Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ron Kalina and Larry Holloway, The Best Get Better!

Larry Holloway and Ron Kalina
The new "In Place" for Jazz on Monday night is at the Indian Wells Resort Hotel where you will find two of the most talented musicians in the country.  Ron Kalina is without question one of the best Harmonica players still performing today, and he might very well be in the top ten best players of all-times.  Ron's sweet spot is standards, and he plays them with so much emotion it almost makes the wonderful lyrics unnecessary.  Recently Ron had a few health issues in but as a result of some recent medical upgrades is playing with renewed vigor and emotion.  I heard him several times last year and the energy lift in his singing and playing this year is producing wonderful music.  These days Jazz fans seldom get to hear top-grade Harmonica playing but for those lucky people here in the Desert, we get to hear Ron every Monday night!  In addition to Ron's wonderful work on the Harmonica, he also plays the Keyboard and handles the Vocals.  Ron's voice and phrasing are very much like that of Fred Astaire.  His singing of standards not only give the lyric life but present them as if Ron has lived every word of them.

Joining forces with Ron is the highly respected Jazz Bass sensation formerly from Seattle, Larry Holloway.  Mention Larry's name to any musical pro and you will only get praise and adoration in return.  Tonight because Larry was only playing with Ron on Keyboard and it allowed him the opportunity to expand his motivating and articulate solos to the delight of everyone in the audience.   The synergy between these two marvelous seasoned pros tonight was delightful.  The duo plays from 6:00 until 9:00 on Mondays but it's still not enough time.  I could listen to their great sounds all night.

An added surprise tonight was the large number of professional musicians who stopped by to sit in with Ron and Larry.  The first one to come up and sing was Carolyn Martinez who delighted the crowd with her strong and pure voice.  Carolyn's voice and style was perfectly suited to fit between these two pros.  Carolyn is singing as good as I have ever heard her.  She has her own gig across the street at Vickys every Tuesday with Larry on Bass, and I strongly recommend that you make plans to  see her.  Next up was everyone's favorite male singer, Ken Steele.  Ken has a great voice and his phrasing is just about perfect whenever he sings.  Ken is multitalented and also is an excellent songwriter, arranger and producer. Hearing Ken sing is always a treat!  I had not seen or heard from Lola Rossi in quite a while and was delighted when she was called up to sing.  Lola has a beautiful strong voice and she is a really confident performer.   She chose to sing a strong version of "Over the Rainbow" and hit every note of the song in perfect pitch.  No small accomplishment. Next up was Denise Motto who sings and plays marvelous Keyboard and was joined by outstanding Trumpet player Gordon Camp and a Drummer from Canada, Don Fraizer , who was in town for just a night.  Denise has always been wonderful every time I have seen her and tonight was no exception.  I would love to see her performing her gig in the near future.   Gordon is always a delight to hear and he is always ready to play anything that is put in front of him.  He is a real pro! Don Fraser was impressive with his brush work which provided the perfect foundation for tonight's singers.  
Ken Steele

Larry Holloway and Carolyn Martinez
Gordon Camp

Larry Holloway and Lola Rossi
Denise Moto and Gordon Camp

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