The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kevin Eubanks & Miro Cabernet

I hope y’all had a blessed Thanksgiving. After a long four-day weekend, we need something smooth to help us slide back into the weekday groove. I first heard Kevin Eubanks in 1988 when I was with the World Health Organization in Kuwait. He and his group were on a world tour and stopped over to give a free concert at the University’s outdoor soccer field just two blocks from my home. I was surprised at the turnout. Quite a few of the Kuwaiti youth were jazz fans and many had his recordings. Most people know him from his fifteen or so years leading the Tonight Show Band with Jay Leno. He’s a consummate guitarist, whether it’s acoustic or electric. The Tonight Show rarely let him show off his talents, but I think the selections below will more than demonstrate his musical virtuosity. I even inserted a number with him playing a duet with Pat Martino whom I reviewed two weeks ago. Kevin plays acoustic while Pat is on the electric. His music is a great way to kick off the week. Enjoy!


Blues Jam:



Up Close at the Blue Note:

With Dave Holland:


Heat of the Heat:

Live in Seattle:

Four Stix:  

Acoustic Guitar:

With Pat martino; Progressive:

Kevin pairs nicely with a 2007 Miro Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s dark purple garnet with aromas of wild berries, spicy pepper, mocha, and a touch of licorice. Let this wine open up for an hour or so and the tannins become smooth, coating the mouth in a balanced dry wine with flavors of blackberry, mocha, and raspberry with a slight bit of oak that adds complexity. The finish begs one to take another sip—just as listening to Kevin Eubanks makes you want more of his music. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

T-Cophony & White Cottage Cabernet Franc

I got hit by a bug this week and was down for the count, so I missed a blog or two. It’s gonna be a bit sparse this week due to the holiday, but let’s kick off the week with a special guitarist and wine. T-Cophony is a twenty-nine year old Japanese acoustic guitarist, although he also plays electric and a few other instruments. He’s a picker and tapper with a very sweet sound. Note his use of a double-necked guitar on a couple of the numbers. Interestingly, he has fought what he calls mental illness since he was a child due to a violent father with whom he has now reconciled. His music helps him control his mental issues, as it brings up good memories, places, and times instead of the ugliness. His music is written primarily for himself, an expression of his healing process more than any artistic desire, but when you listen to him, I think you’ll agree, he’s quite the artist…and healer. Enjoy!



Another Future:

Special Day:


Social Withdrawl:

October Sky:

The Meaning Of Life:

When Fall Asleep:

Dummy Amulet:


Vacillate: l

I’m pairing T-Cophony with a very special and hard-to-find wine. It’s a 2006 White Cottage Cabernet Franc. Normally, this one’s about $30.00 but it was on sale for $24.00. Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite wines and they’re hard to find. This one is from the upper reaches of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, one of the premier growing regions. The White Cottage is a perfectly clear deep garnet color. When you swirl it, you’ll notice it’s got some serious legs. It aroma is bright and floral with cherry, blackberry, currant, and soft spice. It’s a lighter wine than a Cabernet Sauvignon, somewhere between it and a Pinot Noir in feel. Velvety and fresh, its taste is perfectly balanced with tart cherry, red currants and blackberries that finishes with a long, lingering tart to sweet sensation. Can you tell I liked it? I like drinking it alone sitting by a fire curled up in my favorite chair with a good book, but it goes with a plethora of foods. If you see this one, try it. You’ll like it, especially accompanied by the music of T-Caphony. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Charles Krug 2006 X Clones Cabernet & Pat martino

Missed posting on Friday as it was my birthday and things got away from me. Celebrated with a very special wine sent to me by a friend. Ordinarily I pair a wine with a guitarist, but tonight, because of the wine, I’m going to do the wine first and follow with an appropriate musician. The wine in question is the Charles Krug X Clones Cabernet Sauvignon. Now this wine is way, way beyond my $25.00 limit, but it was a special occasion and deserves a review. The X is actually the Roman numeral for ten, signifying that the wine was made from ten different Cabernet clones on the grounds of the winery. Opening the wine releases a heavenly aroma of dark berries and spice. The dark purple elixer has a rich mouthfeel, complex with notes of black cherry, blackberry, and coffee with soft tannins and an elegant finish of dark chocolate and toasty oak. Without question, this is one of the best Cabernets I’ve tasted. Thanks, Bob!

Now with an elegant wine like the X Clone Cab, I have to pull an equally classy guitarist from my archives. So tonight, meet Pat Martino, one of my favorite jazz guitarists and one of the greats of the genre, and his story is truly amazing. Born Pat Azzara in Philadelphia in 1944, he began playing the guitar at the age of twelve. During visits to his music teacher Dennis Sandole, Pat often ran into another gifted student, John Coltrane, who would treat the young musician to hot chocolate as they talked about music. Pat’s father was a jazz singer who took him to the city clubs to see all the greats like Wes Montgomery and others. He left school after tenth grade to devote himself full time to music. Pat became actively involved with the early rock scene in Philadelphia, alongside stars like Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Darin. Later, he moved to Harlem, New York to study soul jazz. He became a jazz icon by the age of twenty.

In 1976, while performing internationally with his fusion group “Joyous Lake” Martino began experiencing seizures, which were eventually diagnosed as arteriovenous malformation. In 1980, doctors discovered Pat had a severe brain aneurysm, a potentially fatal condition, so he underwent surgery. But after the operation he faced the biggest challenge of his life—amnesia. He barely recognized his parents and had no memory of his guitar or his career. He later commented that he felt as if he had been "dropped cold, empty, and naked into a new body."

