Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Decision or dilemma? (Allen Kanovsky ponders the existentialist questions of jazz...)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 03/23/14

There is a difference between making a decision and facing a dilemma. A decision is something like choosing between apple pie and ice cream for dessert. Easy enough---have both!. Another example: Shall I ask that attractive woman if she would like to dance? Again, fairly easy answer---of course! Now to the dilemma. Choose between Wendy Pederson/Jim Gasior or Ira Sullivan and the Inner/Outer Band. Wendy is at Ave. D in downtown. Ira at the Unitarian Church in Kendall. I am not comfortable at the music venue. I always feel welcome in His house. Unfortunately economics (the high price of gasoline) raises its ugly head. The church is somewhat further. We are closing in on the end of the month and the diminishing level of my finances. Hence the dilemma. I opt to be fiscally responsible and head for Wendy. Sorry, Ira. The choice seems right when the "Real" Tracy Fields (WLRN 91.3FM) joins me at my table. Wendy has 'Jammin' Jim Gasior at the piano and young Jose Carlos Albizu on bass and the imaginative Harvel Nakundi playing drums. It is a presentation of The Sunshine JAZZ Organization of South Florida. Keith and China Valles are there and Ms. Alice Day was selling tickets at the door. Wendy opens with a swinging version of "It's A Wonderful Day" and then 'salsifies' "Nature Boy". She does some really nice vocal improvisation and Jim displays his exposure to the Latin culture of Miami. Harvel uses Jim's piano to back his solo and Wendy scats her way through the closing bars. A medley of songs recognizing the underside of society opens with a ballad style "Witchcraft" then "Devil Moon" to a Latin rhythm and finishing the trilogy, a super up-tempo "Old Black Magic" . Wendy says she doesn't often do "weak women" songs but has to pay homage to the pains that Billie Holiday endured when she sings "Don't Explain". Wendy does not do Billie Holiday. She makes the tune her own, with emotion from deep inside herself. Jim catches the essence of the lyric, transposing it through the keys. The tune transits to a bouncy "Moanin". Ms. Holiday, early in her career was a happy "child". It is reflected in a seldom heard "Getting Some Fun Out of Life" with the Chick Webb band. Tracy and I are sharing some crispy french fries and informative conversation between songs. Fats Waller composed "Jitterbug Waltz" and Jim does it no harm with his interpretation, while Wendy does the pretty lyric. Celebrating the 75th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz" the band does "If I Only Had A Brain" as a ballad. "Ding-dong the Witch Is Dead" becomes a 'boogie' with some tricky drum work. Now moving ahead to a tune from "The Wiz", "Keepin' On Down the Road" to conclude the set. I am still recovering from Saturday nite/Sunday morning and fighting a cold. I would love to stay but my brain and body are screaming for rest-----So long, to all!!!!! Thanks.  

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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