Thursday, July 10, 2014

Decisions can sometimes...(be based on mangoes perhaps, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 07/10/14 difficult to make. Wednesday nite delivered one of those dillemas. Two choices. Neither of them bad. Ira Sullivan at The Fish House in Kendall. Debbie Orta with Nicky and Mike at BJB. The Stockers had offered me a ride to Kendall so I can't use gas prices as an excuse. It was the thought of seeing Luz (Mike's girl friend) and dancing with Denise were the deciding factors. BJB's was the choice. 

The evening started with finding Bill working on his 2d or 3d martini. It was 6:30. He would have another before the end of happy hour. Glenda Grainger entertains on alternate Wednesdays during the happy hour. She sings 'cabaret' but in defference to my likes she will sing JAZZ when I'm in the house. It's not necessary. Her renditions of American songbook tunes are a delight. She is accompanied by Gary Lawrence who knows ten thousand tunes in any key you choose.

From the ballad "This Is My Life" to "Tampico". "Love Me Or Leave Me" to a JAZZy "There I Go Again". When Glenda sang "Funny Valentine" I persuaded Denise to dance with me. I don't want to brag but we had the audience gaping. Close, slow and sensual.-----was that me?------. 

The joint was now filled with the usual suspects. Stan, Isabel, Babette, Bill and me. Yeah there were other people there as well. It was Danielle Browns and Barbara Vann's birthdays and they were there to celebrate. Linc Lackey (bass) and his wife arrived with a cake for Barbara. Mike Ota at the piano, Nicky on bass, Danny Burger at the trap set and Debbie Orta at the mic, doing the vocals. Debbie opens with a song not often heard, "Peel Me A Grape". Talk about the feminine movement. The lyric tells it all. "The Look of Love" done to a tasty rhumba beat sets the tone for the rest of the evening. A jumpy "Comes A Rainstorm" has me and Denise doing a little swing dancing. A little salsa gives Luz and I a chance at showing off some salsa steps. When Debbie sings "Angel Eyes" I get a breather and a chance to enjoy the music by sitting and listening. A young couple of swing dancers do it to Debbie's singing of "It's A Lovely Day". Debbie loves singing a lyric in Portuges and she does it beautifully with the 'bossa nova' "Pasionado". They end the set with a slow version of "I've Got A Right To Sing the BLUES". I do not pass up the opportunity to do 'the Fish' with Denise.

During the break a tenor sax player had come in. His name is Orlando Sanchez and he had performed at one of the concerts I had attended while at the Havana JAZZ Festival in December. Debbie starts the set with doing a lyric to "Yardbird Suite". It is Bill's all-time favorite tune and it is the first time I have heard the lyrical version. It included a 5* Danny Burger solo. "Days of Wine and Roses" done to a salsa beat had me on the floor with Luz. All this dancing was to work off the home-made Philly Cheesesteak sandwich I had for lunch. The band swings "Devil Moon" with Debbie contributing a very nice scat chorus. They invite Orlando to the stage and they play "I Remember April". I don't remember any April like this. Orlando is bop-city all the way. Triplets beyond belief. Long, intricate phrases. The groove permeates the room and Mike responds. Nicky's solo is at break-neck speed. During the closing chorus, Orlando concentrates on the upper register of tenor sax and finishes with an Illinois Jacquet style "horse whistle". They follow with "Billie's Bounce" to continue in the be-bop mode. Debbie is back up doing "Din-dong the Witch Is Dead". It is a fun song and so I have fun dancing with Denise and Luz, simaltaneously. Talk about fantasies. I may have another cheese-steak sandwich again today. "Speak Low" is done to a samba beatand then they swing "Skylark" so I can dance with Denise before she departs. "Dancing Cheek To Cheek" is done up-tempo and Nicky does not miss a beat with his solo. They take a break before the last set. Lindsay Blair (guitar), Jerry Mascaro (bass/piano) and Fred Jacobs (trumpet) are all here to listen to Debbie. When Debbie sings "That's All" I notice that Danny is now employing 1 stick and 1 brush.

On "LOve Me Or Leave Me" it is all brushes. Danny is the 'Brushmaster". "World On A String" gets a jam session started with Fred and Orlando playing their respective horns. Orlando is totally within his element when they continue with "Groovin' High". Debbie is really wailin' with her scatting.

They slow it down a bit when Debbie again takes center stage to do "You've Changed". They give me another chance to dance with the lovely, Luz, when the play a salsified "Let's Fall In Love".

I fall into my seat having lost at least 7 ounces from all the activity. The jump "East of the Sun". I would but I can't find the strength to dance another step. I mae it to my car and Luz gifts me with a ripe mango. I had it for breakfast this morning. It was as delicious and sweet as my dance partners --- seeya! 

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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