Sunday, March 16, 2014

How would you define...(I would define a lot you Allen Kanovsky! And day with Aaron Neville and The Dirty Dozen for JazzRoots at Arsht Center does it for us!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 02/15/14

...a great day----? By the weather? The people you met? The bargains you found? Me, I measure it in sound.

The sound of live music played by talented musicians. Here was my great day on Friday. It started with Ed Bell (WLRN) inviting me to a live broadcast of Troy Roberts and his band Nu-Jive. Troy has a Masters degree from U.M. but it's his mastery of JAZZ saxophone that goes far beyond anything you can learn in school. With Troy were fellow Australian Tim Jago (guitar), Eric England (bass), Rudolfo Zuniga (drums) and the incomparable Silvano Monasterios (keys). All of them are steeped in the idea of what JAZZ will sound like' the day after tomorrow'. The sound stage was filled with an audience that had Mr.& Mrs. Graham Wood Drout (BLUES musician), Ted Grossman (WLRN), Jeannette Pina (music listings) and Paul Shewchuck(bassist). 

The program consisted of 'original compositions' and started with "Convertible Burt". The tune starts with an almost classical sound trans to a back-beat JAZZ and back to classical. It sets the mood for the rest of the program. Best, you pay attention to what you will hear. The next one is post-bop and titled "Mono-Stereos". Of course it will feature Silvano  on a sensational 5/4 rhythmed solo. It is fund-raising time for WLRN, so there is a short pause for the 'pitch'. If you are a JAZZ lover they deserve your support. (866 247 9576).

One of those making the plea was Caroline Breder-Watts. The reason I mention her is that the lady couldn't help but tap and clap to the music. Also, even though she was speaking to an unseen radio audience,  she acted as if they were seated in her living room. Hand motions, facial expressions. She didn't just read the lines. Performance art! The 3d number is "Brotherlation" with Eric opening with a solo. Each of these band members are serious JAZZ musicians and make every note mean something. Prior to them playing "One Day Wonder" one of the TV cameramen let's Ed Bell know that they are using a lens that takes most of the 'grey' out of his beard. It would need more. 'One Day' is pure bop and Rudolfo takes advantage of the freedom and really tears it up. The band is encouraged to play an encore. They comply playing "Stoner". If you want a tune to tell a story without words, this is it. It is a pure 'tone poem'. There is some incredible unison playing. Troy exploring the upper register, Silvano, fingers flying, Eric finding the groove, Tim shredding it and Rudolfo driving them all. So that is how the great day began-----and then----

An evening concert at the Knight Concert Hall. Aaron Neville and the Dirty Dozen  Brass Band. David Posner(the cat in the hat) agreed to do the driving and this was not to be the only transportation. The Dirty Dozen would move us to N'Awlins and then Aaron would take us on a trip in time. Gregory Davis(trumpet) was a founder of the "Dirty Dozen" With him are Efram Towns(trumpet), Kevin Harris(tenor sax), Kirk Joseph(sousaphone), Terrence Higgins(drums), Jake Eckert(guitar) and Roger Lewis(bari). I know--I know.

That's only 7. I take no responsibility for Louisiana mathematics. They run the gamut of traditional and not-so New Orleans music. Roger Lewis makes a definite impression. The band has some gals in the audience up out their seats shakin' those B&B's. Aaron takes the stage with his quintet. Charles Neville(tenor sax), Michael Good(Keys), David Johnson(bass), Eric Struthern(guitar/vocals), and Earl Smith(M.C./drums).

This portion of the program started with Charles' tenor solo---oh yeah! Aaron takes the stage and the trip back in time begins. "There Goes My Baby". I think this is the first time that I have heard him 'live'. The perfect voice and intonations for the 'doo-wop' songs of that era. I get lost in the 'trip down Memory Lane". Honeymoon---kids---their first school days---good times! "Please Send Me someone To Love", "Tell It Like It Is', the funky "Hercules". Aaron tries hard with the classical "Ave Maria" and closes the show with the encore "Amazing Grace" and "It's time To Say Goodbye". Enjoying the show was Jeanette Pina and Keith Clarke.

The night continues with a short drive to "Le Chat Noir" for a little more of Troy Roberts. David and I get there in time for a glass of wine, a shot of espresso and the last set. My favorite dance couple are there. A senior moment? Noooo. Just bad memory skills. There is a band change with Josh Allen now on bass and no keyboard. Gary Keller,UM,(tenor sax) is sitting in. As usual we are warmly greeted by Alex, Enzio and Gio. The cellar club is jammed, wall to wall JAZZophiles. The last set opens with "Bernie's Tune" a memorable be-bop theme. They follow with something in a very slow tempo. 2 notes.  ta----ta, repeated several times. I am trying to identify it. I can name that tune in 2 notes. Not this time. The tempo changes and so do the number of notes. I can identify that song in 3 notes. And I do. Duke Ellington's "A-Train" . The beat picks up. Straight-ahead, full swing version. They play with the rhythmic and melodic lines. Truly innovative and all brand new. Gary joins the band. The program is still 'progressive' but pays homage to JAZZ's swing era with a smooth groove. Everyone gets a chance to show-off and they do. Each solo is greeted with excited applause. Troy and the band close with "Do It Like Eddie" in memory of saxophonist, Eddie Harris. On the way home we listen to Herbie Mann. A word about my friend Dave (the cat in the hat). He, like I, loves to dance. I wish he would learn how to follow!!!!!    

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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