Lindell Blake dances (and sings)

the Arts | | March 11, 2007 at 13:46

"I gotta do it my way, it’s gotta be me" is the chorus that ended Lindell Blake’s third dance recital at the West Las Vegas Arts Center. I respect thoroughly that sentiment, but sometimes we need to listen to a little advice.

I have been following Lindell for a while. I was at Capozzoli’s the first night he showed up with his tap shoes in a draw-string bag and waited for the chance to strut his stuff to the music of The Gents of Swing. I was there when Larry "Wild" Wrice didn’t have time that last set and I lobbied to see what this smiling young man had to offer. Lindell was back the next Tuesday, tap shoes swathed in their neat little sack, and Larry was ready to give him a chance to perform. And what a performance it was. This guy can dance and he can dance like nobody I had ever seen. No matter where the music goes, he follows with amazing improvised original choreography, intricate and and acrobatic. Lindell Blake becomes not just one with the music, but becomes a whole percussion section himself. But someone has told him he has to have a voice, he also has to sing.

I’ll admit he has improved since the first recital, but I personally went to see those amazing feet fly through those astonishing rhythmic contortions. I didn’t object to a little vocalization, but expected him to focus on that which he does best. That’s what we all were there for. His third recital in the series was in the theatre at the Library; there was full benefit of sound system, lighting and an elevated stage.

The program was divided into two acts, with the second act by far the superior. We saw Lindell Blake dance and that’s why we came. The first act was dominated by song, some old favorites, some original. But Lindell is not there yet with the voice, and he simply can’t carry an entire act with vocals, teasing his audience with fleeting moments of tap. He risks that everyone leaves before they have a chance to see what he’s really best at.

He was accompanied by The Gents of Swing with Larry "Wild" Wrice on drums, Dick Straub on upright bass and Randy Thomas on grand piano. These guys are consummate professionals and delivered an afternoon of delightful music. They’ve played together so many times that the music just flows without effort. But the most thrilling of the afternoon was the duo of Lindell with his Islands buddy Rodney Money on percussion, including bongo. The Afro-Caribbean sound and movement was primordial, sensual and breathtaking. This is truly Lindell’s core competence. It was as beautiful and gripping display of dance and rhythm as I have seen in a long time.

I really like this guy and I really want him to succeed. I am 100% in his corner. I’mcertainly no expert, but my humble opinion is that Lindell should stick to dance and leave the singing, at least for a while, to others.

Related Lindell Blake, the Tap Maestro