Monday, May 2, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Vinoy Resort, 501 5th Ave., St. Petersburg, FL. 727- 894-1000
Meet to hear the beat written by Guest SK
Fourth in the current Jazz at the Vinoy series and Rick picks a winner! Multi-talented Valerie Gillespie and her group, with guest trumpet player John DePaola, wowed the crowd. Billed as a night with Dizzy and Charley Parker, they played signature songs from both jazz geniuses, starting the first set with Cotton Tail and moving seamlessly into Ornithology. Amazingly, Valerie manages to both blow a mean horn and educate the ear: reminding us at one point to listen for chord changes, and giving us a lesson in counter melodies, as she and John each played a separate number together, asking us to listen for the common chords in both. They played old favorites, like Billy’s Bounce as if they had been working together for a life time. Joining them in the quartet were two seasoned players, Dave Randolf on drums, and Rick Steuart on keyboard. Rick took some solo riffs and really jammed.
At the start of the second set, Valerie showcased her other instrument, a wonderful voice, as she did a slow, sensual Round about Midnight. Rick Gee joined the group on flute with a subtle rendition of “Coming Home,” accompanied by great horn backups. Pushing her talent and synchronicity with John on trumpet, Valerie “scatted” a la Ella Fitzgerald to How High the Moon, while John blew an upbeat Ornithology. A+ to all for a great evening! Keep watch for the next Jazz Jamm at the Vinoy, with groups like the Jazz Juvenocracy scheduled in coming months. Signing off and flying off to northern climes, SK.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I hadn't been to E & E Stakeout Grill for dinner until last night, but have alway loved lunches there. It is a bit of an extravagence for lunch. The dinner menu is slimmer, but the fare is still quite good. I took some out of town friends there last night in an effort to procure some decent seafood for them without the traffic and chaos of the beach in Springtime. The lure of seafood had me for a moment and there were many fine choices however, it was the steak special that drew me in. I usually like to try the chef's special and Chef Erwin's choices didn't disappoint. Filet mignon medallions perfectly cooked and topped with roasted tomato and Bernaise sauce, what's not to love? I chose to double the veggies and forgo the potato. All was delicious but slightly tepid. I blame that on our outdoor seating, surely a trek from the kitchen. Also, my friend ordered something off the menu, almond crusted grouper which the chef was happy to make. My friend was pleased, in fact he said he loved it, so it was worth asking for something special. My other comrade had a decent steak, but I don't think he'll write home about it on postcards of Florida. E & E Stakeout offers a full bar and the crowd takes their mixed drinks seriously. This affluent area among the "Belleairs" has a dearth of restaurants, so the joint was jumping. The owners have a hand in great dining experiences around the county including, Guppy's on the Beach in Indian Rocks Beach and Mystic Fish in Palm Harbor. Under $20 for lunch, dinner under $30, and a 15% gratuity is added for you.