Sunday, April 13, 2014

I realize that in the past...(Allen Kanovsky gets shut down for Q&A with Oriente at Arts Garage! Bet THAT never happened in the past!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/13/14

...that I have said that "mi no habla espanol" but truth be told I do 'habla' some. The reason for me bringing it up is because of a musician I have nicknamed "El Gato Fresco"---the cool cat---namely Eddie Balzola. He leads the band known as 'Oriente". He is the coolest of all cats and surrounds himself with cool cats as well. El Gato Fresco dos is William Peredes (trombone). He hails from Santa Clara, Cuba having arrived maybe 3 years ago. I am in the process of helping him with his english. Many people say that I need help with my english too. 

Ray Monroe (drums) comes to us from Puerto Rico.
Raymer Olalde (latin percussion) is also from Santa Clara. Last night, sitting in for Dony Felix on bass was Deogo Brown from Rio De Janiero. Latin JAZZ is the genre and it took place at Arts Garage in Delray Beach. There to enjoy the music with me were Janet & Rick Ireland. He refers to himself as "Reggae Rick." So, now I have 'Reggae Rick' and 'Jimmie  Belize'. From now on I think I will be the 'Real Al Madrid' (Real en espanol = royal). Also at my table  were Doris and Don Koricoff. They knew B.S. Pully and had visited his club "The Pump Room" on Washington Ave. when they were on their honeymoon in 1956. I celebrated my 16th birthday while playing in a band at that 'jernt' in 1947. 

Yes, I know, the music. "Overtown Redemption" is an original written to memorialize the old Overtown which had been known as the south's Harlem before the 95 crushed it. William took the first solo and electrified the audience. Eddie doesn't let the udience loose and delivers a trademark solo. Another original follows. It's "A Song for A Girl". El Gato does a mystic introduction. I am transported into a dream. The guitar is painting a picture of the girl. Tall, cafe au lait complexion, a tiny bit wide at the hips only complementing her long legs, shoulders to match and a smile on her face that makes sushine look like a shadow --- not the girl that I dream about --- she's the one Eddie remembers. I think William sees her as well because his solo is, in want of a better word, heroic. 

Next, they do Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" with Eddy playing all alone. The tune transes to "Body & Soul done to a reggae rhythm pattern. Deogo's turn --- go, man, go. The Jocko Pastorius influence is evident in this truly JAZZ solo. The band does Eddy's tribute to John Coltrane, "Love, Magic and Music". They are having difficulty with Eddy's amp but he soldiers through. William, Deogo and Ray add depth to the tune with their respective solos. Amps changed, Raymer fires up his congas to introduce "Softly" played to a traditiona Cuban rhythm. I dance a little with Janet. William solos, Eddy does a 5* portion, Deogo is not to be outdone, Eddy takes another turn and William rides them out---OH YEAH!!!. "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and Raymer's star shines. Conga delirium. The bop tune "Night In Tunisia" gets the full Funk treatment with a creative intro by Deogo. Cuban roots are on display with "Chon Chon" including a quote from "Eleanor Rigby". Midstream they play "Life Without Music" and return to the Cuban refrain. Eddy does about 128 bars of hypnotic guitar intro to "Three Years of a Secret". William is inspired and the only way to describe his portion is "something else'. Deogo's good ideas are a JAZZophiles delight and it is follwed by great conga and then drum solos. 

The band takes a delayed break. I "break-in" to the break room but before I get a chance to ask a question, Holly Spillane, Eddy's wife, spills into the room to remind them that it is only a 5 minute break. No questions = no answers. They return to do a lively, jivey "Watermelon Man". Each taking a turn and swinging. I often say "You can take the boy out of clave, you cannot take clave out of the boy" So here goes --- pok--pokpok--pokpok   I know that tune>>>>>>>"Caravan". I have never done "salsa" to that tune. Last night, I, and everyone else in the room was up and shaking a leg and hips and shoulders and every other body part that moves.

Arts Garage, great sound, great music, great audience.

Received an e-mail from good friend Elaine Porteous about a performance by Cecile McLorin Salvent last night. Watched a video---will have to look for future dates---the gal can SING. 

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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