|Ron Kalina & Gino Antonacci|
|The Ron Kalina Trio|
|Frank Di Salvo|
On Tuesday April 16, I attended the opening of Ron Kalina's "Harmonica Convergence" at the Indian Wells Resort Hotel. Ron Kalina put together a highly talented trio consisting of Blake White on Bass and Gino Antonacci on Vibes and Ron Playing both Keyboard and Harmonica. I want to start this review by stating that Ron Kalina is simply an amazing musician. Tonight Ron sang, played the Keyboard, played the Harmonica and then played the Harmonica and the Keyboard at the same time. Ron further surprised me and a lot of people in the audience with his singing ability. His voice sounds like a combination of Fred Astaire, Chet Baker and Johnny Mercer. Not a bad group of singers to hang with, don't you think! There were two songs that Ron played on the Harmonica tonight that were just brilliant, "Body and Soul" and "Skylark". These are two of the greatest love songs ever written and when played with the soulful sounds of Ron's harmonica, it just does get any better.
Gino Antonacci is one of only a few great jazz players you can still hear playing the Vibes. I have not heard a Vibes player in many years and after hearing Gino play it quickly reminded me of how much I love the sound. Gino fit perfectly with the sound of Ron's Harmonica and Keyboard. And can he swing! What a treasure to have him playing right here in the Desert.
The third member of this group was Blake White who played the Bass. I had recently seen Blake with the wonderful singer, Rose Mallett and thought he was a fine Bass player. But tonight, playing jazz in this trio, he was allowed to push the Jazz envelope, and his solos were intelligent and clear. He provided the rhythm glue to pull the trio together.
Tonight marked the first time this talented group of musicians has played together, but you would never guess it because they sounded wonderful. This group will be back again at the Indian Wells Resort on Tuesday, April 24. You won't find the sounds that this trio produces any where in the area, and I encourage all my readers to get over to the Indian Wells Resort next Tuesday to catch the show. I understand that the Resort is thinking about adding this group as a regular on Tuesday nights next season. This idea would certainly get my vote!
Joining in at tonight's opening were several familiar musicians that we all love. First, the resident musical director at the Indian Wells Resort, Frank Di Salvo who sang a couple of great classic songs. In particular, Frank did a beautiful singing job on the standard "My One And Only Love". I have never heard Frank sing better.
The next singer was Ken Steele whose golden-deep voice had the feel of the great voice of Johnny Hartman. Ken sang "But Beautiful" and then sang a great version of "Emily".
Rich Bono, one of the best pianist in the West, then joined the Trio and played several great songs from the "Great American Songbook". Rich is a great pianist, and I never miss a chance to hear him play.