Thursday, October 30, 2014

So, this guy walks into a bar (Would "this guy" be Allen Kanovsky, perchance? And the bar where Danny Burger and Ira Sullivan are playing, maybe?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 10/30/14

…where a gal is singing on stage. The vocalist recognizes the guy and remembers that he is a JAZZophile. She says "Hi" to the guy and in deference to his preference sings "That Old Black Magic".

I generally refer to Ms. Glenda Grainger as a 'cabaret singer.' Last night Glenda showed all the influence that June Christy, Sarah Vaughan, Lady Day and others had on her earlier days at song. She continued her program with "Lover Man, Where Can You Be", "Love Me Or Leave Me", "Lullaby of Birdland" including scat lines, "Good Morning Heartache", an a cappella "How High the Moon" and Oscar Levant’s great "Blame It On My Youth". Gary Lawrence is her pianist and ably enhances her performance. Kudos to Glenda for starting my night, right.

I am at BJB's on Toity-toid in Ft. Lauderdale. In the house are Babette, Isabel and brother Jim, Stan, my buddy Jimmy Belize with gal pal Nancy, Dave, a disc jockey down from Melbourne and several musicians including Mari Bell (piano), Anthony Corrado (everything) and Orlando Machado (percussion). It is Danny Burger's Showcase night and the iconic Ira Sullivan is the featured artist. Ira has his road buddy and fellow musician Marc Berner along. The rhythm section and soloists are Danny(drums) Brian Murphy(piano) and Dr. Jaimie Ousley(bass). Ira opens with a be-bop styled "I Get A Kick Out Of You" playing trumpet. It will set the mood for the rest of the evening. Brian gets infected with the B-B disease and goes to the mountain with his solo. Danny gets caught up in it as well. This old hipster is having the time of his life.The mood shifts to soft and dreamy when both Ira and Marc play flute to do "How Insensitive". Marc takes the first solo. I close my eyes and imagine I have Cyd Charisse in my arms. We're dancing in a penthouse gallery overlooking Central Park. Ira's solo intensifies the image and Brian adds just enough romanticism. Music is the magic carpet.

Ira picks up his flugelhorn and Marc the tenor sx to do "Alone Together". Marc has the first solo and my dream continues. Ira follows and even though the tune is a soft ballad, the be-bopper in Ira is always present. Brian’s portion has quotes galore and then it is Jaimie's turn to deliver. And he does. Ira and Marc now choose their soprano saxes. Marc's is the modern bent soprano. Ira's is straight and straight out of the history books. It is older than Ira and I. 1927. I didn't get the title of the tune but it had something to do with 'avant garde'. It was far beyond 'avant'. It was as I often say "music for the day after tomorrow". Discordant & dissonant but definitely JAZZ. Danny blows the kit up and uses soft mallets for this one. It's followed by a swinging "You Can't Take That Away From Me". Ira is playing trumpet triplets with triple tonguing. The land of Be-Bop. Jaimie has an impressive solo section and then Ira and Marc are playing tenor.

I am dancing with a late arriving Denise. She had been at Cafe Vico listening to Clarence Palmer and his band. The rhythm section gives Ira a break and they do "Falling In Love With Love". I don't have the superlative chops to describe the solos each took. Definitely a night to remember. Martine & Jacques have arrived and the dance contest will soon be on. They are an absolute delight to watch when they dance.

The 1st set is concluded with Ira and Marc on tenor doing "Bernie’s Tune". Just before the 2d set started I look up to see the beautiful Maria Rivas standing before me. She is wearing a short-haired bob. I would swear she was 19. Great to see her back.

They open with "Moanin'" and then right into "Summerland". "You Came To Me From Out of Nowhere" and I'm dancing with Denise. Ira and Marc playing flutes do "Corcovado". Martine & Jacques are on the floor, impressing everyone. They do a tune the Duke wrote for a disc-jockey back in the day, "Bensonality". It swings and so Denise & I do it again. This time Ira & Marc are playing tenors. The last set opens with "Just One Of Those Things". Ira on tenor trades 8's with Danny. It is why I am out most nights listening to music. Danny does some interesting work with sticks and the hi-hat. A ballad "Who Do I Turn To" and then from "Godspell", "Day By Day".

With Ira and Marc playing flute. Ira, traditionally ends with "Amazing Grace" Marc playing bass flute. It is a reminder, to me, that except for His Grace where would I be? Had a great night.

Tonight "The Fish House" in Kendall and Georgine’s Birthday Bash.

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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