Monday, July 8, 2013

Where were the belly dancers??? Allen Kanovsky ponders the big questions in life....

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 7/8/13
It's Sunday afternoon or early evening, if you prefer. I am a few steps away from Blue Jeans Blues and Anthony Corrado's Sunday Jam. A somewhat eerie sound reaches me. Morrocco. The casbah. Exotic food. Desert sands. Belly dancers. The underlying melody is familiar-----"Caravan". BJB's is crowded and I can't see who is playing. An "excuse me" here, a gentle shove there as I push through the crowd at the bar. Now I see who is playing the solo. Nestor Zurita!!! A truly pleasant surprise. Nestor and I have history. One night, 3 years ago, Nestor, Flo and I were returning from a jam at the Fish House when we encountered an amazing rainstorm and ensuing flooding. Portions of the 826 were under water and so we took to the streets. At one point the floorboard of the car was 2 inches deep in water. Some portions of the trip, the car was actually afloat. No need to say, we made it home safely, "But the Memory Lingers On". Nestor plays all the saxes but tonight it was the alto. Anthony, as I have said before, plays every instrument known to the civilized world and a few from the uncivilized as well. The rest of the house band had Paul Banman on piano and Shea Eishen on drums. Nestor's parents have recently moved to the States and were in the audience. It might be that Nestor was showing off just a little with his inspired solos. They played "You Are So Beautiful To Me". There was a table of mature adults at a nearby table. One couple got up to dance in a close embrace. He is Hy Weigarden who celebrated his 89th birthday 3 days ago. His, much younger and definitely prettier, partner was Ms. Betty Horowitz. A short while later, with the band playing a jump tune, Hy pops up with a different partner and does a little jitterbug. Joining in the Jam is young Jeff Brown, also playing alto. Dezhon Fields, a Sammy Davis look alike, comes up. The crowd loves him and won't let him off the stage and so instead of the usual one or two he does three or four or five. Nestor and Anthony have fun, with Anthony on banjo, doing an up tempo "Has Anybody Seen My Gal". As the Jam is coming to an end a young man with a Frank Sinatra/Bobby Darrin voice comes up. He is visiting from Las Vegas where he performs at the Clarion Hotel. You can't help but listen and enjoy.
The evening feature is the Sambazz Band. This group was conceived by Silas Silva(drums) to play Brazilian JAZZ. He assembled a stellar group of musicians to accomplish his goal. James McCoy(bass), Pete Wallace(piano) and Samantha Natalie(vocals). Ms. Natalie's voice is sultry, smoky and well suited to the heavily Jobim laced program. Pete Wallace does an absolutely beautiful solo on a tune titled "Tears". Samantha sings "If You Never Come To Me". It puts me in a "Sentimental Mood". They do a tune in three quarter time and then "One Note Samba" which inspires some to dance. I don't know how to describe the bands music. It's ideally suited to a scene where it's "A Quarter to Three". I'm sitting across the table from a woman. We are holding hands across the tabletop. We are gazing deeply into one another's eyes. We are talking mooosh and blowing kisses.--------Got it!!!!! ROMANTIC JAZZ. It could be nothing else.
The mood changes with the final tune of the set. A Carnivale tempo Samba, which was written as a protest song. The title, "Ponteio" composed by Edu Lobo. As I am leaving I spy Martine and Jacques Brunier. This is a couple who dance beautifully and it is easy to see how much, in love, they are. Jacques drives racing cars and has enlisted Martine as his "pit" crew. They are strong supporters of live JAZZ and it's always a pleasure see them at clubs around town.  Turk Mauro's pal, Rich, hips me to the fact that they are playing JAZZ at the Philharmonic on WLRN so the drive home is accompanied by Lester Young, Howard Mcghee, Charlie Parker et:al. In my pad, I turn on the radio, grab my kindle, scrunch down in the couch and fall asleep,-------- happy.

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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