The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pete Townsend & Tangley Oaks Merlot

Pete Townsend is one of the finest songwriters ever to grace the face of rock music. His career with the Who created some of the greatest rock classics, but his solo work is just as excellent. His electric work is legendary. Back in 1970, the Who played the Auditorium Theater in Chicago and I was setting their stage that night. As the concert started, Pete, always legendary for his volume, seemed to be rather quiet. I remember getting ready to check on the connections when I saw him hit his stomp box and my hair literally stood up as power exploded into the theater. That was the Pete Townsend I knew. In spite of that, I love his acoustic work, some of which I’ve provided below. Hope you enjoy it.

Won’t get fooled again:

Pinball Wizard:



Heart to Hang on to:

Stop Hurting People:

A little is enough:

Baba O’Riley:

Magic Bus:

English Boy:

God Speaks:


Let my love open the door:

My Generation (with John Entwhistle):

With Eric Clapton acoustic jam:

Behind Blue Eyes/Pinball Wizard:

Complimenting Pete, I want to introduce you to Tangley Oaks 2005 Merlot ($16.00). Nice little merlot that’s smooth and dry with a floral cherry bouquet, followed by cherry, red currents, crisp acids, and mild oak overtones on the palate. Not as fruity as some Claifornia merlots, but that’s a good thing. Very drinkable, especially when reminiscing about the last Who concert I saw. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Steve Morse & Sixth Sense Syrah

Steve Morse has always been one of my favorite guitarists beginning with his work with the Dixie Dregs. He wrote all eleven tracks for the Dregs’ first record, Free Fall, which established him as a top jazz-fusion writer and musician. One of their later recordings, Industry Standard, was voted “Best Guitar LP” by the readers of Guitar Player magazine’s reader’s poll. In the same polls, Steve won the title of “Best Overall Guitarist” five years in a row qualifying him for induction into their “Gallery of Greats.” After the Dixie Dregs, Steve has done stints with his own band, the Steve Morse Trio, Kansas, and his current gig as the guitarist with Deep Purple. In addition to his virtuosity in jazz-fusion and rock, he’s quite an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist playing classical songs like “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach. Listening to Steve’s music is a great way to kick off the week. Enjoy!

Tumeni Notes:

Instrumental Metal:

Classical Solos:

Dixie Dregs Assembly Line:

Kat Food:

Ice Cakes:

Country Colors:

Highland Wedding:

General Lee:

Cruise Missile:  

Sleaze Factor:

Get it in writing:

Point Counterpoint:

Little kids:

Rocky Top:


Jesu of man’s desiring:

And to go with Steve’s music, I’m suggesting the third wine from Michael David, their 2006 Sixth Sense Syrah ($16.00). Past wines I’ve like and reviewed from this winery are their Seven Deadly Zins zinfandel, and their Petite Petite, Petite Syrah. The Sixth Sense has a cherry red color and blackberry and kirsch liqueur notes in the bouquet. It’s got a smidgen of Petite Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon blended in. On the palate, it’s loaded with ripe cherry, berry, and a hint of chocolate. A subtle note of pepper is evident on the long finish. It’s got subtle yet lavish flavor that’s great for listening to the music of Steve Morse…or watching the NCAA basketball tournaments. Yeah, I have to admit, I’m a fan.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lee Ritenour & La Crema Pinot Noir

Lee Ritenour grew up up in L.A. in the 60's, where he received a rich cross section of exposure to jazz and rock music. At sixteen years of age, he sessioned with the Mamas and the Papas, Lena Horne, and Tony Bennett Between the age of16 and 18. he sessioned with the Mamas and Papas, Lena Horne, and Tony Bennett. Over his forty year career, he’s had 17 grammy nomination, one grammy for a collaboration with Dave Grusin, and numerous #1 spots in guitar polls. He has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart songs, notably the Top 15 hit "Is It You," which has become a contemporary jazz radio classic. One of my favorites of all his endeavors is his work with the smooth jazz group Fourplay where he was joined by keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason. The first Fourplay album in 1991 spent an unprecedented 33 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. His music is some of the most listenable that I’ve heard, so I’ll just shut up and let you listen.

