Playboy Jazz & swingin’ summer wines!!

playboy-jazz-festival.jpgThis year was the 30th anniversary of the Playboy Jazz Festival. It is a day in the sun with “mature” party pipples including the tBoW crew. pp5b.jpgWe bring plenty of wine, cheese, a camera and binocs because the best performers are not always on stage.
The festival lineup follows a rather inflexible format: 3 or 4 new performers paired with seasoned tigers fill the first half of the day. Then there is a dinner act followed by the pop stars, a “classic” vet, and closing with a crowd pumper (Tower of Power this year and they did pump). The downside is minor if predictable. Bill Cosby, exercising his traditional emcee role, puts together “his” ensemble of local premium performers who jam under the name Cos of Good Music. The indulgence is tolerable because the ensemble features truly great musicians (such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire) who, having never played in one group, are compelled to exhibit their talent in featured solos.
jarreau1.jpgThe other “anchor act” is the “nostalgia” performer. This year Al Jarreau filled that spot and he was truly awful. He complained about “performers touching their privates”. Jerry Lewis1.jpgThe LA Times reviewer loved him which means he had a stringer web in the report. If Jerry Lewis has a musical counterpart it is AJ.
The big question for the day is not where to park but what wines to bring. Matching includes food (we are toting), the weather (hot and sunny), and the acts. Here is what we came up with in 2008.
2004 Arbois Traminer by Stephane Tissot $20: Supposed to be Savagnin (huh??) but it tastes like white Burgundy. But from Jura France, a region on the Swiss border east-southeast of Burgundy. Plenty of acid but not like the Basque wines. Tastes a lot like old world chardonnay. Dotor√© – “very well made but not my favorite grape”. 13%
bandol 07.jpg2007 Bandol La Bastide de Blanche Ros√© $19: Dry, strawberries, pale salmon color. Floral flavors, taste the alcohol, almost hot, at least lukewarm. Put it back on the ice. Too acidic! Ultimately, we do not “get” Bandol. Our expectations seem to exceed our experience consistently. It is not like the winemakers fail to aim high. They just do not seem to hit their mark. 13.5%
auntie Roz.jpgServed with the Cos of Good Music (see above). Aim high…fall short. Except this year with Auntie Ren√©e Resnes on piano and Cos doing his best T Monk impression on drums.
Fortunately, the performer of the day was working hard so the weird Rosado was quickly forgotten as Hiromi and her crew of 2 gave it all they had. She is a youthful ball of energy who plays piano like a bumblebee in a free fall. She plays with lightning speed and melodic thunder. She topped her performance in 2006 which was powerful enough to steal that show as well.
avinyo 07.gif2007 Avinyo Vi D’Agulla Rosado $15: Phawn-keee. Weird. Volatile acidity? No it’s a spritz. Strawberry jam. With something weird. Plasticity in feel and flavor. 100% Spanish Merlot from Penedes. Ugh. IF this has to compete with Moscato d’Asti…fuggedaboudid.
txakoli front.JPG2007 Txakoli Gurrutxaga $13: Pure grapefruit juice from the Basque country. If you like acid in your wine the way Hef likes blonde bimbos this is the wine for you. The wine is still light on its feet and tight! 10.5%
It must have been the wimmin’s hour as Hef and trio arrived around the same time the all female 16 piece band from New York DIVA took over the stage.
The ladies were tight and ready to let it all go. Hef and crew were gone in two hours while DIVA showed real moxie. You can keep Kendra and MIss Sugar Kane; I’ll take DIVA’s bass player! [ed. tBoW a big Some like it Hot fan]
2002 Babcock Cargassacchi Pinot Noir $30: Possibly the last pinot to come out of Santa Rita Hills under 14%. This wine has followed a precipitous road since futures purchase in 2003. Wine of the show at the Wine Cask’s SB Futures Tasting (so said-eth tBoW’s tasting team). The wine immediately entered a dumb phase that cost a couple of bottles and hours of worrisome lamenting. “It’s just dumb. No it’s freaking awful”. Happy to see things are back on track. Too bad we lost our flavor for SRH pinots! Expansive nose that keeps growing. Cherries all over. Soft smoky smells and flavors. Powerful and rich. Could be a Syrah it is that dense. 13.6%
The wine went perfectly with the paunchy punchy homeboy Pancho Sanchez, timbales maestro. Cos re-emerges with a cow bell so he can party with Pancho begging the question…is he buzzed?
Not reviewed but putting in good vibe…Dr. John, Robert Glasper and RnR who will definitely be headlining Vegas in 24 months if not sooner.

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