Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just one of those...(fantastic nights to be alive and out for real music, right Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 02/6/14

...days, one of those special day that make me realize how blessed we all are. Mine started with medium boiled eggs, crisp bacon an English muffin and 3 cups of strong black coffee. It continued with a top-down ride to the Coral Gables Art Museum and the MJC's lunchtime JAZZ concerts. The featured artist was Mike Cady, a mellow toned vocalist. The rhythm section had George Mazzeo on drums, Gary Thomas on bass and Jaui Schneider fingering the keys. In attendance was the Coral Gables Mayor, and well known JAZZ artists, Joe Donato and Brian Murphy. Mike has the voice and talent to sing 'em all. From soft toned bossas, guttural BLUES, swing, straight ahead JAZZ and smooth ballads. His program went from a bossa "Come With Me" to Duke's "A-Train" to the parody "Benny's From Heaven" followed by "Here's to Life", "The Show Has Begun" and a swinging "Come Back To Me". Joe had joined in on a couple of tunes. When Joe blows it is a guarantee to having a good time, band members included. Doing songs I knew and some I've never heard Mike sang ""Saving My Life", "You're Gonna Miss My Loving", "Hold It Right There", and a soulful "All My Bright Tomorrows Belong To You". Changing rhythms he sings "My Funny Valentine " to a bolero beat. Nearby a gentleman, with one arm in a sling, is boppin' his head and tappin' out rhythm. His name is Dan Walsh and he directs dance show for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Mr. Cady gets down with "She's Got The BLUES All the Time" and bops off the show with "So What"  Sunny skies, good music, hearty breakfast. Who could ask for anything more? Meeeeeee! How about nightfall. Some crispy fried calamari, a couple of shots of rum with a bottle of ginger beer and some more JAZZ. Yes it's Danny Burger's (drums) Showcase at BJB's in Ft. Lauderdale. The showcase becomes a family affair with Mike Orta on piano, brother Nicky on bass and Nicky's lovely songbird wife Debby handling the vocal chores.

When anyone talks about JAZZ in the Southland their names are sure to pop up. I arrive to hear the final few songs presented by Glenda Grainger. Glenda personifies the "cabaret singer". I am willing to wager that her songbook contains 1,000 tunes. For the first time I am not the oldest bird in the joint. There's a guy named Norman Adelman. He is celebrating his 98th birthday with his wife and some friends. He's older than me and he certainly looks better. Many Happy Returns. Debby takes the stage and immediately shows off her phrasing skills with "Love Me Or Leave Me". A salute to JAZZ with the be-bop national anthem "How High the Moon" with lots of scat lines. The rhythm section responded. Inspired solos by all. I never knew the story of the 'bossa' "Gigi" but Debby enlightened us all with the tale that says 'if you leave, please take me with you'. They salsify "Love For Sale" with Mike and Danny playing very memorable solos. Debby chooses bolero rhythm for "The Look of Love" and in modern JAZZ style ends it with a flatted 5th.

The band swings with "Don't Get Around Much Any More". Mike's girl friend Luz Salazar and his Mom. Kathie are in the house. I ask his Mom if she would care to dance. She recently broke an ankle and deferred. Goodness, gracious. I couldn't and wouldn't disappoint Ms. Luz. Of course we danced and tore it up. All the time aware that Mike was keeping a close eye. He needn't worry. Ms. Salazar is devoted to him. The band does an instrumental "Invitation" during which Danny does a solo which is on of those rare moments when the instrument, the musician and the audience become a unified force----it's why I rarely miss an opportunity to listen to JAZZ live. Did you ever hear "Comes Love" in cha-cha time? That's how they did it last night. The 2d set starts with "Shining Hour" cha-cha style. Now the band is swinging with "I Remember You"(one of my all time favorites). Memories of years gone by arise when Debby sings "Midnight Sun". Visions of the diminutive June Christy standing at the mic, in front of the Stan Kenton band. Not evading be-bop riffs they do "Dancing Cheek to Cheek" and are knocking me out with joy. Jerry Moscala, Paul Shewchuck and Barbara Van have come in and it is Bill Rutan's curfew time. I won't bore you with the rest of the playlist but I would be remiss if I didn't say that the rest of the music kept getting betterer and betterer. I have never heard any of them sound better. Mike did a couple of solos that had jaws agape a shouts of 'Go man, go'. Drummer Guiseppe Pucci comes through the doors to catch the last few tunes. When Debby sings "All Or Nothing At All" I dance with Luz again-----maybe Mike does have something to worry about----You had to be there to hear it, but during Mike's solos, he did a little 'barrel house' a little swing and a little 'bop' all brilliantly. 

Just before Debby stepped off the stage and 'sotto voce' she did a little BLUES lyric. "I'm an evil woman but I want to do a man some good." --- Hey! Deb! You did this man a lot of good.

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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