Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"You're Getting to be...

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 5/8/13

...a Habit With Me". I like to think that I am not a creature of habit, Yeah, I habitually eat three meals a day and have a minor addiction to vodka and bourbon, but otherwise, I look at myself as foot-loose and fancy-free. Except for the last few Tuesday nights. 

Maybe it's my penchant for Latin rhythms, maybe it's the dancing. No it's not that. It's the talent of the band "Oriente". They say they play Latin JAZZ. They don't need the qualifier. This is a band that plays JAZZ. Sure, their program is laced with Latin flavored rhythms but the improvisations are strictly modern and straight-ahead. Eddie Balzola, fronts the band, playing guitar and doing the vocals. My nickname for him is "El Gato Fresco", the cool cat. On drums Orlando Machado who started plying at the age of 7. He really started earlier banging on the pots and pans in his mother's kitchen. Olmar is on congas and sometimes blows up his cheeks ala "The Diz" when he plays an intense solo. Last night Kai Sanchez stepped in on stand-up bass and it really added depth to the sound of the band. Finally there is William Peredes playing trombone. And I mean playing. He knows that horn like I know my hands. His tone is great, his ideas fresh. He can be sensitive or brash. William and Eddie did a rendition of "Body and Soul" that touched me somewhere inside. From now on my nickname for William will be "Caliente" that means 'hot' in Spanish. "Caliente" has fun with his playing. I have heard many of the great trombonists. Bill Harris, Kai Windig, Dante Luciano. To me he is most reminiscent of the JAZZ giant, Trummy Young. I can pay no greater compliment. In addition to that "Body and Soul" they played Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue". They closed the first set with a rocking BLUES tune. I had the chance to ask Kai about his name and if one of his parents were of Teutonic or Scandinavian background. No, they are native Venezuelans who now live here. His father recently was sworn in as a citizen of the U.S.A. Kai means sun to the Guajiro Indian tribe who speak a dialect known as Guayu. 

On the social side of the evening, my dance partner, Babette and I shared one. She, Reina-like on her usual bar-stool and me holding her hands and showing off my Palladium moves. Joe, 1/2 of "The Kids From The Bronx" did a little showing off as well. A late arrival was Ron Anonymous who came in with his cousins, visiting from Charlotte. Michelle Dunn is a published author who is a mentor and motivational speaker on family values. She can also shake those shoulder and hips to the music. I know because we danced. Her husband Waddell is a dedicated JAZZophile and was impressed with "Caliente" like I was. William, further impressed me when he sight-read a complex chart. The band did a 2d line tune "I'm the Prettiest Chief on Mardi Gras Day". 2d line has its roots in Latin rhythm-----pok--pokpok----pokpok. Toward the end of the second set, the band played a traditional Cuban country song, a son, that tells of a peasant bringing his crops to market on a horse drawn cart. It is a sensitive relationship story of horse. cart and man. 

You can hear Oriente this Saturday night at Arts Garage in Delray Beach.  Take advantage of the opportunity. Did I mention that this all took place at Blue Jean Blues in Ft. Lauderdale. Talking about BJB's, there is no friendlier staff anywhere in South Florida.

Tonight Wendy Pedersen and Paulette Dozier presented by the Gold Coast JAZZ Society at the Broward Center----note to Wendy, see the "e".  

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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