Friday, June 13, 2014

"Night Time Is The...(...ONLY time, sometimes, at The Fish House. Right, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/13/14

...Right Time" for Jam sessions. It can be JAZZ or BLUES or both. A Jam is a Jam regardless of genre. A great place to witness one is a place that's in a nondescript strip center on Miller Rd. in Kendall. It is well known to JAZZophiles and BLUESiacs because of their Wednesday (JAZZ) and Thursday (BLUES) sessions. I missed Wednesday night which meant I missed Ira Sullivan, Lisanne Lyons and Wendy Pedersen plus the many young players who get up to play. I pulled myself together to meet buddy Bill and fellow Havana traveler, Elaine, at The Fish House

The house band had Darrell Raines (guitar/vocals), George Caldwell (bass), Dagmar Avencibia (drums), Bill Clark (bongos/harp/percussion) Julian Harris (guitar) and Michael Wainright on keys, tenor, flugelhorn and vocals. The opener was "Ain't No Sunshine" and Darrell PLAYED the BLUES. Next "Magic". Mike picked up the tenor and played a JAZZ/BLUES solo. Julian impressed me with his first solo of the evening. I hadn't taken him seriously because he was wearing shorts even though they bore a Berklee logo. His playing changed my mind. I do maintain that if you want an audience to pay attention to what yu play be aware of what you wear. In the key of "F" Darrell sang an impassioned "Things That I Used To Do". He and Julian played 5 star solos and Bill was inspired on his harp portion. Part of the lyric says, "I'm gonna send you back to your Momma and go back to my family too". The song is really BLUES and is indicative of too many of present day relationships. They follow with a capital 'F' funk tune. Michael on tenor and the two guitars are wailing and then Dagmar and Bill do a bongo/traps duo. They double-down with another funky beat "Foolish Heart of Mine". The set is concluded with a Darrell BLUES original, "Love Doctor". 

The 2d set is a Jam contest. The players are vying for a cash prize. Before the contestants come up the band does "Kansas City" to a nice shuffle beat. First up is Anthony(guitar). They play "Rainy Night In Georgia" with Darrell doing the vocal before Anthony's guitar solo. Anthony's 2d song is "Sweet Home Chicago" in which he shows lots of original thought. Next up is Ben(guitar). They do a Beatles tune "Over Me" and Ben is technically perfect. On Ben's next tune Michael does the vocal on a song that the only part of the title I got was 'House'. 3d was Jack or Zach (guitar), not sure. He was a bit younger than the prior two. He played well and will improve with seasoning. They did a rock/BLUES which he was comfortable with. #4 was Tony, a professional musician who had just stopped by. He played flute to "I'm Coming Home". At #5 was another Tony. A guy, approaching my age. Tony was up there to sing "Georgia" and "Everyday". There was a pretty young lady, Ingrid Vila, in the audience. She was enjoying every minute. Dagmar had joined her in the audience and handed her the tambourine. He gave Ingrid some rudimentary lessons and off she went, rattlin' all the way. The first Anthony (guitar) took the prize by popular vote. The last set was an all-out Jam. Ben on bongos, Tony, the vocalist on drums and Michael at the keyboard for a rousing "Mustang Sally". Can you be in Miami and not do a Latin tune? Nooooo. "Oye Como Va" with Darrell on keys, Mike on tenor, Rene Dial (bongos). Both Julian and Anthony (contest winner) doing 5 star solos. "Black Magic Woman" and then the BLUES with Darrell at the keyboard, Ben and Julian on guitars, Mike doing the vocal to conclude the evening. 

I noticed that for the first time in seven years that George sat through the performance and Darrell had grey hairs sprouting. Before giving George a ride home I spoke with Angela (owner with hubby Jose). I let her know how much I appreciated her devotion to promoting 'live' JAZZ and BLUES in this modest but very good restaurant. She does it because she, like I, loves music. George and I spoke about the music 'biz' and how important that the youngsters coming up understand that it is a business as well as an art. Learning to play is one part. Learning to read (a contract) is just as important. The worldwide news is scary and depressing. George H.W. sky dives at 90 is the only happy note.

Thank the Lord for music and musicians to play it.   

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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