:
A short note: The reason I write this is because I love music and words. I do not book acts. I do not promote acts. I do not accept invitations to review artists. I go to venues of my own choice. When and where is not influenced by anything other than who I would like to hear that night or day. If I don't like what I hear, I won't write about it. When I like it I let you all know. I never mention a name without asking permission. "Pardon me, Miss. Would you like to dance?"       

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