Night Rhythms:

Papa was a rolling stone:

Rio Funk:

Panther with Marcus Miller & George Duke:

With Larry Carleton:

Is it you:

A little bumpin:  

Boss City:

Wes Bound:


Water’s Edge:

Forget me nots:

Zurich Jazz festival:

Smoke & Mirrors with Dave Grusin:

Here today, here tomorrow:

With Brian Bromberg:

With Steve Lukather:

And for a classy guitarist like Lee, I recommend a La Crema 2007 Pinot Noir ($18.00). La Crema is a light ruby colored wine with a bouquet of black cherry and a hint of cola. On the palate, it’s medium bodied with very nice balance and smooth mouthfeel. The flavor are a delicious blend of strawberry and raspberries with lively acidity. The finish is dry and lingers for quite some time. Kick back and relax to Lee’s music while you enjoy a bottle of La Crema Pinot Noir. You’re gonna like it!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Al Di Meola & Cupcake Merlot

Ah, Wednesday, hump day, half way to the weekend. Perhaps you need a boost to get you through. I know I do. So here’s some stuff that should do the trick. I first heard Al Di Meola when he was 19 and playing with Chick Corea and Return to Forever. That was about 30 years ago and since then he’s been recognized as a virtuoso acoustic and electric guitarist as well as a prolific and lyrical composer. His music ranges from world music to classical to jazz and rock. His current interests lie with his World Symphonia group. One of my favorites, however, was his stint with Paco De Lucia and John McLaughlin, the super trio. His recordings with them are some of the most amazing ever to come from acoustic guitars. I’ve collected a few of his more recent compositions for tonight that should give you a push over the hill toward Friday.



Rhapsody of fire:

Beyond the mirage:

Orient Blue Suite:  


Egyptian Danza:

Jazz festival 2007:

Super guitar trio-Spain:

No Mystery:


Solo Performance:

Fantasia suite:




Return to Forever:

Al Di Meola is smooth yet bold, so I’m pairing him with a 2007 Cupcake Merlot (~$11.00). Cupcake is a smooth yet full-bodied merlot with supple tannins and dark fruit balanced by a bit of oak. It’s a softer, silkier Merlot that starts with flavors of red cherries evolving into decadent cocoa and espresso and finishing with plush, silky mocha. Very nice wine for the price. Good for sipping or pairing with beef or pork. So, check out Al and have a Cupcake. From here, it’s all downhill to the weekend.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tal Wilkenfeld & Brazin Zinfandel

So, whilst I was cruising the electrons looking for recordings by Jeff Beck, I came across Tal Wilkenfeld, a 24 year old phenom from Australia. She first picked up the guitar at 14 and at 16, left home and headed for Los Angeles where she switched to bass. She’s had a meteoric rise that includes playing with jazz greats like Chic Corea, blues & rock artists Susan Tedeschi and the Allman Brothers, and touring with Jeff Beck as well as an endorsement deal from Roger Sadowsky Guitars (great basses!).

Beck is one of her biggest fans, who is quoted as saying, "What can I say about Tal Wilkenfeld? How does one describe an astonishing talent? The answer is, you don't. You listen, and watch, as 45,000 people did in Chicago at the Crossroads Festival 2007. I have witnessed special moments in my time, but to see all those 'dyed-in-the-wool' blues fanatics and guitar freaks go berzzzzerk half way through her solo left me emotional, and that is an understatement. The word proud is barely adequate." Not a bad person to have behind your career!

Enough chat. Check her out. Enjoy!


