Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Visions of...(burgers, blues, and what else, Allen Kanovsky? - Plenty to take in at The Funky Biscuit!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/22/14

...The Funky Biscuit's $5 hamburger special danced in my head. A healthy sized burger with and ample side of freshmade french fries, pickle, lettuce, onion and tomato. Top it off with a dyn-o-mite BLUES jam and a couple of musical surprises and you know why I headed to the Biscuit last night. First I called the like-wise chromosome damaged Jimmy Belize to invite him along. Dave Shelley (guitar/vocals) leads the house band on Monday nights. With Dave are BLUES stars Charlie Gaspar on bass, Randy Ridenouer at the drums and Jimmy Powers V playing guitar. The music started with "Too Far Gone". The vibe is set as the joint starts to fill with folks who love the BLUES. The standard "Born Under A Bad Sign" is next and then a real shuffle, "Dream About You Baby".  The band does "War Party" and all have a chance to show off. Dave introduces a new song "Blood From A Stone". The lyric line reads 'I'd rather live life alone than try to get love from a stone'. How chrooo. Raul Hernandez (drums) is in the house and is invited up to the stage when they do "Are You Ready For Me". I've known Raul since I first came to S. FL. in '06. He steps up on stage carrying a shiny alto sax. SURPRISE!!!!. He tells me later on that it's his retirement 'gig'. When he is too old to shlep the drum kit around. Bigger surprise is that he can really play the darn thing. Jimmy (the fifth) impresses, as always, with his solo. Al Poliak joins in on the B3 and the very pretty Emma Torntello sits down at the keyboard for a jumping "Soul Shine". Emma and Al switch places and Emma sings "Long Time Ago". Emma is a sophomore at UM and is a very talented player and vocalist. I was surprised to find out that she is not a music major. Her future is in medicine. I asked her whether healing bodies would be more satisfying than healing spirits. She follows with "Long Way Home". The audience sits in respectful silence. You don't get to hear music played like this every day. Emma stays at the B3 when the band goes full out 'funk' with "Going 'Round in Circles". Al returns to the B3 and sings "Feels Like Rain". Before the 'jam set' starts a young lady, Olivia, to play acoustic guitar and sing 2 folk style songs. 

The jam gets underway with Jay Stollman (harp/vocals), Dave Bertok (drums), Emma (B3), Sandy ??(bass) and an unkown young man on keys. They open with "I Just Want To Make Love To You". I had never seen Jay before and the guy had me sitting up and paying attention. He inspires the rest of the band and the 'joint is jumping'. Jay doesn't let the fire die as they do "Went Down To the Crossroads" and then "Bring It On Home To Me".Dave returns to the stage with Drew Preston(guitar) and Al sings one at the B3 with Emma moving to the keyboard. When they continue Jay takes a turn at the keyboards. Raul is back on alto, Jay playing harp and Dave takes a solo turn on "I Don't Know". Rockin' Jake (harp/vocals) and Maurice Dukes (drums) are on stage with Emma (B3) and Drew (guitar). Dave lets the band know they are going to do a 1-4-5 BLUES in G. It turns out to be a Rockin' Jake tour-de-force, "Shake That Boobie" *Editor's note* - Not sure if that is what Al meant to write, but we are going to let it stand. Jake does the vocal and Drew takes the first solo. Emma's B3 portion makes everyone listen. Raul continues to amaze me with his soulful alto solos. Jake puts a glass on the harp to create a trumpet-like wha-wha effect. Down to N'awlins with a 2d line "Hey Bok Away". Niles 'Red Beans' Blaize (harp/vocals) joins Kat Riggins (vocals) with Raul moving to the drum set to do "Worries and Troubles Just Won't Let Me Be". Dave and Drew are in a BLUES groove. Niles joins Kat at the mic to sing "My Baby". Dave and Drew do their thing and Niles brings it way down with a soft melodic line to close the tune. Kat returns to the BLUES with "I Worked 5 Hard Years For That Man, He Had the Nerve To Put Me Out". 

With that the crew at the Biscuit put us out. Not really. The staff at the Funky Biscuit is courteous, attentive and efficient. They deserve a round of applause as well. Finally had a chance to talk with Jimmy. It went something like this----"Wow-----uh huh----no s--t---then what---wow----uh hu-----no s--t----then what////////"On and On, On and On, On and On".     

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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