Friday, April 24, 2015

Ball & Chain - You can go through life...(...and Allen Kanovsky has gone through a lot of life!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/24/15

...cowering in a corner or with your head under the covers. Or you can choose to face it with open arms, seeking new friends. Finding new places. Enjoying every breath you take. 

Last night, Charlie and I visited Calle Ocho in Little Havana. Why there? Discovery!!!! The oldest, new JAZZ joint in Florida. Namely the BALL & CHAIN. The place originally opened in 1935 and was forced to close after not paying the Count Basie band for an appearance. Charlie & I entered the club and  immediately knew that I had found a new "home". Spacious room, original Florida pine vaulted ceiling, posters of yesteryear (my youth) with Chet Baker, Count Basie, Joe Williams and more. Out back is a spacious patio with a mini Hollywood Bowl type stage. We were greeted by owner Zack Bush who gracefully gave us a guided tour and history lesson. He introduced us to his brother and co-owner Ben. All of this was delightful but we were there for the music and MUSIC we got. It was a celebration of the Nick Tannura Trio's CD Release of "Live At The Ball & Chain".

Nick (guitar), Eric England (bass) and Aaron Glueckauf on drums. Young, talented cats playing hot & cool JAZZ. The evening of musical pleasure opened with "Monks Dream". It took but a few bars for me to know that I would enjoy the band and definitely be back for more. Hey, the mojito wasn't bad either. Next was "Freight Train". Solos all around and my toes are tappin', hands clappin'. Nick and Aaron trade dynamic 8's and I am as happy as a pig in ----! I am so "in to" the music that titles don't interest me. Watching Eric bob his head as he weaves musical magic. Nick's cool and easy guitar riffs are testimony to his dedication to JAZZ. Aaron surprises me with his adept brush work. Not many young drummers have mastered the art. Be-bop in the late 40's, early 50's gave JAZZ a shot in the arm. "In Walked Bud" and "Oleo" were hits of the time and continue to be in the repertoire of good JAZZ groups. Each of the trio did these old tunes proud. The 2nd set opened with "Desifinado". Nick playing some really nice 'bossa nova' lines with Eric and Aaron supplying dynamite support. They do "Masquerade" and close the set in a 'swing mode'. Now the party and the JAM is on. Musical guests are Chad Bernstein(trombone), Mike Cordone (trumpet) and Jess McGinty (tenor sax). No titles. Just great JAZZ. I had never heard Mike or Jess before. To say I was impressed would be a gross understatement. Jess took the first solo of the set. Sonny Rollins came to mind. Visions of long-ago Greenwich Village JAZZ clubs. Music can transport you to the past or into the future. Your choice. Mike impresses with his tone and Chad as usual is as smooth as silk. A melody I recognized as "Love For Sale" has all of the now sextet doing outstanding work. Chad displays unusual trombone alacrity. Mike plays really interesting long phrases.  Jess original as all get out. Yeah baby! It's a Jam session. It's Nick's birthday and they produce a sparkler topped pineapple to help celebrate the day. 

The house music comes on and you remember that it's Calle Ocho. Latin, latin , latin. A very pretty, very young woman is standing nearby. Her hips are moving to the rhythm. Being ever so shy (ahem)---"Pardon me Miss"---Yes, she would. I notice, as she and I do some nice footwork, that I am getting some serious looks from Nick. His girl friend perhaps? 

I am totally exhausted from the dance exercise but it is way too early to go home. Le Chat Noir is not very far away and Eddy(El Gato Fresco) Balzola is there. Alexis, Ezzio and Gio greet us. Eddy gives us a 'shout out' as we enter Le Chat. Eddy is playing and singing solo. There is no better way to slow down your heart-rate, chill-out and get mellow than listening to Eddy all by himself. The guitar and Eddy were made for each other. It is Jam night after all and a guy wants to play harp and do some BLUES.

The tune is "Stormy Monday". I know the words but make no attempt to get up and sing. Word to club owners and hosts. Under no circumstance allow me to get up and sing unless you want to turn the joint into a parking lot for trucks. Thanks to all the musicians who played for us. You can look for me at my new home away from home on Calle Ocho----the fabled BALL & CHAIN!
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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