Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Two Loves Have I"...(Would those be the first, and last, dance, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 07/24/14 the title and the opening lyric of a song written by Nat King Cole a long time ago. Wednesday night I was in a situation with "Two Loves". Both are JAZZ vocalists, namely Nicole Henry and Maria Rivas. 

Nicole at JAZZIZ in Boca Raton, Maria in Ft. Lauderdale. If these were the only JAZZ singers I have loved it would be a minor hitch in the road. Two? I can easily name twenty. Not in any particular order these are gals I love or have loved: Cleo Laine, Diana Krall, Janis Joplin, Celia Cruz, Jo Stafford, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Wendy Pedersen, Big Mama Thornton, Lisanne Lyons, Rita Wilburn, Luz Salazar, Bessie Smith, Keely Smith, Betty Carter, Anita O'Day, Debbie Orta, June Christie, Billie Holiday and Della Reese... I could probably name another twenty but some people might think I was fickle. 

Loving someone is not like being 'in love". I have truly only been 'in love' twice in my life and I married both of those ladies. But, Wednesday had me making a choice of whom I would go listen to. I am a cold and calculating person. I considered all the aspects of my choice. Of course the only fair way to choose was eenie-meeni-miney-mo. It being late in the month finance$ and the co$t of ga$ and the fact that BJB has no cover on Wednesday did play some part in my decision. And so it was Maria I was off to listen to for Wednesday's Danny Burger's Showcase night.

Danny (drums) had Brian Murphy on piano and Jamie Ousley (freshly returned from Japan) on bass. It was Maria's night to shine and she did. Showing no sign of her health battles she opened with Paolo Gomez's "Dance the Samba" (my interpretation of the Portugese title). From the very first few bars you got the impression it was going to be a great night. An instant groove was in progress with solid solos by Brian, Jamie and Danny using the brushes. Maria follows with Billy Strayhorns "Lush Life" which she dedicated to me. As usual my reputation preceded me. Maria has added dramatic and emotional endings to her rendition of songs and it is impressive. The trio does an instrumental and Brian is wailing. Have you ever heard "Bei Meir Bist Du Schoen" sung with a Spanish accent? Never mind. They did swing and a couple of young 'jitterbugs' added to the delight of the sounds. Maria does the most beautiful "Besame Mucho" and I dance with Denise. At my table are Bill, Dr. Jules with Connie and Denise. In the house are the other 'lush life' denizens, Babette, Stan, Isabel, Mark and later on Buzz and old friend Robin. The be-bop national anthem "How High the Moon" opens the 2d set and the jitterbugs are at it once more. Maria's scatting is drawing my close attention. There's an added dimension and it's great. 

In waltz time and en Espanol she sings "Poco Poco". Maria has added 'funk' to her repertoire and now does "Summertime" to a 'down home' beat. Doctor Jules likes the traditional version but I tell him that Maria's interpretation is the way a person who had lived it would have written it. The next bossa nova won't let me sit still and the lovely, lively Denise and I are at it again. --- Why are you guys smiling like that? --- "I'm Beginning To See the Light" and Denise and I are still up on the floor. Now a strong salsa rhythm has half the joint up and dancing.

The trio calms it down a bit with a smooth instrumental and then returning to 'funk' Maria does an exceptional "Funny Valentine". The last set starts with "Patito" and a salsified scat vocal. "Quanta La Mira" has Denise and I dancing again. Renee Frankton has finally made it down from Boca. "Dindi" (pronounced in Portuguese "jinjee") has Maria showing her deepest feeling for romantic ballads. It seems 'funk' has taken a place in Maria's heart as she does "You Don't Know What Love Is" and ends the evening with "Days Of Wine and Roses". All I can say it was a heck of a night. 

Earlier, during 'happy hour' Glenda Grainger, accompanied by Gary Lawrence entertained a full house. Glenda probably knows every popular song ever written and Gary can play 'em in any key. She graciously does some JAZZ singing whenever I am in there. The gal does have 'chops'. I am sure Nicole Henry was great at JazzIz but even I can't be in two places at once------minds excluded of course. 

Off to another gal I love. "Hi Tracy!" 

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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