Thursday, October 2, 2014

I usually write about...(And Allen Kanovsky writes, and writes, and writes, as writers do!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 10/02/14

...the headliners of the show, I mention sidemen and accompanists when they produce outstanding solos. This review will reverse that mode. 

Let me start with Mr. Gary Lawrence. He accompanies Ms. Glenda Grainger playing piano. No play list. No Fake Book. No charts. Glenda chooses a tune, sometimes consulting with Gary as to the key. In the short time I was there, they did 13 songs. Mostly 'cabaret' but in deference to my penchant for JAZZ and improvisation Glenda graciously showed her talent for that genre. One of the JAZZier was Cole Porters "What Is This Thing Called Love". During his solo portion, Gary quoted the be-bop standard "Hot House". It is one of many bop riffs based on American songbook standards. Later on Debbie Orta did another bop tune based on "Whispering". Johnny Mercer to Oscar Levant and all between. There is a lyric line in "Come Rain or Come Shine" that goes---'we're in or we're out of the money'. When Glenda intoned the words "we're in" she did a little body motion that was definitively suggestive. When asked about it Glenda promised that next time I saw her she would do "The Stripper" and really show me some moves. I am looking forward to it. Glenda and Gary must have done 40 or more tunes during her show. She consults her music book for melody and sometimes lyrics. Gary consults his memory and uses it well. 

Now Debbie Orta is Danny Burger's Showcase artist. With Debbie and Danny are her husband Nicky (bass) and his brother Mike (piano). With me are Jackie Deering (American Airlines flight attendant/dance partner) and Luz Marina Salazar (Mike's one and only). In the audience are Babette, Stan Jackson, Renne & Joyce (Arts Garage), Piano Bob and Lindsay Blair. Debbie started with "Close Your Eyes" done to a Bossa rhythm. The Orta brothers playing solos instantly bring to mind what brothers really are. Not only do they feed off each others improvisations, they also display the underlying sibling rivalry. Each vying for the top without malice.

Every imaginative solo(there were several) by Mike is matched by Nicky. Even Danny is inspired. Debbie herself has grown as a JAZZ vocalist over the past couple of years. She has become really creative. Particularly worthy of note was "I'll Remember April"  which opened the 2d set. Mike, Nicky and Debbie made us all sit up and listen to JAZZ as it is meant to be. Cole Porter to the Beatles, "Jitterbug Waltz to "Love Me or Leave Me". Dancing with Luz and Jackie. 

The delightful Shannon was our server. Jackie and I shared a spinach salad and we all shared some crispy french fries (traditional for Jackie and I). The clock is about to toll with just 1 chime. Jackie, Shannon and I have a discussion about the ways of "todays" woman and sex. Mike Murk had walked in. I kiss Jackie, Debbie, Luz, Shannon and Nancy on the cheek. Say goodnight to all the guys and say "Hello Tracy, nice of you to bring Diz along".

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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