Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's hard to be on time when you oversleep....(and we thought Allen Kanovsky never tired!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 5/12/13

So I did it!!! Now I'm late. and the situation gets worse. I take a wrong turn and end up on Moshulu Pkwy. in the north Bronx. Now this particular parkway is not an actual parkway. It really is an avenue like any other avenue, albeit a little more scenic, in The Bronx. (notice the capital t in The). I recognize my mistake and quickly turn south onto the Grand Concourse. It used to be Grand and might have been considered a Concourse if you didn't know what the word meant. This also was a mistake. It brought back memories of my 'yute'.

The Schwiller Institute of Music, where I had my first trumpet lessons now houses 15 or 16 or 17  families. The Loews Paradise, a movie theater that had clouds and stars moving overhead is now an "Iglesia"---church to you. The beauty salon where I would pick Flo up for our Friday night dates is now a "Joyeria"---jewelry store to you. It took 50 years to make a music school a boarding house, a movie theater a church and a beauty parlor a jewelry store.

 It took only 15, 16, maybe 17 years to develop the wonderful musical talent I heard today. The Essentially Ellington competition at JAZZ at Lincoln Center has started. 7 bands, approximately 140 teen-agers and their directors performed today--in order of appearance--Beloit Memorial High School JAZZ Band 1(Beloit, Wisconsin), Pacific Coast JAZZ Orchestra (Portland. Oregon), Sun Prairie High School JAZZ Ensemble 1(Sun Prairie, Wisconsin), Garfield High School JAZZ Ensemble(Seattle, Washington) JAZZ House Big Band(Montclair, N.J.), New World School of the Arts High School JAZZ Ensemble(Miami, FL.),JAZZ Ensemble 1--Edmonds-Woodway High School(Edmonds, Wash.). I was happy to see that about 15% of the youngsters who appeared on stage were young women. It's about time that guys like me can shout "Go girl go" instead of "Go man go". Were some bands better than others? I'm sure they were. But I can only say leave it to the judges and I am glad I 'm not one of them.  I know there was a lot of great playing by a lot of dedicated kids. Young people playing the JAZZ I love so. It will live on due to the hard work these high-schoolers are they are willing to do. All the bands play from the Ellington book. They are limited to 3 selections. It surprised me that almost all selected "Blood Count" as their slow tempo tune. "Cottontail" and "Royal Garden Blues" led in the up-tempo category. 

8 bands will compete tomorrow and the winner will be announced at 4PM.

Consider this, every band in this competition is already a winner. 15 bands from around the nation are selected to compete. Can you guess how many high schools there are in the U.S.A? 37,000. That's right thirty seven thousand---think about what it takes to be in the 15 out of 37,000. The hours of practice, alone and with the band. Giving up going to the movies or going to a ball game or a date because the band is rehearsing. 'taint easy for youngster to do. But they do it out of love and respect for the music. I give every kid a hug and wish them well, Godspeed and thank you for "All That JAZZ". Every one of them is #1.

The directors had a tough job, the organizers and staff of JALC had a tough job, the kids themselves had a tough job, but the toughest job of all is on the backs of the judges. It will be their collective task to select the winner. Probably the toughest thing many of them have had to do. I give you their names with the greatest respect for their decision. Wynton Marsalis, David Berger, Ron Carter, Rich Derosa and Victor Goines. I was going to do it alphabetically but that would put Wynton last. I am too old to take that chance. I would have done it by age but that might have caused a struggle between Carter and Berger. They are listed in the order that they appear in the program. Victor, I will gladly get you the publishers information.

I had a chance to speak with "Jelly Roll Justice" of WWOZ FM out of N'Orleans. Although we only had a brief moment together we shared some philosophies on JAZZ and life and how much they meant to each other and to each of us. He gets to interview many of the JAZZ and BLUES stars that come to NOLA and having have had a life as an attorney knows how to ask a question and listen to the answer. I got out of there before they could hand down an indictment!!!

Sunday the last 2/3 of our hometown team competes. New World performed today, Dillard and Community will do it on Sunday. Catch it streaming live.

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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