In the following months, Martino made a remarkable recovery. Through intensive study of his own historic recordings, and with the help of computer technology, Pat managed to reverse his memory loss and return to form on his instrument. Today, he’s thriving and lives in Philly. To me, the crowning achievement, made all the more meaningful because of the hard road he had to travel, was his award as Guitar Player of the Year in Downbeat Magazine's 2004 Reader's Poll. I hope you enjoy the music of this gifted and incredibly tough guitarist.

Episode thirty:

The Great Stream:


Oleo 1:


Willow Weep for Me:

How Insensitive:

Along came Betty:

I remember Clifford:  



Do you have a name?:

These are soulful days:



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Larry Graham & Wairau Sauvignon Blanc

Another weekend comes to a close, but there’s still time for a little fun, so tonight I’m featuring a pioneer in the bass guitar world, Larry Graham. Larry first appeared as the bassist in the psychedelic soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone. He followed with his own group, Graham Central Station and later launched out in a solo career. He’s been nominated for a number of Grammys and has received numerous awards including being ranked it the top ten rock bassists of all time by several magazines. He is credited as the inventor of slap bass technique, something that has been confirmed by a number of bass luminaries like Stanley Clark and Marcus Miller. So get ready to groove. Enjoy!


Super slap:

Funk Bass at its best:



Dance to the Music:

With Stanley Clarke:

With the P-Funk Allstars:

Graham Central Station:

The Jam:

Release yourself:


Groove On:

Larry Graham makes me think of summer fun. It was 70 degrees here today, a beautiful example of Indian summer, so I’m pairing him with a wine that speaks of hot fun in the summertime, namely a 2009 Wairau Sauvignon Blanc. The Wairau Valley is in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, a country where around 60% of the wine grape crush is Sauvignon Blanc and 85% comes from Marlborough, the region at the northern tip of the country. The Wairau version is typically zesty, with a nose full of grapefruit-like zing and lime, the same notes in its flavor with added hints of gooseberries pineapple. It’s a versatile wine that goes well with chicken or fish, but works just fine for sipping and enjoying a balmy fall evening. A very refreshing wine just made for grooving to the music of Larry Graham.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Jackson Browne & Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Jackson Brown has always been one of my favorite troubadors. He’s an excellent guitarist, but he excels at lyrics. All of the selections below are acoustic versions. Listen to the version of “In the Shape of a Heart,” a song overflowing with emotion. The first time I heard the acoustic version, it reduced me to tears. His soulful voice just conjures up a certain despondency over a broken relationship. But he does have a playful side as you’ll see in the video version of Free Bird. It’s good music to help you unwind from the week. Enjoy!

In the shape of a heart:

These Days: 


Just Say Yeah:

Running on Empty:

Opening Farewell with Bonnie Rait:

Your bright baby blues:

Something fine:

For Everyman:

Take it Easy:

I am a Patriot:

The Drums of War:

Looking East: 

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is supposed to be the quintessential Marlborough, New Zealand SB. It runs between $30-$33.00 a bottle, so technically, it’s out of my price range. But on a recent business trip, I had the opportunity to try it. Its aromas are characteristic of the region with lemon, grapefruit, and pineapple nuances. The palate combines a touch of grapefruit with orange and lime zest along with balanced acidity. It’s crisp, clean on the finish, and refreshing. But it’s price is bothersome. Is this wine better than Whitehaven SB ($21.00/bottle) or Kim Crawford ($18.00/bottle)? I don’t think so. It’s a good wine, but about $10.00 overpriced. But should you run across a bottle, by all means, try it. Meantime, I’ve got a bottle Kim Crawford that should be chilled to perfection, so it’s time to kick back and listen to the soulful sounds of Jackson Browne and let the week unwind.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Jeff Healy & Cancer Research

Years ago, I saw a Patrick Swazye movie entitled “Roadhouse.” Swayze plays a traveling bouncer hired by a small town bar. The bar’s band was led by a blind blues guitarist playing a Fender Stratocaster across his lap. His style was so unique and incredibly good, that I looked him up and discovered Jeff Healey. Born in 1966, Jeff was adopted as an infant and at the age of eight months was strickened with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that took his eyesight. Because of the possibility of metastasis, his eyes were removed and he was given artificial replacements.

He began playing guitar at the age of three, developing his unique style of playing it flat on his lap. At 17, he formed his first band, Blue Direction, playing bar-band cover tunes. But shortly thereafter, he met up with bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen and formed a trio, the Jeff Healey Band. In 1988, he signed with Arista Records and released his first album, “See The Light,” that contained the song Hideaway and was nominated for a Grammy for best Rock Instrumental Perfomance. At the same time they were recording “See The Light,” they were recording the sound track for “Roadhouse.”

Over the years, Jeff toured with numerous greats including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Dire Straits, Buddy Guy, BB King, ZZ Top, Steve Lukather, and Eric Clapton. Jeff had several more relapses of the cancer and on March 2, 2008 finally succumbed to its lung metastases. He is survived by his wife Cristie and two children. Retinoblastoma is genetically inherited and his son also has the disease. So listen to the incredible sounds of a fantastic guitarist and instead of suggesting a wine, how about you take the twenty or so bucks and send it off to one of the many cancer research foundations for children. Enjoy!


At the Islington Academy:



Stuck in the Middle With You:

Roadhouse Blues:

Confidence Man:

See the Light:

Yer Blues:

Breaking Down Blues:

Blue Jean Blues:

Joined At The Heart:

On Letterman:

Canada AM Blues: