Friday, March 28, 2014

To "Catch A...(Allen Kanovksy takes in Nicole Henry's show at JAZZIZ Nightlife)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 03/26/14

...Rising Star" is sometimes easier than 'catching' an established one. Early on, artists will play any 'gig' they can get. Usually close to home and at somewhat modest establishments. Along the way they travel hither and yon, sometimes to foreign lands. At the top, winning awards, playing at noted clubs and doing material that is their own choice, you don't get as many opportunities. I took advantage of one last night. Nicole Henry, a favorite of mine and my late life-partner, Flo, was at JAZZIZ Nightlife in Boca Raton. The first time I heard her song was 8 years ago---I knew then, that I was listening to a lady on the way to the top. As usual, I was right. Nicole has the voice, personality and stage presence that will sustain her presently and into the future. Nicole put together a great band for her show. Pete Wallace (piano/Keys), Tom McCormack (tenor/flute) Eric Englan (upright bass) and Mike Pilot handling the sticks and brushes. Taking the stage she sings "Come Back To Me". I am glad I was there and had Jackie Deering with me. Jackie had never heard Nicole before and was nodding her head in approval. Tom took the first solo and the evening was headed to the heights. When Nicole sings lyrics like "Tonight I'll give in", she makes them sound like they are meant for you, personally. Nancy Wilson's "I Found One True Love" becomes Nicole’s. Take a girl who sang in church, let her sing a BLUES tune and you will know the meaning of "soul". Nic does it and it is transmitted to Pete and Tom, reflected in their solos. "She's Got A Way" is one of my 'faves' especially with Pete and Eric solos. If you want to know what is to hurt on the inside, listen to Nicole sing "Is It A Crime". Back to the BLUES with "It Won't Be Long". She is in a 'love' mood and does "Get Here When You Can". The set closes with a swinging "Rte 66". You know me. I can't resist the beat and dance with Jackie in a discreet corner of the room. Nicole spies us and kind of laughs. The second show starts with the standard "Falling In Love With Love". Nicole goes from touchy/feely love to the painful side with a BLUES "I'll Drown In My Own Tears" I dance with Jackie again, This time the "Fish" Up tight, close and personal.  Nicole repeats 'the Bee song' followed with "Somebody Walked In To My Life". Ms. Henry does a short, sweet, Latin flavored "It Better Be Tonight". Versatility as she does a little funky stuff with "Why Do You Want To Make Me Cry". She draws from deep inside herself and puts it into her emotional vocalizations. Changing moods and in samba tempo Nicole sings "No More Blues". Nicole sits down to sing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". She does it as a ballad giving true meaning to the lyric----think about these 2 lyric lines-----First, the opening with "Tonight you're mine completely" and the last line "Will you still love me tomorrow?" How many relationships are there, where "forever" is only 'right now'? Again Nicole exposes her deep insides when she sings "Why Do You Want To Make My Cry" The rhythm is funk but the message is clear lament. Nicole returns to the BLUES to close the show with "It Won't Be Long". Pete really takes control with his rousing solo.

It was great seeing and listening to Nicole once again----she is 'on the road' and I hope she will be back soon. A word about Jazziz Nightlife: I visited 5 or 6 times when the first opened. I stopped going because the noise from the dining area defeated their sound system. Last night the Fagien Brothers in announcing the act made the audience know that if they wanted to talk, to take it outside. It was a brave and much needed pronouncement. The sound system is vibrant and now you can hear from anywhere in the expansive and classical room. There was a time, when not so discreetly, a note would be sent to an offensive talker that simply read "S T F U"-----if you know what I mean!!!!!!

I left Jazziz to meet Charlie Boyer and Little Mike (of Little Mike and The Tornadoes) at TheFunky Biscuit. Jackie had an early flight and said "Goodnight".  Charlie and Mike were having too much fun at Boston's and so I was on my own. I walked in to the Biscuit and was warmly greeted by Al Poliak. Additionally I was treated to a "Rap" trio from the Apple. I have no understanding of why music? has to accompany the poetry? I ordered a drink and endured the sounds? until the end. I have to be fair, There were people there, enjoying it. Maybe I just need more exposure --- maybe not.   

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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