Jazz, Wine, and Food

The beat of your heart dances to the rhythmic sway of music, no matter what the genre is. This coupled with a glass of wine and a wonderful plate of food makes for the perfect evening. Of course some may not wait for evening. You could say, in your defense, that it is evening somewhere.

When I was knee high to a grass hopper my parents would love to listen to my dad’s orchestra play, or popular music, and even jazz. Those albums would play when my parents hosted parties out on the deck overlooking the trees in the Cascade area of Fairfax California. My parents friends and family members would dance, drink, eat, and definitely be merry. Most of the attendees were musicians, teachers, or family that were less than inhibited as the party lasted well into the night.

As for my love for music, other than the above mentioned occasional parties, I was influenced by my dear friend Jimmy Putman. Jimmy learned to play the guitar at an early age and for some reason was drawn to jazz. After listening to his passion for music I learned to love the music he played the most: Performed by the great jazz musicians of the day, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Maynard Ferguson, Dave Brubeck, and the great Sarah Vaughan among many others.

My parents moved when I was in the third grade. As fate would have it the Putmans moved too. They moved to Greenbrae, California, which was less than two miles from our new home in San Rafael, California.

I would ride my bike over to his house (he had a pool) and we would swim, play football at the school accessed from his back gate, or play music (I played the violin). It was so fun doing those activities and eventually (on the weekends) we’d ask to do sleep overs. This way we could get out of chores and have fun until we had to go to our respective schools.

In high school we both had drivers licenses so we would go to concerts in San Francisco, back when there were no homeless, or other degenerates. We’d go to the Keystone Corner and listen to Rahsaan Roland Kirk who played three saxophones at the same time. Also playing at the Keystone Corner and establishing the Keystone Corner as one of the top jazz nightclubs in the country were Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, and Stan Getz.

Another favorite venue was the Great American Music Hall. I saw at this venue Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz, Stephane Grappelli, and McCoy Tyner. Each time I went to this venue and other jazz venues I felt the energy of the musicians. That energy would vibrate through the concert goers creating an unparalleled connection. Then, as one, the audience would explode as one with thunderous applause.

My connection with music led to other heart felt relationships with wine and food. The joy that is felt when you sip a Gevrey Chambertin red Burgundy, decanted perfectly, and poured into the ideal glass, promoting the terroir and skill of the wine maker… flawlessly, is magic.

To take this experience to the next level, one must pair this wine with food (as God intended). The complexity of the wine exhibiting earth first quality must be paired with a regional product produced with the freshest ingredients. The quality of the dish is of course, first and foremost, followed by presentation.

The wine will make the food taste better and the food will make the wine taste better. It is a complex pirouette between chemical composition and the nuance of flavor profile. This, coupled with the saxophone of Stan Getz, Coltrane, or Cannonball Adderley will surely take you to a place as close to perfection as you could possibly experience in this life.