Jan 23, 2008 ellen leahy Uncategorized
I’ve known Joey Corella through a mutual pal for years. He always appeared to be a nice, gentle, man. I had even heard he has a bit of a sense of humor.
If you don’t know him, he’s a big guy, looks even a little like a tough guy. Some might even say like a thug.
He’s one of the big three Syracuse sax men, who all happened to study under Jerry Santy. Paulie Cerra, a blues man who is funky and wild, and a great singer too; Johnny Rohde, a jazz man who is smooth and soulful; and Joey Corella, who I hadn’t really seen other than in a large orchestra environment. Until last Saturday, when he helped bring the bossa nova beat to Jazz Central on Washington Street in Downtown with Maria DeAngelis and the Westminster Express. The show was titled, “Black Beans & Pink Popcorn.”
Maria (lead vocal and guitar) was as lovely as ever. This was her second program that had a bit of a teaching element included — last year she did the songs of Joni Mitchell and this year it was all about the Brazilian born bossa nova, which she told us means “little wrinkle.”
The Westminster Express with Hannah Richardson (vocals, guitar and little keyboarding), Phil Flanagan (stand up bass) and percussionist, Josh Dekaney, was spot on. Must be something in the water up there on Westminster, a street of musical talent in the university area.
Richardson, who has a beautiful voice in her own right, also has this straight-man kind of appearance that melts as the music evolves. She is often transformed into a life-size Tinkerbell when she performs with Maria.
Then there’s Joey — off to the side he appeared a little like a sad sack, intently listening for his parts. He looked a little awkward, almost lumbering, if one could lumber in a beautiful suit?
Then he started to blow his horn. He transformed into lightness and being. There was such joy and sorrow.
Maria was pretty captivating in that I had to be nudged to take a look at Joey. I was actually star struck, which ain’t my scene, as I was never the groupie type — but I like good art, love great art.
As my Grandmother, who was a professional whistler, used to say, “He looks like he’s eating that instrument.”
It was much sexier than that but you know grandmothers and the kiddies, at least back in the bun-toting day.
Joey has such a light touch; noises were coming out of either his saxophone or his flute that were so sweet and intense, yet he didn’t appear to be moving his fingers — only his breath, the light touch of his lips and his emotions were activating the two instruments.
His face was a myriad of emotions that were out in the air. The fabulous saxophonist Stan Getz started bringing this Brazilian Jazz to America 50 years ago and made it his own. Last Saturday night Corella transcended Getz, as the master. Stan who?
There were two shows, the later being not just standing room only, but also, chairs had to be added on the stage to accommodate guests. These shows played right in to the mission of Jazz Central (JC), which is to bring jazz to Syracuse in an intimate setting. Establishing JC certainly is one of the many great things to come to Syracuse in a long while.
Keyboard great and songwriter Phil Klein was in the house, Maria performed one of the songs they recorded together, “Now That You’ve Gone.” He wrote it back in the early days of bossa nova she said.
Eric Cohen from WAER Jazz was the MC, he told the audience this was perhaps Maria’s last performance before she moves to France later this year. She will be greatly missed on the scene in Syracuse, which has always hosted amazing musicians, especially jazz cats.
You may have missed Maria; don’t make the same mistake with Corella.
If you get the chance to go hear Joey Corella live, run don’t walk, so you get a good seat for this one of a kind artist.
And Maria, why not give us a little more bossa nova before you Bon Voyage?
To see more pictures go to bossa nova under sights and sounds on this Web site.