Victor Haboush, formerly an animator for Disney and commercial film developer, has quietly pursued his interest in jazz with a series of interesting paintings of jazz personages you may recognize, or at least enjoy. His website shows some of these paintings in Gallery 1, with other subjects in other folios. www.haboush.net
Sadly, “The Blue Parrot’s Ohana Café” closed April 14, depriving the area of the regular venue for Kitt and Mike Moran. Owners Joseph and Renthal Conkle, who had made such a pleasant, attractive and successful “cabaret” out of the Blue Parrot in the “Brickyard” had the bad luck of the innocent after entering a unfavorable partnership for the Ohana Café, 1262 Jacaranda Boulevard. We wish them well for the future and hope for another Venice venue for the Morans.
Kit and Mike Moran
Kitt and Mike Moran. Venice is fortunate to have first-rate, national quality talent and the Morans are high on that list. They appeared regularly at Merv Griffin’s casino in Atlantic City, and at other first-class venues from New York to Los Angeles.
Kitt has a lovely voice, interpreting standards and jazz ballads with feeling, grace and loving interpretation of lyrics. She can touch your heart with a story of love gone wrong. Mike plays the role of accompanist with modesty and musicianship, and his solos demonstrate his harmonic roots and swing.
Gershwin, Cole Porter and lyricists you may not know like Alan and Marilyn Bergman, (“The Way We Were, Nice’n Easy, In the Heat of the Night), but who you will be happy to meet. The classic jazz standards are treated with sensitivity, not clichés, and Kitt may vary the menu with a Bossa Nova, show tunes, a bit from Sesame Street, or perhaps a chorus in French or Portuguese. This is music for listening and appreciating.
You will find them Friday and Saturday nights at the “Blue Parrot’s Ohana Café from 6 to 9 at the “Blue Parrot’s Ohana Café. 1262 Jacaranda Blvd at Center Road, (941-492-5366). No cover, the food is good and happily, most folks come to listen.
Concert Featuring Bob Haggert’s “Porgy and Bess” Arrangements Wows Audience.
By Ed Martin
A packed house in Venice’s Community Center Saturday night, was treated to a great jazz concert and responded with frequent applause, spontaneous cries of appreciation and ultimately a lengthy, standing ovation.
Venice’s Dick Hyman and visiting trumpeter Randy Sandke provided sophisticated musical direction to an “All Star” band performing the late Bob Haggert’s arrangements of Porgy and Bess, originally released under Bob Crosby’s name without crediting Haggert.
Bassist Haggert, a long-time Venice resident, who performed with Crosby, also played with the Lawson-Haggert Jazz Band; “The World’s Greatest Jazz Band” and made numerous guest artist appearances around the world. The concert was produced by Arbor Records, which in recent years produced a new recording of the Porgy and Bess arrangements and other Haggert music, finally earned him wider recognition for the arrangements.
A thirteen piece band, including trumpeters Sandke, Jon-Eric Kellso and Charlie Bertini; Trombonists John Alldred, Wycliffe Gordon and George Masso; Reed players Ken Peplowski, Scott Robinson and Dave Weaver, Derek Smith, piano; Howard Alden,Guitar; Nicki Parrott, Bass and Joe Ascione Drums, performed ten selections from the Gershwin opera. Each piece was introduced by Dick Hyman and Derek Smith interpreting the original Gershwin score, joined by vocalist Lynn Roberts, who did an excellent job of interpreting the challenging range of the scores, with true pitch and impressive emotion. Their versions were followed by the band playing a Haggard arrangement.
Haggard’s arrangements were timeless, many with a sound that could have influenced later arrangers for bands like Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson into the 70’s and 80’s. As Haggard’s arrangements became recognized, Dan Morganstern’s program notes reported that he received congratulatory calls from Andre Previn and Gerry Mulligan, both very well known as performers, conductors and arrangers. He felt the Porgy and Bess arrangements were his best work.
The second half of the concert was a free-flowing delight of two and three person groups from the band, performing with the spontaneity and improvisation, the soul of live jazz. Widely know guitarist Gene Bertocini came on to accompany Roberts on Haggard’s classic jazz ballad, “What’s New.” He and Alden also shown in swapping swinging choruses on their differing guitars; Bertocini on amplified acoustic guitar, Alden on an electric guitar.
Nicki Parrot, who plays regularly at Iridium in New York, with Les Paul, who is still a master, teamed up with Wycliffe Gordon on a medley which started with Haggard’s “Big Noise Blew in from Winneteka”. Parrot shocked the audience when she began to sing—it was enough she was playing bass in bass-player Haggert’s arrangements- but she demonstrated a very pleasing and hip style. Gordon, surprised as well, singing excellently as they segued into “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing” swapping choruses and then went on to swap “Scat” choruses as well. It was a show-stopper.
Hyman, who is a master at bringing out audience-pleasing music, down-played his own playing after the intermission, instead leading each of the band’s musicians into demonstrating their own formidable skills in small group improvisations. The All-Star label for the musicians proved well-earned as they showed their individual skills after their very excellent ensemble work on the Porgy and Bess arrangements.
The full band ended the night with Haggard’s lively and fun-filled, South Rampart Street Parade and again, Hyman, did not play, but led each musician into a rollicking solo which left the audience on its feet.
Having grown up in New York listening to the world’s best jazz players and following jazz for more than 50 years, I can tell you little Venice heard a great email@example.com
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