Thursday, May 2, 2013

Happy days are here again.

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 5/2/13

Wednesday was Ira Sullivan's birthday. He is Methusaleh's junior by about 5 years. And he still can blow.

I knew they expected an SRO crowd and so I got there early. There was another party going on. The celebrants were all members of a realtors group. Dark skies have brightened a bit. Happy days are here again. There was augmented live music with Liz Sharpe doing vocals accompanied by Scott Klarman(sax/EWI) and a machine. They could have done without the machine except for having to overcome the noise generated by the happy party-goers. The early revelers were leaving and were being replaced by righteous JAZZophiles.

Babette took her time-honored bar stool, alongside her friend Donna. Isabel and her bro, Ron, my pals Deborah and Duane, Richie Race, Mary, Rich and Ruth and agent Jay Linz. Musicians who came included Kelmo, Paul Shewchuck, Troy Anderson and Mike Gerber who sat in for a couple.

Ira, Danny, Jaime, and Brian set up and took the stage. Ira said if he knew that being 82 felt so good, he would have done it sooner. Ira, China Valles, Sonny Rollins and I are all the same age. The formula----

"It's the music".

The band opened with an up-tempo "Hello Young Lovers" and that gave Ira the opportunity to show off his be-bop chops on tenor sax. He is a product of the birth of be-bop era and has mastered the genre. They continued with Ira playing trumpet and flugelhorn on a tune that had the chord changes I identify with "Misty". Next, The Beatles "Norwegian Woods" with Ira on soprano and Danny "blowing up" the drum kit for one of his outstanding solos. Picking up his flute Ira chose to play Sonny Rollins' "Pent-up House". His use of "bop" phrases hearken back to the wonderful late '40s, early 50's. They closed the first set with "Inchworm" and "I Get A Kick Out Of You", Brian and Jaime doing attention getting solos. 

The 2d set opened with John Alexander's tune "Brothers". In his younger years, Ira would hang-out in some of Chicago's Soutside music joints. It was there that he listened to Cootie Williams. One of the guys playing in the BLUES oriented band was Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson. Eddie wrote a song "Tuneup" that had 'Dizzy' written all over it. The night was filled with homage to Bop. I even wore a beret to honor the memory of the "Diz". Mike Gerber sat down at the piano and wowed the audience with his rendition of "Windows". Mike's music is complex and you must pay attention. Listen closely and you will be rewarded.

In mid-America, young people have the opportunity to join a 4H Club where living the clean life is part of the program. Ira(Chicago) and I(The Bronx) also had a form of 4 "h"s. In our teen years you were either Hip--Hep--or a HopHead. Berets were the headgear because everybody wanted to be identified with the father of the new JAZZ genre who sported one.

The evening closed down with renditions of "God Bless the Child", "Milestones" and ended with Ira's traditional playing of "Amazing Grace". If you had lived your life like I led mine the song would have a special meaning. I don't care who plays it or sings it, every time I hear it, tears come to my eyes.

Wendy Pedersen and Jim Gasior have a date at the Deering Estate in July. Check listings and save the date.     

 ~ ~ ~
Traveling to catch some of Florida's good music? Check out these places and rates!
Compare hotel prices and find the best deal -
 ~ ~ ~

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!

No comments :

Post a Comment