By Java and Dune

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jazz Jamm

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

Larry's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream

6595 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL. 33706 Tel. 727-360-4259

Here's the plan for a lovely evening. Peel out of your driveway no later than 4:30pm, you're going to catch the sunset. It's dinner time so head for a favorite take out. Oddly enough our choice that evening was Publix for their salmon and avocado Maki rolls, seaweed salad and, no we didn't forget to pick up a few pieces of their delicious fried chicken. A chilled bottle of white wine and you're on your way to a sweet evening on Pass-a-grille beach.
As we all know, this is the perfect time of year in St. Pete. It's not too cold, not too hot and if you crave peace and quiet, the masses have left the beach. Only seagulls and a few kite flyers remain. It's a beautiful time of day.
So, we ate our food, had good conversation, laughed, took some photos and then as it cooled and the sun began to dip we craved a little something sweet. Larry's is the place. Dozens of homemade flavors to choose from, some old and some new creations. Ask the servers to fill a chocolate dipped waffle cone above the rim with a selection of gelato. A beautiful looking chocolate cake sat on the counter along side a yummy apple pie. I immediately decided on a slice of the apple ala mode. We also tried a favorite hot fudge sundae with lots of whipped cream.
Even though we visited midweek this very popular parlor and the little tables inside and out fill up fast. Service is excellent though, no long waiting lines. You too will feel happy in no time at all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jazz @ Studio 620

620 1st Avenue So., St. Petersburg, FL.

Meet to hear the beat
Review by Guest SK

On the evening of April 5th the Nate Najar trio performed the second in a three month series of concerts at Studio @620. Nate is gaining an international reputation as an inspirational and eloquent master of the jazz guitar, and we're lucky to have a chance to hear him locally. With the gifted bassist John Lamb and Steve Bucholtz on percussion, they moved seamlessly from bebop standards, to bossa nova to down and dirty blues.
An audience favorite was Nate's bluesy original, dedicated to Bob Devin Jones' mother Ola Mae, which had the audience on their feet.
As an added treat, Nate introduced a young jazz vocalist, Lisa Casalino, who could have been channeling the front singer in a 40's jazz band. With a lovely, soft voice, and just a bit flirtatious, she won over the trip and the audience easily. Nate's last gig at the Studio@620 for the spring is scheduled for May 11. I recommend getting your tickets early as last night seemed almost sold out, and well worth it!