Friday, January 23, 2015

Nobody Forgets...(...and Allen Kanovsky remembers last night at Bienes and QBar!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 01/23/15

...their 'first time'. I remember a few of them. The first time I wore long pants. The first time I kissed a girl. The first time I put a trumpet to my lips. Some other firsts better left untold. The first time I heard the Glenn Miller Orchestra I wasn't quite 8 years old. It was May of 1939. I was bundled in the rumble seat of a 1933 Chevy, parked outside the Glen Island Casino. How I got there is a somewhat complex story, better told face to face. 

Last night at the Bienes Center for the Arts I heard the band again. Same charts. Same voicings. Different personnel. The 16 piece band plus Leader, plus female vocalist had Nick Hilsher(Dir/vocals, Natalie Angst(vocals), the reeds were Kevin Sheehan, Julian Sutherlan, Cody Leavel, Tyler Clibbon and Ian O'Beirne. Trumpets were Ashley Hall, Brad Black, Steve Walters and Joe Young IV. The trombone section had George Reinert III, Donald StaudtIII, Derek Kwong and Jason Bennet. Austin Byrd at piano, Toby Reuter-Harrah on drums and Sean Muzzi playing bass. For the first time in a long time I wasn't the oldest bird in the room. No Bobby Sox, no pork-pie hats, no pegged pants, no jitterbugs. Just lots of memories of my growing up in the 'swing era'. They opened with a few bars of "Moonlight Serenade". Then they jumped "Tuxedo Junction". I had just turned 13 and she was 12 1/2. Her name was Rose Prochansky and she had blonde hair, blue eyes, cute chin and nose and budding breasts. She taught me the "lindy". I married her just after her 50th Birthday. They played "Running Wild". Man, did I want to dance. They did a beautiful Arlen/Mercer tune "This Time the Dreams On Me", with Nick doing the vocal. Great tune, great lyric. Next was "Pennsylvania 6 Five Thousand" and that evoked memories of 'spin the bottle' games at teen age parties. Trumpet section using hats doing wah-wahs. Trombones facing this way and then that. The U.S.A. before Pearl Harbor. Natalie Angst is introduced to do a swinging "That's Sabotage" followed with the ballad "I'm Glad There Is You". In those days lyricists knew more words than just "Oh baby". The program continued with all the Miller hits. "String of Pearls", Begin the Beguine", "I'll Be Seeing You", "American Patrol" and "Chatanooga Choo-choo". Natalie sings "I Won't Dance" and in the 2nd set "I Got A Gal In Kalamazoo"-----zoozoozoozoo. Every band member had a shot at soloing. All great. The Orchestra does about 255 performances, on the road, each year. How they do it is beyond belief. Can the word be DEDICATION? A high schooler from St. Thomas Aquinas sits in on baritone sax when the band plays "In the Mood" and closes with the full score of "Moonlight Serenade". No, they're not going anywhere without an encore. They do "Here We Go Again".---a lyric line in that tune is "I hear the trumpets blow again". This night you heard the saxes and bones as well. *There is one more great show coming up in their January Jazz Series. See below. cb

It's way too early for home so I am off to the QBar for a beverage, a snack and a good portion of Charmine Forde. Upon arrival I am greeted by Martine & Jacques, Laurent (owner), his girl friend and several others of the French persuasion. They accommodate me by speaking, mainly in English. Charmaine has Mitch Goldstein on keys and Luis Macias on drums. Charmaine does "Every Day" in  slow time. It is very effective and has the audience listening to every word. "You Make Me Feel Brand New" and she does. Do you know how to describe Charmaines vocals------soulful, would be the way I would do it. Talk about soul, "Can't Make You Like Me" is the essence. Now "Boogie-oogie". Gals of every age, dimension and color are shaking all the good parts. Mitch is playing the bass line and Luis is keeping it hot. Charmaine sings "Just Don't Leave Me" and a great "Teach Me Tonight". Mitch does a real sweet solo on that one. "Hop hop hop" and the gals are at it again. Some tunes are embedded in memory. "Stand By Me" is like that for me. It morphs in to "Top of the Bay" to conclude. 

Everyone leaving Q Bar had a smile on their face. I heard something about them doing Mardi Gras on St. Valentines Days. My guess is you can buy some damn nice beads for what you would pay for flowers.  See ya!      

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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