Saturday, April 26, 2014

"It was only...(...this week, and he is already back at it! Allen Kanovsky, you didn't tell us if you followed the Dr.'s orders!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/26/14

...a Dream". Not a fantasy. It was my life floating by. I was kissing a blonde girl under a staircase in an apartment building on Manor Ave. in the Bronx. She was 12 and a half. I was 13. Her name was Rose Prochansky. I married her 37 years later. I am in Hermosa Beach, CA. Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse. Bud Shank is playing alto, Shelley Manne is at the drum kit. It is 1952. 1948, I am 17 and sitting at the bar of the "3 Deuces" on 52 St. in N.Y..On stage is Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. 1956, Memorial Day weekend. The Laurels Country Club. I see Florence Eisenberg for the first time. 7 months later we are standing in front of a rabbi pledging our love. That weekend we listen to the Basie band with Joe Williams. The opening act is Lambert, Hendrix and Ross. I'm back in 1952, an after hours joint in a restaurant called Glenn's on Western Ave. in L.A. Guys from the Ellington band come in from time to time. Also Wardell Gray and maybe Dexter Gordon. I am with an artist. A woman named Corsica Cuyprenska and she invites me home. Maybe it was the 'bell bottom trousers'. They say your life passes in front of you just before you die. 

I was in the hospital (for real). I had just undergone surgery. Anesthesia and pain medicine had induced this memory ride. That was Wednesday night and Thursday. I am home and it's Friday. A magnet on my refrigerator door holds a ticket for the Dillard Jazz fund raiser. I call my surgeon to ask for permission to attend. "You must promise that you won't get up to dance." I promise. Mike Stocker agrees to do the driving due to the 784 stitches in my back.

Tic-tac toe anyone?

When we arrive Susan Stocker, Mike's wife and Ben's Mom is there to greet us. Stunning in black. I knew I should have worn a tie. Cocktails and hor's d'ouvres. Greetings and conversation.  

A small group is playing with different musicians joining in the Jam. There's Zach Auslander, Chris Mills, Zack McKinney Max Holms, Christian Cummings, Ben Stocker, Sidney Henry, Carla Robinson, Ulysses ?? and Jared Golden. They swing. In a groove. 

Parents, friends, family and supporters of JAZZ provide an attentive audience. Bop and Swing. "Billies Bounce" to "Cherokee". These youngsters have dedicated themselves to music. I must give credit to Mr. Chris Dorsey the bands director. He said during his introductions that some people think that band directors "don't teach". Mr. Dorsey goes well beyond what most teachers teach. He not only directs their musical pursuits but their person and personalities as well. Speak to any graduate of his programs and you know you are speaking to a Dorsey trainee. Polite, respectful, aware of themselves and striving to reach their goals. 

While dinner was being eaten, two string orchestras provide comfortable background. Dillard Center for the Arts has a wide variety of music programs. Now it was time for the JAZZ Orchestra #2. This is no 2d place band. All they lack is experience. The talent is there and obvious with every solo played. 

I am sorry about the names but------. Let me say there was a 7 piece sax section, including 2 young ladies, 4 trombones, 5 trumpets, piano, bass, drums and guitar. The first trumpet solo was played with the plunger mute and we all knew the evening of JAZZ was off to a great start. The mind fog returned and I kind of drifted through the rest of the program. I rose to the surface momentarily when JAZZ band #1 took the stage. I remember Jared Golden's solo on the Bari sax, and Ben's clarinet. Sydney Henry on the drums and Ulysses on piano. I remember them doing "Heats On" because of the bands unusual voicing and complex chart. I had enough attention span to count the 6 sax(1 female) section, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, piano, bass, drums and guitar. 

They did Ellingtons "Perdido" with an exceptional opening. "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" with a trio of tenor, alto and trombone standing out in front of the band. A Basie piece with the young lady in the sax section playing flute. A young man who had been Mr. Dorsey's trumpet student and decided he'd rather sing, got up to do Ellington's "I Like the Sunrise". A true baritone with depth and roundness.

Unfortunately, I did not get the young mans name but I will find out. They did "Alcupaco" and closed with their super, up-tempoed, Gillespie tune, "Things To Come". They are competing in the Ellington event at Lincoln Center. 15 bands qualify, nationwide. They finished in First place two years ago and 2d last year. They appear 15th on the program, May 10th at Lincoln Center in N.Y. Methinks they may use that as the 'finisher'. 

I will be there to cheer them on. Two bands from our area are in the competition. Good luck to both. I am drifting back to 1951. San Diego. A lady named Painless Nell has my hand on her leg. She has an electric pen in her hand as she inks the outline of my first tattoo. A robin, a rose, a banner and the word MOTHER. I look down at my forearm. It's still there.  

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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