Thursday, September 25, 2014

There are gamblers,...(and then are smarter people, right, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 09/25/14

....there are bettors and then there are those who place wagers. That's how I delineated those in the world of gambling. I no longer write about that. Nowadays it's listening to live music. I'll attempt to apply the same principles to the playing of JAZZ & BLUES. There are those that play, there are those that have studied and then there are the few that make you sit up and listen---closely. Last night on 'toity-toid' in Ft. Lauderdale I was 'lucky' to have the opportunity to listen to a quartet of musicians who fit in to that final category. 

Danny (thebrushmeister) Burger hosts a weekly showcase. The featured artist Wednesday was Jesse Jones Jr. (alto/flute) along with Brian Murphy (piano) and Paul Shewchuk playing upright (wood)bass. Jesse is a master of his art. Not only playing amazing riffs but also charming and entertaining an audience. The band opened with "Sack of Woe" a basic BLUES that becomes a JAZZ showpiece. Intricate, sometimes delicate phrases, are Jesse's forte and he cuts loose on this very first tune. Brian and Paul are instant respondents when given their solo shots. A bit of funky rock&roll with "Working Hard On the Chain Gang" Jesse vocalizes through his horn which is somewhat eerie but pure fun. Brian is really jamming and Paul can't help but grabbing on to the 'vibe'. "Laura" done in ballad tempo has Danny showing off that 'magic touch' with the brushes as well as mallets. Paul steps it up with a 5* solo. Jesse's wife, Thelma, is in the house and maybe she is responsible for the wonderful performance of Jesse and the band. Jesse and I consider each other "family" and it was great to see Thelma, smiling, bobbing her head and shaking her shoulders to the music. He dedicates the next one to me. The tune "Daddy-O". Way back in the day that title was considered the height of 'Hep'.

Jesse tears it up and Brian does a great stride solo. Thank you!. Now Jesse, still in that swinging mood does "Kansas City", singing it and then clowning with it as if a roadhouse drunk might do it. He returns to the serious with Coletrane's "Mr.P.C." and what be-bop is all about. Danny gets his turn and doesn't disappoint. Jesse scats his way to the break and there is applause from all over the house. I am seated with Eric (The Garage) and his pal Jonathan when Martine & Jacques (dance couple) arrive and they join us. He is driving in a race in Daytona this weekend and will meet Debby, Charlie and I at a few of the New Smyrna Beach JAZZFestival events. 

The 2d set is opened with Freddie Hubbard's "Gibraltar". During Jessie's solo portion he manages to play every saxophone note possible and then a few more. My description----INCREDIBLE. Brian & Paul don't let it slide. They grab on and follow suit. I don't catch the title of the tune when Jesse picks up the flute and reminds us all that tenderness is an essential part of love. "Del Se Va" is one of the most interesting melodies I know. It inspires Brian and has Paul playing triplets. Danny trades 8s with all. 

The next tune was played for my(and all musicians) friend Ms. Babette. She is seated, regally, at her usual bar stool. They play a passionate "Stardust" which has Martine & Jacques up and dancing. Close and tight. Watching them dance is a love story in and of itself. "Song For My Father" is one of Jesse's favorite songs. Everytime I hear him do it he adds something and tonight was no different. There is a Latin undertone and Brian's solo is reflective of his association with the Tito Puente band of yesteryear. Danny now takes the pipe----uh  I mean the mouthpiece to blow the drumskins up. Jessie does his inimitable scat lines in regular and falsetto voice. M&J can't stay in their seats. "The Best Things In Life Are Free" reflects Jessie's happy mood with Thelma looking on. The tempo is supersonic and so are Jessie's scat lines. Mike Murk and Lucy arrive just in time to catch it  and are glad they did. Jesse asks the audience if any of us are "Western" fans. Outside of me, I don't think anyone there even knows what a "Western" is or was. Never mind. Jesse, still in a fun mood does "Yipee Aye Oh Ky Yea". The opening lyric line---"I'm a lone cowhand on the Rio Grande". JAZZ musicians, including Thelonius Monk, often use the tune just for the fun of it. The final set has Mike(a Canadian) sitting in on drums for one song. It's a be-bop melody and he does handle it. I don't know a saxophone player in the world who doesn't like doing "Night Train" a 'bar-walker' special. Jesse does it all. The honks, the whistles, the repetive riffs---Oh Yeah!. The next 3 are what I call "Bop-a-Bye". Cannonball's "Dis Here", Wayne Shorter's "Black Nile" and ending with a wailing "Olio". Wotta nite!!!. 

Too late for The Real Tracy Fields.

Tonight at The Fish House on Miller Road, Elaine Porteous will celebrate a birthday. Also at Le Chat Noir, Alexi is doing the same. G-d willing I will make both celebrations. CU  

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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