By Marie Alexander
Last night I went to the first annual fund-raiser for BEOC, Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center where Dr. Lois Blades-Rosado is dean and executive director. This was a fund-raiser and a Latin Jazz Concert but I’ll get to that later.
It’s said the person/persons at the top set the tone. Well, it’s true. The reception was held at the Keyspan Building and from the moment I arrived, Dr. Rosado and the director of the benefit, Pat Williams, were there at the reception table to greet their guests with smiles, handshakes and genuine warmth. Those ladies make you feel special. Here’s something. Dr. Rosado told us (my friend and I ) where to get designer clothes cheap. Thanks girl.
You know they had some bigwigs in the house, including on the short list: Charles Koehler, Pres. Community Capital Bank, Gina Bolden-Rivera, sr. v.p. Community Capital Bank; Stuart Leffler, mgr. Economic Development, Con Edison; Nia Rock, v. p. Independence Bank and Down State Medical Martha Thomas, and AVP Community & Govt. Relations, SUNY, Downstate. Kudos to the staff and all the behind the scenes people. We know that without you……….
The food was dee-lish and there was plenty of it. Don’t you just hate when you’re a pleasingly plump person…….aw hell ..fat and someone makes a comment to no one in particular “Where’s the diet food?” Well people, a good looking-gentleman whose suit looked as if it had been painted on his body made that comment. He made it while I was sampling some rugulah. Grrrrrrrrrrr.
About 8pm we migrated over to the auditorium at New York City Technical College. Bobbi Humphrey and Eddie Palmeri were the featured artists. Ya’all didn’t hear me so I’m gonna say it again. Bobbi Humphrey and Eddie Palmeri were the featured artists. Bobbi Humphrey, somehow I can’t bring myself to call her Bobbi or Miss Humphrey. I have to say the whole name. At the reception I met Bobbi Humphrey at the beverage table (no speculation here, people) and we just fell into this friendly banter like we already knew each other. People, the woman’s all right .
Folks, for those of you who were not at New York Tech. You missed it. Bobbi Humphrey rocked. Girlfriend did it. When she played Lionel Richie’s song “Hello”, whereever she went, she took the audience with her. It was like one of those “Scottie, beam me up and back” moments. Even typing this all I can do is just shake my head when I think about it. Yes, she was that bad. Bobbi Humphrey played about five songs. “Harlem River Drive” and “Comin Home” by Herbie Mann to name a few. I have to speak on her trio of musicians. Terri Thomas on piano. Someone needs to kiss that brother’s fingers. He went into a solo piece that was so fabulous that Eddie Palmeri came out from the back and stood in the wings to listen to this man. Lenny Covington on drums. The audience gave the drummer some and he put sneakers on and ran with it. Gregory Kilpatrick on bass guitar. Same thing. Gregory rocked us with that driving bass beat. People, you missed it.
Enter the Maestro!
Eddie Palmeri. Where are all my people who dance or used to dance Latin? Holla!! Does anyone out there remember Eddie Palmeri and his conjunto ” La perfecta?” El Molestoso? Let’s go back people to the 60’s. If I’m dating myself, so be it. I lived it , loved it and on Friday night, October 24th, I lived and loved it again. La Maestro came out sat down at the piano and the band was off and running. After the first 4 notes played, people were out of their seats and dancing in front of the stage. And that’s where they stayed until El Maestro finished . I was watching Eddie direct his band with hand and finger movements that were imperceptible. I would have missed them if I wasn’t watching carefully. Carefully? My eyes were glued on the man. If you’re wondering if I danced, my response to you is, does a bear mess in the woods? Yes, Eddie played Azucar. Not the way we remember but with a Latin jazz beat. He tore it up. Eddie grabbed us, held us until he was ready to let us go. The horn solos had us mesmerized as well as the congas, timbales and bass. Again, people, you missed a goody.
Remember there’s always next year. Hope to see you there. Oh, Bobbi Humphrey, if you still want to know where I got my coat, call me at the paper.
By Marie Alexander