Saturday, January 24, 2015

I am willing to wager...(And Allen Kanovsky says the Sea of Jazz Festival is a sure bet!

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 01/24/15

…that there are a bunch of you who read this who will swear that they were at Woodstock. Some might say they were in Ed Sullivan's studio for the first Beatles appearance. A scant few might claim to have been at Carnegie Hall to see Benny Goodman. There are about 1,000 folks who will be able to say they were at the very first SEA OF JAZZ FEST at the Amp in Pompano Beach.

And a Fest it was. JAZZ, JAZZ and more JAZZ. The show opened with the Phil Woods Quintet. Phil on tenor sax, Brian Lynch (trumpet), Bill Mays (piano), Steve Gilmore (bass) and Bill Goodwin handling the sticks. They opened, bopping it right off, with "Bohemia After Dark". They all soloed and affirmed the idea that the night was young and better things were yet to come. Back in the early days of the be-bop era I heard a young pianist, George Wallington, in a joint in the Village. I remember his performance to this day. They played his composition of "God Child". A perfect vehicle for JAZZ improvisation. George's most famous piece is "Lemon Drop". They do "So In Love With You Am I" with Brian playing singular notes and short phrases as an introduction. Phil is suffering from emphysema and sits one out. They play "Dream, Dream, Dream" Brian’s clarity of tone in the upper register is only achieved by long, and many, hours of practice. They end their part of the evening with a swinging "I've Got Just About Everything". It concludes with Bill tinkling out a quote of "Tea For Two". The first set of the first SEAJAZZFEST is in the books. We cross the Equator and head for Brazil. An amazing percussionist/ guitarist/ vocalist, Nanny Assis takes the stage with his band known as Brazilian Carnaval JAZZ. Band members include Edgar De Almeida(guitar), Leonardo Lucin(bass), Gracidiano Zambonin(drums) and playing my favorite instrument, vibes, is Artur Lipmer. Their playlist included "Brasil Pandero", "Serrado", "Back To Brazil" (written by Nanny's daughter when she was 12). "Capimo" and a medley of "O Ovo, Magaenha, and Tio Macaco". During their set Nanny invited a vocalist, Deborah, to the stage. Want JAZZ? Like it hot? How about a scat version of the Woody Herman hit "Four Brothers". 5 stars for Deborah. Nanny whistles and scats "Girl From Ipanema" with a really nice vibe solo which quotes "A Train". We return Stateside for Hubert Laws, Tierney Sutton and Larry Koonse. Flute, Voice, Guitar with unique renditions of JAZZ standards. Hubert starts the trios portion with a beautiful flute cadenza. The tune is "There Is No One I Know". Tierney is one and only. There is no one, nowhere who can duplicate her voice. Throughout the play list which included "'s Wonderful", "All the Things You Are", Bill Evans "Very Early" and "I Heard You Softly In My Dreams", Tierney created tone poems. Often in unison with both Hubert and Larry. Hubert did a solo of "Pensativa" (Thoughtful Woman) which revealed the depth of his amazing talent. Vocalists like to say their voices are instruments. The one who can claim that with authority is Tierney. The audience is on its feet when they end their set. I am sitting with my pal Bill when Jeannette Pena stops to say "Hello".

Randy Brecker(trumpet) takes the stage with his wife Ada Rovatti(tenor sax), Josh Allen(bass), Don Friedman(piano) and Phil goodwin(drums). They open with a tune written for Charlie Mingus, "There's A Mingus Among Us". Each take a turn at solos on this jumper. "Shang High" was written by Randy while on an Asian stint. He says it is not a reflection on his personal life. O.K.----Ada studied classical piano before picking up the tenor. I and about a thousand others last night, were glad she did. A full line of *s would not be enough to describe her solo. I do not have a sexist bone in my body but there are not many musicians, let alone females, who could have delivered like that. Randy stands up for the men among us when he plays a triplet loaded, high note, double tempo solo himself. In his travels around the world, Randy visited Cork; Thus the tune "O Corko Mio" dedicated to Ada's Italian heritage. They produce a kind of bagpipe sound to a tarantella rhythm. It's meant to be fun and it is. Ada seems to love the bop genre and her solos slant that way. She picks up the soprano sax for "Summers End". It has a haunting melodic line, perfect for that instrument. Don's piano solo belies his years. It also gives Randy to put on display the mastery of his instrument. Range, tone, technique, imagination, creativity. Randy has it all. They close with a swinging "Dirty Dogs", again no reflection of life-style.

Great night for Pompano Beach and JAZZ.

They do it again tonight!!!!!

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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