River of Life:

Table for One:

Truth be Told:

With Chick Corea, Lenore:

With Oteil Burbridge:

Solo (with Jeff Beck):

Duet with Jeff Beck:

Bass Solo:

Snake Oil Solo:

Cause we’ve ended as lovers:

When I first saw her videos, I thought she couldn’t be 21 yet. Technically, I suppose I shouldn’t review a wine while I’m discussing a minor’s work. Thankfully, she’s now 24, so let me introduce you to a 2007 Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel ($20.00). I really like this wine. It’s got a nose full of berries and spice. Its palate is complex with notes of berries, coffee, figs, chocolate, vanilla, and pepper. It was a double gold medal winner at the 2009 California State Fair wine Competition. I liked it enough to buy three more bottles. Excellent!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Adrian Legg & Witness Tree Pinot Blanc

Adrian Legg has won just about every award around for acoustic fingerstyle guitar and the descriptive "best acoustic fingerstyle guitarist," an award given him by Guitarist Magazine, seems to follow his name wherever he goes. He was voted Best Acoustic Fingerstyle guitarist in the Guitar Player’s reader’s poll four years running, then was retired to their hall of fame.

It’s impossible to classify his music, which incorporates virtuosic instrumental effects into a plethora of genres ranging to traditional folk to bluegrass to jazz with a bit of rock thrown in for good measure. I started following his music before he began garnering all the awards and I must say they are deserved. His tone is derived from both electronic and physical effects, i.e. the use of banjo tuners to achieve soulful bends. Whe I first heard him, he played an Ovation graphite Adamas, but more recently moved to a custom guitar seen in the videos below. It’s made from two pieces of swamp ash, with a cavity hollowed out before joining and then vented on the treble side cutaway. The neck is two-piece walnut; the fingerboard is ebony; the bridge is walnut. This particular guitar uses a pick-up specially made by Dimarzio. He started out as a guitar technician and has a book out on customizing your guitar. Hope you enjoy listening to a master

Guitar Master Class:

Ghoast in the Hills:


Nora Handley’s Waltz:

Cuckoo Shuffle:

Midwest Sunday:

Irish Girl:  

Nefertiti, What a Sweetie:

Siobhan Kapoor:

The Cool Cajun:

Mrs. Crow’s Blue Waltz:


More Fun In The Swamp:

Hard Time Killing Floor w/ Cindy Cashdollar:

And since the temperature hit 58 today, releasing us temporarily from our horrible winter suffering, I thought we’d do a warm weather wine, namely a 2007 Witness Tree Pinot Blanc ($15.00). This variety is rather rare and I believe one of the more underrated and under-appreciated wines, especially when it comes from Oregon. It’s a bright wine with a gentle fruit character. Citrus and green apple bouquet, with lemon, green apple, pear, and melon flavors on the palate balanced by a crisp, refreshing acidity. I enjoyed mine sitting on my deck with the fragrance of spring in the air…I hope. Enjoy!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Brian Bromberg & Clos du Val Cabernet

Brian Bromberg is one amazing bassist. Playing acoustic upright, to electric piccolo, four, and five string bases as well as the synthesizer bass, he is one of the most versatile and listenable artists to ever pick up the instrument. He plays everything from straight ahead and smooth jazz, to fusion with equal virtuosity. For more information, follow the link to his website and listen to the excerpts from his latest CD, “It Is What It Is.” Outstanding!

Cantalope Island:

Snuggle Up:

It is what it is:

It is what it is #2:

Jungle Boogie solo: 


With Lee Ritenour:

Shag Carpet:

Slow Burn:

Chameleon with Jeff Lorber:


Through the window:

Ray of Sunshine:

Isn’t it beautiful:

Slap Technique:

Listening to a virtuoso bassist calls for a wine with some body. So I recommend a 2006 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon $20.00. It’s a classic Napa Valley Cab, smooth and elegant with scents of black currants, blackberry, and expresso. It has an almost chewy feel in the mouth, loaded with dark fruit, toasty oak, and full tannins followed by a long, lingering finish. Get your groove on with Brian Bromberg and enjoy this classic cab.