Sunday, November 2, 2014

The temperature... (was set to WAY COOL in Miami last night at South Motors JAZZ Series and then at Le Chat Noir for Allen Kanovsky!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/02/14

…was dropping at the Banyan Bowl last night. On stage was the youngest of the Marsalis Brothers, Jason (vibes) with Austin Johnson (piano), David Potter (drums) and Will Goble (bass).

They are currently on tour through Florida in support of a new CD release and are this month’s showcase in the annual South Motors Jazz Series at Pinecrest Gardens. If you are not familiar with this

 classic South Miami venue, check out their programming for the coming season. Incredible variety with something for everyone and the parking lot landscaping with the banyan trees creating exotic pathways was so intriguing I plan to return to tour the gardens in the light of day – JAZZ or no JAZZ! Perhaps for one of the Gen-Next JAZZ series performances that are held on Sundays….  
Although fortified by adult beverages and a delish short rib/pasta dish the cold got to us and we left after the first set.

Where do a couple of JAZZophile/BLUESiacs go at 10PM on Saturday night when in the area of downtown Miami?  Le Chat Noir, of course!

Mike Levine (keyboard) with his son Sam (drums), Nicky Orta (bass) and Lindsey Blair (guitar) are holding down the fort. Charlie (my esteemed publisher of and I will enjoy some great playing of standards and Mike Levine original compositions.
Debbie Orta is there to enjoy as well. We have gone from the chill of the Banyan Bowl to the warmth of a 1940's Greenwich Village JAZZ Club. We arrive in time to catch a Mike original which has no name. Many of Mike’s compositions are untitled. It's my guess he skipped English classes for music classes instead. Mike gives all a thrill with his mastery of the keyboard. Sam introduces the next tune to a 2d line rhythm. The song "Sweet Georgia Brown". The band puts you in N'Awlins chomping on a beignet. An original titled Joco (for Joco Pastorius, who Mike used to play with back in the day) features Nicky's bass solo. Mike follows with a BLUES flavored 32 bars. Nicky switches to 6 string instrument and the band does some groovy funk straight out of the 70's. Lindsay has the featured solo. Mike has another original, "From the Heart". Someday I will ask Mike for the sheet music and try to write lyrics for his wonderful melodies.
The next tune, also untitled, has some dynamic unison work. The 2d set and Nicky introduces one of Mike's titled tunes "Get Ready". Take a look at "your funky self". "At the Greenhouse" is Latin all the way---pok   pokpok   pokpok.  Lindsay takes you to the backstreets of Havana. The Herby Hancock influence is evident in another Mike original, "The Herb". You may interpret the title anyway you prefer. The rhythm is pure, unadulterated funk but the melody is as sweet as a lullaby. Mike plays a 5* solo. Jeannette Pina arrives and so does saxophonist/educator Gary Keller. 
Nicky is switching back and forth from 4 to 6 string 
depending on what the melodic line calls for (and a preference for 4 when the tune calls for some soloing?). "Table Top" is an original BLUES played to a shuffle rhythm and featuring a Lindsay solo. It has us all clappin' and tappin'. The standard "It Can Happen To You". They swing it and all take turns at the improvisations. "High Hopes", not the show tune, but a
Mike original was next with some nice drum breaks by Sam.  The last set has only 2 numbers. Another untitled Mike original in definitive salsa tempo. The last song is in memory of Oscar Peterson and titled "BLUES For Oscar". The shuffle rhythm has me inviting Debbie (in spite of Nicky's glaring look) to dance. We do a respectable little bit. Debbie, Nicky and I survive. 

Charlie and I say goodnight and thanks to the band as well as our gracious hosts, Alex, Ezzio and Gio. I must mention, if you go to Le Chat order their Grand Marnier Soufflé dessert---incomparable!!!!!.

Personal note: It has become a mission. A tune/song is not ENTITLED to anything outside of being played. A song is TITLED or has a NAME. Musicians take note!!!!

See full Facebook photo album at: 

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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