Saturday, June 7, 2014

You know it's LOVE if, (...if Allen Kanovsky says it is!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 06/07/14

...he or she writes you a song, a poem or a letter. If it's a letter or a poem, it has to be written, by hand, on a sheet of unlined paper. Not e-mailed or texted. A song can be written on pre-printed music sheets. 

Rodolfo Zuniga (educator/drummer) wrote a song for Karla Gutierrez (student/vocalist). They performed it last night at Le Chat Noir in downtown Miami. The title of this original tune is "The Loneliness Side". A beautiful melody and a love-driven lyric. 

Let me tell you more about last night. My evening started with the Gold Coast JAZZ Society's First Friday Jam at Art Serve. It was the last of the season and the gallery was jammed with listeners and young musicians. I didn't get all the names but this is a list of those I did. They are mostly high and middle school kids with some recent graduates included. Trombones: Brandon Richardson, Armando Vergara, Christian Soler. Trumpets: Anthony Hervey, Jason Faust,Haley Menktins, Kelly Gonzalez, Max Boiko. Reeds: John Bell, Victor Spuck, Ben Stocker, Sam Steinfeld and down from the Apple, Dillard graduate Patrick Bartley. Drums: Steven Hoyos (bass), Miguel Russell, Charlie Steiner, Zachary McKinney. Piano: Carla Robinson, Steven Scott. Flute: David Marks. Steel drum: Kobie Alleyne. 

Some of them I never heard before. Most I've listened to since they were thirteen or in Kobie's case maybe he was 7 or 8. I know his head barely came above the lip of the pan. They took turns playing in quartets or quintets. The tunes ran the gamut. "Billies Bounce" to "Watermelon Man". Second line to be-bop. "A-Train" to "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". "Night in Tunisia" to "Let It Shine". 

Nicole Yarling hosts the event and she had Gary Thomas on bass and Larry Steinberg on drums. A wonderful night of music and a great opportunity for the youngsters to meet and play with one another. Jeannette Pina was in the audience and we all had a ball. Thank you Gold Coast, the staff and all the volunteers. --- Forgot to mention that the night before Jeannette and her Dad enjoyed the TD Orchestra down in Coral Gables. 

So now it's only 10PM. Way to early for this guy to go home. Le Chat Noir. Sunrise Highway to downtown Miami? Figure 30.35 minutes. Easy decision and I am there. 

The band is led by the aforementioned Rudolfo Zuniga. There is some debate over whether it's zoon-i-ga or zoo-nee-ga. I'll let him discuss it with Albert Castiglia. Eric England is on bass, David Fernandez on reeds and Derek Fairholm at the keyboard. They are just ending a tune when I arrive. Rudolfo invites Roxana Amed, vocalist from Argentina, to the stage. Her English is without accent and she has a very creative approach to the song "You Don't Know What Love Is". Her emotion is reflected in the solos by David and Derek. David employs his soprano sax for her rendition of an Argentinian song. 

Gary Keller has arrived just in time to catch this tune. I understand very little Spanish so the lyric eludes me. But, you don't have to know the words to feel the music. And I do. This wrinkled, well worn and travelled guy is on the verge of falling in love with a woman he has never seen before. A little later she will tell me the story behind the song. It is of a 'peach' which ripens too soon and falls off its tree to roll to the shore of a river. It is probably the most beautiful thing ever written about a piece of fruit.

Next they do "Tapestry". I close my eyes and am transported to another place. I don't catch the title of the next one but it starts with an extended bass intro that has me leaning forward to catch every nuance. The rest join in. It is funky --- and futristic. The Future of Funk? Futuristic Funkiness? All I know is it has got me tappin', clappin' and having a heck of a good time. The 2d set starts with what I call the "Music Of the Day After Tomorrow". The really progressive side of JAZZ that is being played by today's JAZZ musicians. Again David and Derek produce incredibly interesting solos. I don't catch the titles of the songs but it's the music that counts. The JAZZ melodies created by Rudolfo and played so beautifully by the band touch the very elements of my being. 

I have my eyes closed enjoying the reverie. There are about 30 or so patrons in the audience. The music is too wonderful to be interrupted by applause. I am ethereally transported to another time and place. Peace of mind. No turmoil. These are the moments that make you realize that you must be there, at the very instant. They will never be heard the same way, ever again.  I notice a very pretty young woman sitting opposite me has also closed her eyes. The music is touching everyone in the room. The lady is Karla and now she is invited up to sing the song Rudolfo has written for her. Her voice is as lovely as her countenance and the melody let's you know it is all about LOVE. She does another one which only makes you appreciate her voice even more. 

The night of music is raised to greater heights when Hery Baz (tenor sax) and Jean Caze (trumpet) are invited up. It is now be-bop time. And BOP they do. All of them are "Blowin'" and I mean "BLOWIN!

I realize that I may have been effusive in my description of the night and the music. You know what, I didn't even get close to the pleasure and joy I experienced last night. My sincerest gratitude and thanks to each and everyone who performed for ME and all the others who were present. Hey, don't let me forget the great pannini sandwich, glasses (how many?) of Pinot Grigio and Gio's super double espresso. I heard all of the music again, in my sleep.

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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