Saturday, April 11, 2015

To paraphrase an opening line...(Allen Kanovsky must be at at a loss for words about Nicole Henry! Wait. No. It's Allen...)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/11/15

…"Of all the girls (singers) I've known and I've known some." I have to admit that Nicole Henry is my all-time favorite.

It would be crass of me not to mention that being who and what I am, that I have a few other all-time favorites as well. Ladies like Big Mama Thornton, Ella Fitzgerald, Maria Rivas, Billie Holiday, Celia Cruz, Wendy Pederson, Sara Vaughan, Debbie Orta, June Christie, Bessie Smith, Etta James, Lourdes Valentin, Lisanne Lyons, Kat Riggins, Brenda Alford and let's not forget Ms. Rita Wilburn.

Yesterday afternoon Nicole was the guest of Ed Bell (WLRN 91.3FM) for a live broadcast. The band had Pete Francis on piano, Aaron Lebos (guitar), Eric England (bass) and Dave Chiverton at the kit. Nicole and this same group performed at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center a couple of weeks ago and I was privileged to be there. The guests yesterday filled the house to enjoy the music and food. Lunch was compliments of Pollo Tropical.

I have been following Nicole's career since I first heard her at the Van Dyke in '07. She works harder at growing musically than anyone I know. Now her program seems to be 'faith' based. Lots of vocalists have had their early years training in church. Nicole as well. She started the program with "Going Home". I like to think of it as 'Wayfaring Stranger'. Pete and Aaron had a chance at displaying what they can do at their respective instruments. Staying in the church pew, Nicole followed with "'til I Rise". If you want to know the meaning of emotion, all you needed was to hear and see Nicole doing this song. Returning to the day to day of life Nicole enjoyed doing "I Love Being Here With You" and she meant it. Starting in waltz time she did "I Feel Pretty". After all took turns at solos, it was 4/4 time and JAZZ licks filled the room.

Seated next to me was a young lady (age 8) who was decidedly enjoying the music. Her name is Zen James. A smile on her face, clapping in time to the music. Her facial expression showed that she knew, someday, it would be her up on that stage. I am sure it will happen.

Nicole followed with an original tune titled "I Need A Little Time". It is a touching love ballad depicting 'love' in today’s world. "I'm Feeling Good" and oh yeah that's how the whole audience felt about what they were listening to. This time, Eric got his turn to 'show off'. I don't know if you can be in church and have the bet turn from funky to spiritual, but that's what happens when Nicole does "I'm Getting the Spirit In the Dark". The murmur in the crowd is going "Lawdy, Lawdy, lawdy". That closed the musical performance with everyone on their feet.

Everyone included Kitty (O'Hara’s) Glenda Grainger, Gary Lawrence, Dwayne and Deborah, Bill Rutan and lots of people I know including radio hosts, pals and more musicians .  Names?  "Blame It On My Youth"! 

Kitty Ryan, Ed Bell, Nicole Henry

The Dynamic Ms. Nicole Henry

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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