Wine and Music: Features
After working in the music business for over 15 years, both as an artist and as a writer/arranger for such other artists as Patti La Belle, Stephanie Mills, Tom Jones and The Fine Young Cannibals, I decided to slow down a bit, smell the roses and explore the idea of a social life. So I had my first experience of cooking for a date at thirty-five years of age. The dinner was perfect, the wine was recommended and now for the music. Uh....what do I play? Marvin Gaye? Wait, how about Al Green? I could not believe it! All of these years in the music business and I did not have a clue what to play. I love all kinds of music, but what fits the mood of this particular occasion? Moods are tricky. Sometimes you can listen to a song and love it and other times you do not like it. It all depends on the way you are feeling. Some songs can make you feel better, and some are great no matter when you play them. No different than a great bottle of wine, which illuminates the spirit and fills your senses a great song fills the spirit and nurtures your soul.
My last solo album was a great learning experience. I love writing in all genres of music, yet I was forced to pick one specific genre if I wanted to be played on radio. I even had the pleasure of working on a project with the heads of Broadcast Architecture who essentially select the music that is played on several key radio formats. From them I learned that their studies conclude that people like to listen to a radio station with a consistent flow. This flow is why they try to pick music with a similar style. Smooth jazz in this case. For me I felt a little frustrated at this idea. Personally, I like to hear a great classical piece followed by Sting or John Mayer. I actually find myself flipping through radio channels to achieve this. Certainly I am not the only one who feels this way. I, too, like a consistent mood but felt that there must be a way to give listeners a consistent flow, as well as an interesting listening experience.
After returning from a wine tasting excursion in Napa, I realized that maybe my friends at Broadcast Architecture are right. You need a theme or some sort of consistency when programming a radio station. I decided that wine might be a good theme. What goes with wine? Classical, Jazz, Soft Rock, Rhythm and Blues, even Opera! Wow, I think I might have found it. Now comes the task of developing this idea from a concept to a reality. Thus the beginning of wineandmusic.com. There is a need for an e-zine to review great music, new and old, and great wines, pricey and economical. The key point we want to get across is that Mood Matters!
Shortly after discovering true love, wineries and peace of mind, I set out to see if I could put together just such a station and e-zine. The journey has been almost as fun as performing in the movie "Be Cool" with John Travolta and Uma Thurman, which by the way was an unexpected blast. With four other talented musicians and music connoisseurs we set out to find the best of the best music from all genres. The main criteria being that the music is of exceptional quality and that it goes with wine. The next task was to start tasting wine from all over the world and to think about why one wine might pair with a certain artist or song better than another. Needless to say we all learned the art of "sipping."
With the addition of wine expert Jonathan Mitchell to the WineandMusic.com team we have had a tremendous time getting to know all about fine wine. The music lovers are fast becoming wine experts. Jonathan is also currently the Sommelier for Sterling Steakhouse in Hollywood and has chosen the wine for numerous fine restaurants. Rest assured that every song has been hand picked and every wine has been tasted. Nothing that we suggest is chosen to fill space. Every song has a purpose and every wine creates a mood that will last and accompany a special occasion.
For the launch of our web site, I needed a great feature story. After tossing out a few ideas, I decided it would be best to start with the classics - someone like Ella Fitzgerald or Nat King Cole. Then it dawned on me; a good friend of mine actually managed Peggy Lee in her later years. Who better to pair with a bottle of fine wine than a legendary jazz artist whose voice actually helped to define an era? She was a true artist and songwriter with an identifiable voice. A true artist can stand the test of time because the music comes from within. Like a fine wine the classics last for years and years and actually get better with time.
In future issues of wineandmusic.com magazine, we will feature ways to store wine and music as well as where to purchase fine wine and music. There are so many exciting things we want to share with you. For this, the launching of our site, we hope you enjoy this story from Brian Panella, manager of Kenny Loggins, Diahnne Carroll and Peggy Lee to name a few.
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