Monday, April 7, 2014

I didn't...(Allen Kanvosky puts a wrap on Biscuit Fest, without eating the biscuit, we guess!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/06/14

...set any records but, I had a heck of a good time at the final day of The Funky Biscuit's Biscuit Fest. I didn't swim the channel. Didn't run a 10k. I didn't even try to cross the Pacific Kon-tiki style. I did go to the Funky Biscuit at 3PM and not leave 'til a little after 1AM. In the interim I had the opportunity to hear some of the best BLUES musicians, from near and far, perform. The program started with the return to the Biscuit of Dave Shelley (guitar/vocals). With Dave were Charles Gaspar (bass), Randy Ridenauer (drums) and Jimmy Powers (guitar). They opened with 2 tunes from the new album, "War Party" and "High Alert". Talk about 'high'. Both of the tunes wer HIGH energy and Dave sounded great. Jimmy's solo on "High Alert" had my ears perked up. Al Poliak joined in for "Whipping Post" and Jimmy caught my attention again. This is no string picker --- this cat PLAYS guitar. Rocking Jake (harp) steps up to play "Too Far Gone". His solo is 'rocking' and if they don't send Jimmy Powers home, I'll have to spend the rest of the night waiting for him to do another one. They do "Ready For Me" to get the ladies shakin' their B&B's. A tribute to Jimmi Hendrix with "I'm A Blue Child/Hootchie Kootchie Man". Bill ???? sits down at the B3 for Dave's rendition of "When I Was Your Superman" and stays for "Trick Bag" giving us all ataste of good B3. Jimmy does it to me again. They plan to close with "Black Water River" but cries for one more and the feature Jimmy on "Carolina Bound" Welcome Home, Dave.

Next up was the Josh Garret (guitar/vocals) band with David Fisret (bass), Terry Cheramie (drums) and Clay White (Louisiana saxophone). They are out of New Orleans and you can tell by their sound. A strong backbeat, a leaning toward rock and solid musicianship. I didn't get the name of their first tune but they played "Tore Down" and "My Baby Loves Me". A slow-tempo, drag BLUES had me and Nancy (Jimmie Belize's friend) up and doing the 'fish'. We continued dancing when the band played a swinging "Black Magic Woman". Back to traitional BLUES with "I Won't Worry My Life Anymore" with Josh playing the s--- out of the song. Next up was some definitive funk. Every one of Josh's facial expressions should be photographed. It's as if someone was playing 'face'. Rocking Jake returns to the stage to do a super duo with Clay on the Cajun tune "Who Threw The Whiskey In the Well". It was like listening to 'harps gone wild.' 

'Sista' Mary Beth ha arrived. She is wearing a Marilyn Monroe white dress. You know the one that blows up all around her in the movie. Anyway it is a bit of a shock. "Sista" in a white dress? I don't remember proposing or a buying a ring. Good thing I didn't wear my tux. Jake leads off the next tune but I don't catch the title. No difference, Jake takes an outstanding solo turn. A BLUES, "Good Night Baby" and then a rocker "Don't Lie To Me". Piano Bob joins Jimmie, Nancy and I at our table and proceeds to dip into our crispy Cajun fries. He attacks the food as if the Russians had just landed in Biscayne Bay. 

Josh has a really nice solo portion on "Hallelujah". Al Poliak gets back on the B3 for "Jambalaya". It gets lots of folks up to shake their 'gator tails and the rest of us clappin' and tappin'. They 'bring it down' for Al's B3 solo. Jeff Prine (guitar) and Matt Calderin (drums) are in the house and sit down nearby. Matt is the guy who introduced me to the JAZZ scene soon after my arrival in Florida.  

Next up was "The Fox Street Band". I had never seen or heard them before. The name brought up memories of my "yute". Fox St. was a street in my neighborhood (Ft. Apache, Bronx N.Y.) It was and still is one of the toughest barrios in N.Y.C. Wow, I thought, 5 tough kids off a Bronx Street playing the BLUES. Wrong!!!! They are from Colorado. They could be tough too. Fox Street has Jonathan Huerd (lead guitar/vocals), James Dunn (guitar), Eric Low (drums), Dave Salzberg (bass) and doubling on Sax and B3, Mirco Allenbach. Mirco opens "Do Me On the Floor" with a sax solo and Jonathan shows his BLUES voice chops. James gets a chance to do a 'slide' solo on "Ride With You Baby". Ron Holloway (tenor sax) joins the band for "I Got The Love Ache". His solo portion is exceptional, showing the full range of saxophonics. His and his instruments tone is way beyond the ordinary. The instrument itself is unusual. Pewter in color and hand crafted by Theo Wanne in Washington. The model is called "Mantra". In my opinion, it matches many of the Selmers I've heard. 

I'm going to skip some stuff to get to  Matt Schofield (guitar/vocals) and his band Jonny Henderson (B3) and Allen Bandeeswae??? (drums). If I did harm to Allen's last name blame it on Jonny's penmanship.

They open with a traditional "BLUES" and you know right off you are in for a treat. Traditional but with some unusual chord structures. Played in the key of C but many of the chords stray, in a good way, from the key. You better pay attention to fully enjoy htis bands talent. The band is from England. Their music America's BLUES. Jonny shows off with a 4* solo on the tune "I Don't Like To Lose". They play "Live Wire" to a 2d Line rhythm with Matt doing some real low-down dirty BLUES playing and they have us all clappin' and t----. A rousing rendition of "Betting Man" and then "The Day You Left" returning to C and the odd chord structures. "What You Left Behind" has Allen playing a great drum solo with tone breaks provided by Matt and Jonny. I should write about the rest of this bands program but if I have to leave out the Jam I would be remiss in my duties. Truth be told, I am being brief, now, because I am getting hungry. Matt borrows Jeff Prine's 1960 Gibson Les Paul Sunburst guitar as Ron Morrison returns-----oh my oh my oh my. Matt invites Jeff up. I am somewhat concerned after hearing Matt's playing. I shouldn't have been. I hadn't heard Jeff in over a year. OMG. He has finally learned what that instrument is all about. I was IMPRESSED.  

The jam has 'em all up at some time. Billy Iuso is out front but he gives all a chance to shine. 'Sista' Mary Beth, Rockin' Jake, Drew Preston, Maurice Dukes is on drums, Billy is singing and playing, the guys from Fox St. are having a ball on tambourines. Jonny Henderson is tearing up the B3 and Piano Bob hits some notes on the keyboard. They play "Love My Baby", "She Broke the Needle" and when they play reggae rhythmed "Knocking On Heavens Door" Al Poliak hits the B3. "You Can't Get That Stuff No More" and the joint is just plain rockin'.the musicians are having a ball.

The audience is up on its feet. Ray is keeping the sound in check, the waitresses stop clearing the tables to do a few dance steps of their own --- this is what music is all about --- making people feel good. I know I left a lot of stuff out. I was having such a good time I neglected taking some notes. Let me say "Thank You" to all of the musicians who played for me tonight. Thanks to Al P. for bringing good music to South Florida. Thanks to the wait staff, the bartenders, the cooks and chefs who make the evening even better. And last but not least to Ray (sound engineer) for helping the guys sound as good as they do. Good Morning Mrs. Calabash---cook my breakfast------


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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