This past Friday, Reckless Steamy Nights presented a show unlike any other in its long history, a solo/duo acoustic night. The brain child of board member John Dammacco, it paired our JSJBF IBC representative and national finalist, Jonathan Kalb solo, with one of our other IBC contestants, Gary Cavico, who teamed up with Frank Frasche. Up first, Gary sang and played guitar with Frank providing some wonderful fills on sax. Their ten-song set was split between original compositions and some well-chosen covers like Little Walters’ “It Ain’t Right.” The two, who have played in the band “Wonderful Winos” with Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer Vinnie Lopez, were a great pairing, and the audience showed their appreciation. Original songs like “Turn Me Loose” and “All Liquored Up,” were well received and showcased their considerable talents. One of my favorites, Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train,” ended the set and was one of the finest renditions I have heard.
It was fitting that during the break, members Christine and Bob Chaplinski, who were celebrating their anniversary, won the raffle basket. After a quick change over, Jonathon Kalb, who made it to the finals of the solo/duo competition in Memphis took his seat on stage and proceeded to display to those in attendance why the judges thought so highly of him. Armed with his acoustic guitar and an assortment of Mississippi saxophones, he led the crowd on a musical journey that started with a song made popular by Muddy Waters, “40 Days and 40 Nights.” Five of the next six tunes were original compositions. Two of which, “Eagle Flies For Free” and “Fresh Blood,” put on full display his ability to craft a song with a great hook and present it flawlessly in a live setting. Before starting the Bessie Smith tune, “Gin House Blues,” Jonathan talked about hearing Nina Simone sing an impassioned version in a club in Germany back in the sixties. After hearing him perform the song, it was easy to tell that influence was still with him all these years later. After a rousing version of Tommy Tucker’s “High Heeled Sneakers,” he closed the set with a song most of us were familiar with, a terrific rendition of Little Walter’s version of “Just Your Fool.”
Judging by the audience response, this style of show was a rousing success, which had very much to do with the great performances that we were privileged to see. Join us on May 26th for Charlie Apicella & Iron City Jazz featuring Madame Pat Tandy.