Thursday, June 26, 2014

Showcase can be defined...(...and Allen Kanovsky gets his jazz by the case we hear!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/26/14 two ways. The mundane says it is a glass case for display of articles in a store or museum. The more exciting definition is  'to show the best parts of something'. That's what Danny Burger's SHOWCASE is. Every Wed. at BJB's Danny brings musicians together to let an artist show their 'best parts'. Last night it was Maria Rivas. This woman has loads of best parts. Voice, style, looks, warmth, stage presence, rhythm, versatility-----I could go on but let's talk about the performance itself. Danny(drums) had talented company. Nicky Orta (bass guitar) and Brian(2 brain) Murphy on piano. 

In the audience with me were Rick Katz (Miami JAZZ Co-op), Paul Shewchuck, Hannah, of course Babette, Martine & Jacques, buddy Bill, Patty & Rich, Stan, Isabel with her brother, Liona and Ken and dance partner Denise Shuster. Maria chose "Watch What Happens" and opened with a scat arpeggio. Have you ever heard 'scat' with a Latin accent? First song and each band member gets their turn as Maria hums along with each solo. The groove is set with Brians 5* solo on "All the Things You Are". To Sur America for the Bossa Nova "Girl From Ipanima" to which Martine & Jacques show-off their smooth dance steps. Maria's repertoire goes from Cole Porter to Dizzy Gillespie. The beaches of the Caribbean to the sidewalks of New York. Next, she sings "Our Love Is Here To Stay" and the audience is on their feet with applause and shouts  of "Brava". 

The trio does an instrumental version of "Invitation" before Maria returns to swing "Rte. 66". How can  Denise and I not dance to that. Maria does a unique version of Dizzy's "Night In Tunisia" which is a true 'showcase' of her musical capabilities. Lucy and Mike come in during the break. They are leaving for a month long cruise on their newly acquired catamaran the "PanDai". The 2nd set starts with a slow funk beat and the song "We'll Be together Again". A young couple get up to do a modern day "Fish". Ali & Solomon. They are good. Denise decides we should show the classic version of that dance step that was now alternatively as "The Grind" or "Why Dance?". "Quiet Stars" is one of the most beautiful Boleros and Maria brings all the emotion it deserves. "It Might As Well Be Spring" is done ala the swing era. Ali & Solomon strut their stuff. Maria utilizes unexpected rhythms to certain tunes. The love song "Funny Valentine" is her way of showing off a little funk style. Jacques invites Denise to the floor. All I can say is "hot-hot-hot". "Besame Mucho" is a song that belongs to Maria. Her heart and soul is reflected in every note. Martine, Jacques, Denise and I take to the floor. Bop is back in the house when the trio does "Grooving High".  They trade high temp 8's. Paul Cohen (bandleader/trumpet) is enjoying every note. 

When Maria does "Autumn Leaves" you become aware of what JAZZ is all about. Innovation, experimentation, creation. Does anyone else do "One Note Samba" in the language of scat? Lindsay Blair shows up in time to hear Maria do a funky "Summertime" complete with an extended scat portion to open the final set.  Nicky contributes a soulful bass solo. Maria looks towards me and announces that she is dedicating her next song to me because she enjoys reading my blog and even more so because of our friendship. She will sing it in Italian and it is a romantic love song title "Estate" which is 'summer' in Italian. 

Otis Cadillac and Kat Riggins come in after sitting in at Fishtales, across the street. Maria and the trio swing "Night and Day". Denise and I swing along. Trying to outdo my fading self, I back dip Denise and almost drop her on her head. Fortunately a chair saved my reputation. Many thought it was intentional. No way! 

Maria and I understand full well the meaning of the lyrics in "Lush Life". You have to have lived it or deeply observed it to get the true depth. Again in Italian she sings "You Don't Know What Love Is" and closes with "My Romance" in English and Spanish. Maria has done some new drawings reflecting her originality of thought. They are available for purchase.

I would be remiss if I didn't say a little about Ms. Glenda Grainger who appears from 4 to 7 on alternate Wednesdays. Glenda is primarily a 'cabaret' singer. Whenever I show up she accommodates me by singing JAZZ and she knows how to do it. Lastly but not least, saxophone icon TurkMauro makes his 574th comeback at Arts Garage this Saturday. Turk has played with every JAZZ artist known to mankind and some that no one else besides me have ever heard of. 

Just in case of Turk taking my note about his number of comebacks with some distaste, I will state that it is subject to review. It might be only 501.

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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