Monday, June 16, 2014

A Day(night) In The Life...(And good music puts light in the night, right Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/16/14

...of a dancing fool, starts with a willing dance partner, a JAZZ vocalist and a great rhythm section. It is vital that a singer finds rhythm back-up that is not only good at providing the beat but adds creativity to the process. This all happened at BJB's last night.

The singer, Ms. Lourdes Valentin. The rhythm section had Orlando Machado (percussion), Abel Pavon (piano) and Ranses Colon on upright bass. She couldn't have chosen better. They opened with an instrumental samba and my willing partner, Ms. Denise Shuster, and I were up in an instant. A wonderful way to start an evening with Ranses supplying an impressive bass solo. Lourdes takes the stage with "It Might As Well Be Spring" followed by "Tea For Two" both done with a Latin tinge. In the latter there was an interesting voice/drums duo. 'As time goes by', Lourdes has become more adventurous with her interpretations of Broadway and American Songbook tunes. She picks up her guitar for "Oferem" and continues with it when they do an easy rhythmed "Summer Samba".  An original titled " So Free" is reminiscent of the 60's folk songs especially with Lourdes use of guitar. Ranses bass solo introduces "Bright Sunshiny Day". A fun tune "Consider Yourself" has smiles on everyones face and it is followed by a rhumba rhythmed "Taking A Chance On Love". 

Denise and I have taken advantage of danceable rhythms and I am wearing myself and the heels of my shoes, down. Lourdes opts to do Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" and Abel treats us to a real JAZZ solo. Ranses bounces it a little and then Orlando adds a little funk. Lourdes is playinng with the lyric and melodic line and we are all having fun. They close the set with Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue". Orlando takes advantage of the intricate beats of the tune to do a very interesting solo. 

Just before the band leaves the stand, Orlando converts a drum stick into a flute, No I am not nuts. He raises the stick to his lips and you would swear, based on the sound, that he is playing a wind instrument. 

During the break a very lovely blond approaches Denise and I to congratulate us on our dancing. Her name is Civa and she is from Iceland. Civa is the first Icelander, Denise and I, have ever met. Turns out she was at Le Chat Noir with her husband on Saturday night to hear the band I wrote about yesterday. About that night, I forgot to mention four lovely young ladies, students at The New School, studying dance.

When we were leaving, Renyel had taken a place at the upstairs piano to play a little salsa. Of course I asked a young lady to dance. They were Andrea Bolivar, Jorday Salguedo, Barbara Grand-Pierre and Anasthasia Grand-Pierre. 

The 2d set opens with Lourdes unique voicing of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". They swing "All I Do Is Dream Of You" and Denise and I do our favorite dance steps. Scott Halston (alto sax) is invited up to do "One Night Samba" with Lourdes and the band. They like what he does and ask him to stay for one more, "My Favorite Things". Lourdes dedicates "So This Is Love" to Civa and her husband and then for Denise "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" Believe me, Denise, knows how to have fun. She is rarely without a smile on her lips and a laugh in her throat. 

Denise is not the only one having fun. So is Lourdes  Another Lourdes original is "Crossroads" about life choices. The lyric is thought provoking. "Day By Day" includes exciting bass and piano solos. A salsa rhythmed "Close Your Eyes" has us up dancing again. They closed the evening with "Moon River" in waltz-time and then an addition to Lourdes songbook, "Deeper". 

My good pal Jimmy Belize (photo of me at top) is recovering from heart surgery and has regained enough strength to make it to the FunkyBiscuit tonight. I will be there to listen to the music, take advantage of Al Poliak by ordering the $5 hamburger special and examine the 'zip' job they did on Jimmy. I also cadge an occasional rum/tonic from the Bluesiac habitues of the joint.

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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