Saturday, March 1, 2014

What a way to...(If there is a way, Allen Kanovsky will find it!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 03/01/14

...end a short month. When I left home it was February 28th. When I got back home it was March 1st. What happened in-between was that I had a great time. The place I had chosen was the Turnberry Club & Spa. It's close, they validate valet parking, full volume beverage service and Noreena Downey was on the bill. With Noreena were Felix Gomez at the keyboard and Elegant Emilio Valenzuela (tuxedo & all) on drums. An added pleasure was that Emilio had brought along Carmen, a home-girl from Fort Apache in The Bronx. Noreena opened with "Moondance" and immediately showed her scat sensibility. Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" was an example of what a real JAZZ singer can do with a song. During their doing that "OOhBa" song, 3 ladies walked in.

Beautifully clad in vibrant colors, hi-heeled shoes, form fitting dresses with hem lines that showed off their tall-girl legs. I welcomed them when they entered by saying "My dance partners have finally arrived". They laughed at me. I took that as a "YES". Emilio and Felix collaborated on a JAZZy "Autumn Leaves". Ms. Downey returned to do Nat King Cole's "Signifying Monkey" better known as "Straighten Up & Fly Right". Nice swing tempo and so as the instrumentalists did their thing, I did a little step or two with Noreena. My dancing inspired another couple to take the floor when Noreena sang "You've Changed". They danced, holding each other close, she closing her eyes at times. You could see the LOVE. Cindy and John Silva. They've only been married 27 years. Noreena has no fear when it comes to doing songs in rhythms not generally associated with the tune. She does "Besame Mucho" with no tinge of Latin whatsoever, just kind of swinging it. So that means "Night and Day" had to stand up for Cuban rhythms. When they did "What's Going On" my earlier advances paid off. Sue, one of the aforementioned trio, came over, inviting me to dance. She was celebrating her 21st or so birthday. I was celebrating dancing with this lovely 'dame'.

Another of her friends arrived. Just as pretty and well dressed. Her name was Melissa. She walked in with a guy---I didn't bother getting his name. During the break Emilio put on a set of headphones while Noreena played a track. Senor Valenzuela played along. I paid close attention to what he was doing. Understated but grooving all the way. It was a treat. They opened the 2nd set with a tune from the "Bump" era, "I Feel Like Making Love To You"---I thought, G-d give me the strength. It puts me in full dance mode so when they do "No Moon At All" I ask Carmen to dance. We do and have fun doing it. They play "You Don't Know What Love Is" with a samba beat. Noreena motions me to get up and do a little with her. I'm hesitant. It is not a step that I really know. But if you take Noreena in your arms you become an instant dance master. My buddy Bill asks for his fave "Since I Fell For You".

I look over at Carmen----"Do you know how to do the "Fish"? It was a foolish query----she's from The Bronx----she knows how to do it and also knows that some of us called it the 'Grind'. "Skylark" done to a gentle samba beat with a notable scat portion. Emilio and Felix play around with "Come Fly With Me" and have me clappin' and tappin'. They continue with "Morning of Carnival" from the film "Black Orpheus". Noreena invites Carmen up to sing. She is reticent but finally agrees. Am I glad she did. She does a song in Espanol. Her voice is classic soprano with a hint of JAZZ. Some say French is the language of love. Not I. My belief is that Spanish is not as syrupy, has more warmth, more depth of feeling, more heart and soul. Carmen's song says "You accustomed me to loving you, but you never taught me how to live without you". The lyric is now engraved on mi alma. It ended the set.

The last set started with "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To". Then a salsa tempoed "All Or Nothing At All". If you want to dance to Latin rhythms do it with a girl brought up in Fort Apache (the 41st Precinct). Carmen fit the bill. A group of young men came into the room. They were having a good time and enjoyed JAZZ. Noreena repeated "N.Y. State of Mind" for them and then rocked "Nature Boy". Keeping in the youth movement she did U2's "You Don't Have To--". A couple came in with their dog Koko. He liked the music and shook is head in time. I was told he plays guitar. The evening came to an end early in the A.M. of March 1st and the band doing a little funk/rock "Do It Again". I will !!!!!!!   

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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