Jazz & Juice

Rare Birds 🍇

Published about 1 month ago • 1 min read


Happy Friday!

Greetings from California, where I'll be serenading a private event in Santa Barbara in a few days. I'll be joined by some stellar musicians who also happen to be featured in this week's pairing.

I think you'll love listening to them as much as I do!


There are some grapes that have stayed ever in the shadows — is it because they are too unwieldy to be featured in their own, or that few winemakers understand how to bring out their best?

Torre alle Tolfe's Colorino (Tuscany, 2021) brings the Colorino grape centerstage - its colorful, tannic personality make it a valuable blending grape but has kept most winemakers from giving it solo bottlings.

On first nose, the wine gives generous notes of black fruits and jam, bitter herbs and mace. All these intense elements come deliver on fruit and finish when tasted. In time, the dark cherries brighten and the formidable tannins ease (as have you in tasting them.)

As the bottle dwindled, no one sip was ever the same — and that vitality and intrigue is all that could be asked for in a tasting adventure.


To tackle the nuance, quirk intrigue of pianist and composer Herbie Nicols' work (1919-1963), it takes a certain intelligence, humor and skill. The trio Allison, Cardenas & Nash always mine unexpected catalogs of song, and emerge with gems that they honor by not polishing them too much.

Swan Song on "Tell the Birds I Said Hello" (Sonic Camera, 2023) begins with rough hewn intensity. The bass’s momentum fuels the mystery of the mood, and Cardenas’s decisive punctuations are never afraid to spelunk into the murkier crevasses of the tune. Nash’s saxophone sails over this craggy landscape with ease and exhilaration.

Herbie Nicols’ music never reached the apex of fame his contemporaries enjoyed — but there is something extra delicious in enjoying something unusual and rare given such stellar treatment.

Swan Song
Ben Allison, Steve Cardenas,...
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Happy listening and toasting...



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Jazz & Juice

a jazz singer/songwriter/sommelier pairs wine and song for you weekly

NYC based jazz vocalist/songwriter/sommelier

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