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Monday, March 10, 2014

Jazz it up

Kata Rokkar, Flickr

Some things get better with age. The sempiternal example is wine. Good wines, as they age, achieve more balance, letting go of their early "green-ness" and deploying the full extent of their aromas. Likewise, some musical genres get better with age, but in that case, not the age of the musical piece so much as the age of the listener. Advancing in age, it seems, makes you available to appreciating music that you would have turned a deaf ear to only a few years ago.

One example is jazz.

Jazz has become a new cherished companion in the past few years. When I tried to share my new found passion with my kids, however, it was met with skepticism if not plain old disinterest. When we took them to the Jazz Festival in Montréal, the girls enjoyed playing in the children's area, but that was pretty much it.

They still have time

The nice thing, with jazz, is that it accompanies wine really well. In fact, simply listening to jazz sometimes is enough to put me in the mood for wine. It happened this weekend. I grabbed a bottle of Côtes du Rhône that proved to be just right, paired it with "an ole piece of cheese", sat down and relaxed while listening to the music. I must be getting old indeed because to me, that's as good as a Friday night can get.

It had also been a while since I hadn't drank anything, my focus being on hydration while I was sick (i.e. pretty much the whole month of February). The only bottle I had opened in the past month was a Médoc, in a desperate attempt to cure myself, because as connoisseurs will tell you, "Médoc cures anything".

That time, unfortunately, whatever I had proved to be "Médoc-resistant". Maybe the healthiest way to approach Médoc, nowadays, is in the form of a marathon:

The Medoc is home to "the longest marathon in the world", the Marathon du Médoc. This tour through the vineyards and chateaux of Pauillac, St-Julien, St-Estephe, Medoc and Haut-Medoc, starts and finishes in Pauillac. Along the course are various pit-stops with food, wine tastings and music. (source: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-medoc)

The only downside of pairing jazz with good wine, especially if you dim the lights and sit comfortably in front of a fireplace, is that it will stimulate your brain's pleasure center so much that you might not be able to refrain from also indulging in chocolate or sex, depending on what is available at the moment. For some, this might prove to be too much vice for one evening!

For now, let's indulge in the music, and for the rest, I leave it up to you ladies and gentlemen. (But consider yourselves warned!)

(Please do not feel the need to tell us that such and such song is not really a jazz song... we're not talking strict musical genre here, more of a "spirit".)

In no particular order:

Nat King Cole - There was a boy

Amy Winehouse - Someone to watch over me

Ella Fitzgerald - Let's fall in love

Norah Jones - Don't know why

Joe Pass - Insensiblement

Etta James - At last

Louis Armstrong - What a wonderful world

Diana Krall - S'wonderful

Nina Simone - I put a spell on you

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong - Summertime

Norah Jones - Sinkin' soon

Van Morrison - Moondance

Pink Martini - Sympathique

Steve Martin & Bernadette Peters - Tonight you belong to me

Jazz Manouche - Le miroir de Narcisse

Do you have a favorite one, in or out of that list?


  1. Music, I once wrote, is like sex and pizza; there is no such thing as bad, only different levels of good.

    Of the many forms of music I appreciate, jazz is chief among them. Of course jazz, like yoga, has become a vague term, and can mean many things to many people. My father, a trumpet player, raised me on Dixieland Jazz -- not the stuff of wine, sex, and chocolate, though all of those sond nice right now.

    I had never really thought of pairing wine with jazz before, but this gives me a reason to consider such, though I don't even pair wine with food all that well. A Pinot Grigio with a Pop-Tart seems fitting.

    My takeaway from this is, Pink Martini, and I thank you very much.

    1. My takeaway from your comment is to pair Pino Grigio with a Pop Tart! ahhaha! ;-)

  2. What joy I felt when reading this post.


    Jazz, Wine, Romance ..................

    Memories to cherish and I'm sure your lovely kids will grow to love Jazz just as you do.

    Thanks for making me smile

    All the best Jan

  3. My students and I listened to some Ella today.