Tuesday, May 28, 2013

North vs. South...( and Al is NOT talking about NYC & Havana, for a change...)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 5/28/13

The battle is not over. Memorial Day weekend had me traveling back and forth, to and fro. Listening to all kinds of JAZZ & BLUES. Contrasts. Aaron Lebos and post-modern, Connie James and the New American Songbook, Tiempo Libre's Latin rhythms and finally the BLUES. 2 nights at Arts Garage, an afternoon at South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center and ending with a late night session at the Funky Biscuit. Let me say something about the contrast in venues. Arts Garage is literally in a garage. A simple room with great sound. The SMDCAC is housed in an architectural wonder. Its small Black Box is cozy and warm. The Funky Biscuit is a hi-class honky-tonk, a classy 'jook' joint. Whenever I visit the SMDCAC I feel like I should have worn a coat and tie. At the Biscuit I wish the jeans I'm wearing were a bit more tattered. On stage at the SMDCAC is a Steinway Grand Piano. At the Funky Biscuit there's a Hammond B3 complete with Leslie box.The Funky Biscuit is north of where I live. The SMDCAC is to the south. The trips are always well rewarded. Mondays at the Biscuit is BLUES Jam night and jam they do. The house band has Jon Zeeman(guitar/vocals),Tom Regis(keys/Hammond B3) the rest is made up of part of a band called "Quasi-Blue". Drew Preston(guitar/vocals), Tony Livota(drums) and Richie Goldman(bass-thankfully no vocals). Richie and I met previously at the Las Olas Blues Fest where he was wearing a knit cap. The 2 of us thought about it and came up with the  "Bahama Yama" as an appropriate name for the headgear. They are really rockin' when I come in and continue that mode through the first set. During the 2d set they start calling the Jammers, including proprietor, bus boy, floor sweeper, manager, rest room attendant Albert Poliak. Oh---he also is an accomplished B3  player and vocalist. 2 stars of the future take the stage. J.L Fulks(22) and Ray Bautista(?) both doing guitar and vocals. "Tomorrow" is sounding good. Mark comes up and plays some gut-bucket. Mauricio Garcia replaces Albert at the keys as theY go with "You Can't Always Get What You .Want" and "Bright Lights, Big City" which is one of my favorites. They end that song with Drew and Jon trading 2's. Wow! Al returns to the B3 and Mauricio stays, playing keys. The bands rocks the walls and raises the roof. They finish with "The Chicken". To all the JAZZ players who "pooh-pooh" BLUES men. I wish I had a recording of this jumping, swinging, innovative version for you to hear BLUES players doing JAZZ at its best.

On the way out, a guy was sitting at the bar. I was now, not the last to leave. He told me "I love music". I said 'me too'. His name is Donald Mahone and his nickname is "Dream" He is a giant of a man with a soft smile and hearty handshake. We talked about our feelings for the music. He went on to tell of a tragic event in his life. The loss of his 13 year old son, Michael, to the ravages of a brain tumor. Just prior to Michael's passing they had the opportunity to visit Memphis. The boy loved Rock'nRoll and the BLUES and he and his Dad listened all around and about town. Michael infused his father with that love which continues through today. The BLUES---tragedy, love, tradition, relationships---that's what it's all about.

Arts Garage is funded by charitable grants and public donations. The SMDCAC was built and is funded by tax-payers. The Funky Biscuit was put together and runs on money out of the pocket of Al Poliak. All of them depend on your support.------------"GOD BLESS AMERICA"!!!!    
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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