Monday, January 27, 2014

Sometimes it's hard...(to make up your mind when there is so much music out there, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 01//14 know where to begin. This time it has to start at the end. Sunday, actually early Monday morning was the end. It took 20 years but it was the last 'hurrah' for the Van Dyke on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. A stronghold of live JAZZ it succumbed to the commerce of the 21st century. I was there to hear the final notes to be heard at the Van Dyke, in a song sung by Wendy Pederson. On piano  Jim Gasior, on bass Josh Allen and the final drum beat by Carlo (magnifico) Araya. Wall to wall listeners and JAZZ stars.

My musical day started at the Coral Gables BLUES Fest with Liz Sharp and the BLUES Co. Liz had Jerry Mascaro on keys, James Kidwell (guitar/vocals), Scott Whitney (bass) and Shay Eischen on drums. She opened the show with a Bonnie Raitt hit "Love Letter" giving each band member a chance to show off their "BLUES chops". I would run down the playlist but let it suffice to say they were all crowd pleasers and there were lots of folks clappin' and tappin' by the end of their set. Then I was off to the the UU church to listen to Wendy Pederson and Jim Gasior. The audience had some JAZZ stars there as well. Nicole Yarling (shooting video) David Leon with his Mom & Dad, Rick and Fran Katz, Randall Dalahan, Kelly Gonzalez (a young trumpeter) and Sebastian Gonzalez (a young pianist). Before entering I met my buddy Bill Rutan and Joel Kreuger with his granddaughter Alanna who is visiting from Key Largo. She is 7 years old and likes to "make up" songs. After being seated< I couldn't help noticing an absolutely beautiful, silver haired, woman sitting in front of me. My usual (ahem) shyness didn't prevent me from asking her name. Ms. Barbara Russell. Her 2 daughters weren't bad to look at either. ------music----yeah, yeah. Wendy sings JAZZ. Jim plays JAZZ. They are one when they perform together. A perfect match of vocalist and instrumentalist. She starts the session with "It's a Wonderful World" and I am taken back to the swing era of big bands. She announces the next part of the program as her 'taking it slow medley" and includes "Let's Take the Long Way Home" and "Let's Get Lost". During 'LongWay' Wendy held a sustained note that had us all, jaws agape. Continuing 'in the mood' Wendy and Jim do "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" with Wendy doing vocal trombone for the last few bars. Again, I could go on & on but I want to get to telling about the closing of the Van Dyke.  stop here--I have to mention the duos rendition of 'Fats' Wallers "Jitterbug Waltz". It was unusual, creative, interesting  and as JAZZy a piece of music I have ever heard. Also Wendy singing in Espanol the song that was sung at her wedding to Julio Hernandez almost 20 years ago. The title translated is "When I Kiss You". This old, supposedly tough old bird was misty-eyed.

Now to the Van Dyke. It's early and Upstairs is not yet open and that's fine because Eddie Balzola and Oriente are playing outside 'downstairs' . It is almost impossible to walk by because of the crowd listening. With Eddie (guitar/vocals) are William Paredes (trombone), Eduardo Rodriguez (congas) Dony Felix (bass and Alfredo Chacon (drums) Alfredo is better known for his work on 'vibes'. They are playing "Night In Tunisia"

Randy Singer (harmonica) joins in on Jaco Pastorious' "Chicken" and they are groovin'. Holly Spillane and I get a chance to chat and we are joined by Laurie Charles who is the Club Editor for the newspaper "New Times". The band ends their program with a funky "Ain't No Shame In My Game". They have stopped people from going "Upstairs" due to overcrowded conditions. Even with all my "influence" and exceptional talent at B.S. I am forced to wait in a crowd downstairs. Waiting with me is Nicole Henry and she has considerably more influence, at the Van Dyke, than I. We final gain entry as Wendy sings "Cry Me A River". I spot Paul Shewchuck (bass) and Steve Kornicks percussion). An absolutely stunning gal in a gown spots me. She has a penchant for dancing. Considering the fact that there is scant place to dance we do well, holding each other close. Hugging girls is a lot nicer than hugging trees. Her name is Amber Dambrowsky Stedman. She is married and doesn't "fool around".  Nicole Henry's biggest fan Lourdes has finally gotten through the gate and joins us. Paul gets up for Wendy's rendition of "Nature Boy" and then "I Can't Give You Anything But Lovve" during which Jim does a bit of scat vocalizing. A couple seats open up and I sit down with Marcus France (piano) and his wife Leandra. With them is Leesa Richards (vocals). Cisco Dimas (trumpet) and his friend Iris Torres stop by to say "hello". Silvano Monasterios joins the band (piano) for "I'm In The Mood For Love". Maryell Epps is in the house and she takes the stage with all of us clappin' 'n tappin'. Leesa gets up with Marcus at the piano to do "Nothing Stays The Same" ---ain't it the truth!!!. Leesa is from Detroit and started singing in the church choir at age 12. Like I say--you can take a girl out of the church but can't take the church out of the girl---the church was the Alexander Crummell Episcopal Church. We are down to the last set at the Van Dyke---Wendy says it's time for a little "funk".

I don't think Harry Edison was thinking funk when he wrote this song. But "funk" it up they did, making it real fun(k). Young Cindy Lopez is invited up to sing. It is appropriate that a new, young, JAZZ star to be is included in the program. She does "Spring Is My Joy" and "Night In Tunisia" This girl can sing. Wendy closes the show and the Van Dyke in a way that only Wendy can. A song titled "Dr. Longjohn" It is a song about a dentist-----pat of the lyric-----"you thrill me when you drill me"-----draw your own conclusions.

So long Van Dyke, sleep tight my friends and 'Goodnight Mrs Kalabash, wherever you are!!!!!

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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