Friday, August 14, 2015

It's always special..(And we all know Allen Kanovsky is as special as they come!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 08/14/15

...when the performance takes place in His house. 

Regardless of denomination when JAZZ musicians play in a House of Worship it seems to me it's always somewhat enhanced. Last night at the Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, the Community Arts Program presented its final concert of the season. 

The featured artist was Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Octet. Band members.  included ????Brown on tenor, Rafi Malkiel(trombone), Jim Seeley(trumpet), Carlo De Rosa (bass), Carlos Maldonado(percussion), Tony Rosa(congas) and Vince Cherico(drums). There was also a guest appearance of a trumpeter whose name I did not get. I also have no notes on song titles as Arturo wasn't using a mic for announcements. One tune I did recognize was "Siboney" which opened the final set and had older Cuban melodies. Playing "Siboney" they transited from 'danson' rhythm to salsa and back. Again in His house players seem to rise even above themselves. Every solo regardless of instrument or player was beyond any expectation. Most of the charts were 'progressive Latin JAZZ'and in spite of the average age of listeners was met with enthusiastic applause. Arturo, himself, is a very imaginative and sensitive, pianist. His biography tells a story of his dedication to the music and all of many well deserved awards.Covering all the bases of the JAZZ genre was a BLUES which I think was titled "Groovy". I just remembered that during Jim's trumpet solo on "Siboney" he quoted "It Ain't Necessarily So". A reminder that JAZZ musicians do stuff that sometimes reaches out to somewhere way out there. I was accompanied by my good pal Dr. Jules Oaklander. He is a contemporary(1 month older) of mine. His taste in JAZZ does not lean toward 'progressive'. All the way of the drive home he kept acclaiming the music and musicians we had just listened to. Thanks to Arturo and all the band members for another memorable concert in one of His houses.

The Community Arts Program has Mark Hart as Executive & Artistic Director. The Program provides diverse educational experiences over a wide range of interests. One of them includes the "All-Star JAZZ Ensemble". This group of young(high school age) musicians has been selected to compete in the Essentially Ellington Contest hosted by Wynton Marsalis for the last 3 years. They have been in the money each time. Winning once, 2nd once and honorable mention the 3d time. Only 15 bands nationwide are selected to compete. That will give you some idea how special these young people are and what they mean to the future of American JAZZ.

As to our new relationship with Cuba. I visited Havana for the JAZZ Festival a couple of years ago. I heard a lot of young people playing JAZZ. I paraphrase a motto on our Statue Of Liberty. "Send us your musicians". 

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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