Saturday, July 20, 2013

On the road again...(which for Allen Kanovsky, could mean just about ANY destination with jazz or blues!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 7/20/13

Friday night as I drove west on the "northwest passage" headed for Seattle (actually Oakland Park Blvd. and Hiatus Rd) I never anticipated the wonderful night of music I was about to experience. The All That JAZZ CafĂ© is open only on Friday and Saturday nights for dinner and live JAZZ. Max Boiko(trumpet) is featured . Last night he had Jeff Padowitz playing piano. Jeff knows JAZZ. When I got there I spied Mari Bell and a young lady seated inside. I politely asked if I could join them and they acquiesced(words again). The young lady is Carla Robinson(JAZZ pianist) studying at Dillard School for the Performing Arts directed by Christopher Dorsey. Max has the soul of a be-bopper and Jeff plays it all. They invited Carla up to play a solo. She did "Misty". She has touch and delicacy. Max joined her for "Billies Bounce" and they both showed off a little. After the break they invited Argarita (pronounced with a J)Palavacini up to vocalize. WOW!!!

Ms. Palavacini is studying for her Doctorate in JAZZ at UM. Dr. Lisanne Lyons is her idol and she says contributes much to how Agarita approaches her art. She sang "Sentimental Tone" and "Skylark" and left me breathless. What a 'shtimmer'(Yiddish for voice). I had the opportunity to speak with her and she told me a little about her educational background. She received her Bachelors degree at Stetson, went on to Indiana for her Masters. Unhappy with her job in banking she came to UM for her Doctorate eventually earning a full scholarship(well deserved). You know what I say about Latin musicians and clave. The same holds true for vocalists. If they have ever sung in Church it becomes part of their being. If you listen you can hear the influence that the experience has had on each and every one of them. I call it soul. It makes no matter what they sing, be it ballads, BLUES, JAZZ, R&R or whatever, come to life, .Argarita can be heard every Sunday at the Metro Life Church in Doral. Mike(bass) and son Andre(drums) joined Max and Jeff for "What Is This Thing" and "Blue Bossa". Jeff closed out the evening with piano solos including "It's Just the Language of Love", old times "Heart and Soul" and finishing with a soft "In the Wee-Wee Hours of the Morning". 

It's still early, 10:30. Where to go? Who's Playing? Choose wisely, old man. Here? There? Where? The light of wisdom flickers and then shines brightly(huh?) The Funky Biscuit! That's it. Only a half hour away if no patrol car stops me for excessive speed. I make it with no interference from the law. And am I glad that I chose the Biscuit. Ike Stubblefield, whom I have heard of but never heard, is on B3. June Yamagishi, who I never even heard of is playing guitar and Earl(The Big Easy) is handling the sticks. As I near the entrance, I wonder at the sounds I am hearing. It's not BLUES(the Biscuits genre of choice) instead it's JAZZ. The rhythm, the riffs, the sound, all undeniably JAZZ. My friend Dave (cat in the hat) is seated at a table with a lovely woman named Beth. As I join them, I can see they are both enjoying the "Sounds of Music". Dave says, "Wait 'til you hear this!" He's right. The trio is tearing this house of blues lovers, up. Tearing it up. Hands clappin' toes tappin, gals shakin' their whatevers. Just straight out tearing it up. June Yamagishi? He is playing JAZZ chords. Ike Stubblefield? He is using all 4 limbs on keys and pedals, jamming. Earl is playing a JAZZ rig with 3 cymbals. BLUES and R&R generally use only 2. I'm happy, the packed house is happy and best of all the band is enjoying themselves. And showing it in their play. They invite Johnny Walker up to sing. He opens with Bill Withers "Use Me Up". JAZZ vocalist, Nicole Henry does this song also. Nicole is a tall shapely, gorgeous woman. Johnny is a big man, period. Nic does it her way. Johnny does it his. I will never forget either one. J.B. continues with "Stormy Monday" and again it's not just BLUES, it's JAZZ. While Johnny was singing the shuffle rhythmed "Stormy", I approached two young ladies who were with Don(Aruba's) to ask either one to dance. They shot me down. Don't they know that they may never be asked to dance by an 82 year old guy again? I asked for their names but one scribbled it down so badly, that it is impossible to decipher. Don kindly said he would dance with me but he wanted to lead. I don't care if you want to lead on a trek through a minefield but the dance floor is a different place altogether.   Listening to June and Ike exchanging solos with brilliant ideas has me almost out of my seat with excitement. You know a drummer loves JAZZ when the play the melody on the kit, as Earl did on a tune Ike called "Brazil". Music! Music! Music! A genuine blast. Every tune more exciting than the one before. A tune made famous by "The Average White Band" with Ike and Earl playing call and response(couldn't remember the title), a funky shuffle on "Honky Tonk", an incredible arpeggio solo by June on guitar, Ike does "Fever" quoting the bugle "Call To The Post" and "Salt Peanuts". Then they're just jamming and June is so excited he busts a string. Johnny Black gets up to do a couple more. You can tell that he also "goes to church'. Ike closes down the evening with a really nice "What A Wonderful World" and I must say, what a wonderful night. The anniversary celebration at the Funk Biscuit continues tonight with Jon Cleary. Ike and June will also be on the bill. See ya!!  

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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