Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Andres Colin at The Hub Baja Grill on Siesta Key in Sarasota

My previous post only touched on the vocal, stylistic and instrumental versatility of Andres Colin, who plays regularly for the tourist crowd enjoying dinner at The Hub Baja Grill on Siesta Key. Tonight's performance featured an astounding musical arrangement of Andrea Bocelli's "Partido", courtesy of Colin's complex looper capabilities and orchestral imagination. His vocals were truly operatic, dancing melodically through the emotional eddies of that beautiful composition. One could only be transported from earthly reality into another sphere, and wonder how this multilingual, multi-instrumental, and warmly engaging performer has landed in our midst.

Later in the evening, Colin demonstrated that, contrary to popular opinion, men can multi-task, too. On "Blanco Y Negro," an original composition from his eponymous CD, "Andres Colin: Universal Universe", he simultaneously sang densely packed Spanish lyrics while busily tapping his feet among various buttons and pedals to pull forward and drop out the various instrumental parts he'd entered into the looper at the beginning of the song. 

Lots of local solo performers use loopers these days -- a necessary device to create a sound larger than the restaurants want to pay for. But Colin's fluidity with programming, playing, singing, and audience-antics is prodigious.

You can find Andres Colin's CD online at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/andrescolin2

Better yet, find him playing in person. No matter what your mood when you get there, he'll have you smiling, tapping, and enjoying yourself in the space of a few songs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Live Music on Siesta Key, in Sarasota

The skies were threatening, but I needed a beach walk, so I headed over to Siesta Key. Walking through the Village on my way to Siesta Beach, I heard the unmistakeable, fast-moving guitar leads of Frankie Lombardi, who was serenading the outdoor tables at Blase Cafe. Deciding against the beach walk, since the wind was picking up and clouds moving in, I sat for awhile listening to Lombardi sing and riff. He extends and gives depth to familiar songs, adding stylistic licks that make them his own. Lucky Siesta Village would have a double-bill of Lombardi tonight, since he was slated to play drums with Kettle of Fish later in the evening at the Beach Club on Ocean Boulevard.

Walking back through the Village, I remembered that singer-songwriter Tommy D (Doerr) has a dinnertime Tuesday evening gig at Blu Que Island Grill on Avenida de Messina. So I stopped by there in time to enjoy a triple-bill of some of my fave original songs from his CDs, including "Funky Time", "Every Day is Friday", and "Bud Light Bob." Tommy D's smooth vocals and interesting guitar rhythms draw me in every time I see him play.

Seeing Lombardi and Doerr had more than made up for my missed beach walk, and I was happily headed towards my car, when I heard yet another familiar voice and guitar. It was Andres Colin, singing a beautiful, complex Spanish tune in his mellifluous, almost-operatic style. Truly, he has the sweetest voice, in whatever language he slides into, and draws from one of the most versatile songbooks around. Colin has a winning performance personality full of smiles and happiness that he transmits generously to the dinner crowd in front of him.

Would love to have listened longer, but the wind picked up, swirling sand and palm fronds, so I counted myself lucky for the treat of seeing three wonderful performers on one visit to Siesta Key, and headed home just as the raindrops fell.

Friday, October 10, 2014

John Howard at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe in Sarasota

Prolific songwriter and Sarasota live music scene performer John Howard was joined by Johnny LaLa on lead guitar and vocals for a night of covers and featured songs from Howard's newly-released CD, "Sunlight", which they debuted last night at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe in Sarasota.

The new CD contains several memorable and danceable numbers, such as "She's Gone" and "Bridges are Burning". "Julianne" and "If I Could Stay Asleep" are sweet, dreamy romantic reveries. "Sunlight (Cindy's Song)" brings Howard's memories of his late sister, Cynthia, into present-focus as he notices all the natural beauty of everyday life that he wishes he could still share with her.

At last night's show, Johnny LaLa's acoustic guitar leads were impressive for their smooth progress up and down the frets. Other players tend to create a more labored, staccato sound as they bend the strings to their purposes, admittedly always more challenging on an acoustic instrument. But LaLa's style was more fluid, enhancing the overall sound of  John Howard's arrangements, rather than punching out to the foreground.

You can find John Howard's new CD, "Sunlight", online at I-Tunes, Amazon, Spotify and other outlets: