The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Joyce Cooling & Pelissero Piani Barbera

We need something smooth and cool to slide into the week, so cool it is, Joyce Cooling, that is. Joyce is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, with an eclectic style and sound that just gets your body swaying. She’s funky, she’s soulful, and just doggone nice listening.

Although Joyce now lives in San Francisco, she was raised in the New York area in a house that, as she says was “filled with music.” Her musical influences are diverse and include everyone from Joe Henderson, Wes Montgomery, and Miles Davis, to James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix, to Ravel, Stravinsky, Bach, and Brahms, to Hermeto Pascoal, Elis Regina, João Bosco and finally Jobim. Her teenage years were spent sitting on the steps outside of the Village Vanguard and other Manhattan jazz clubs. Although she was underage, the bartender at the Vanguard saw how much she loved the music and let her hang out on the steps.

Joyce is self-taught and learned to play by ear, which led to the development of her fingerpicking style and its unique tone. In my opinion, she’s sounds a little like Larry Carlton. She’s played with some biggies including jazz giants Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, and Charlie Byrd. In addition, she’s garnered several prestigious awards including the Gibson Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year Award and Best New Talent in the Jazziz Reader’s Poll.

Her style and music is great for unwinding from a hectic day. Hope it helps you get through your week.

If I had to describe Joyce’s music with one word, it would be playful. So, I’m pairing her with a playful wine, a barbera, namely a 2008 Pelissero Piani Barbera ($19.00). This not a wine to over-analyze or spend much time thinking about. It’s a comfort wine that simply works. Pulling the cork releases a flood of aromatic flowers and cherries, cherries, and more cherries. It’s packed with sour black cherries, tart, but not too tart and accompanied by soft tannins. This wine begs to be quaffed, and if your looking for a food to accompany it, try pasta tossed with something simple like olive oil and fresh parmesan. Appropriately, it’s a smooth drinker to match the smooth sounds of Joyce Cooling.


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