The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jazz Fusion Greats & Saint-Amant Cotes du Rhine La Borry Blanc

I found tonight’s video while doing some late night browsing. It’s a concert recorded in 1992 in Sevilla, Spain by the guitar legends listed below. It’s a mind-blowing collection of jazz fusion talent that goes for about an hour and a half. As just a little teaser, I had the honor of playing bass with one of the featured artists, however, I will not reveal which one. Check out Dom di Piazza’s bass guitar work with John McLaughlin on Que Alegra. He’s one of my all time favs. Enjoy!

1) GEORGE BENSON - All Blues

2) JOHN McLAUGHLIN - In A Silent Way


4) PACO DE LUCIA - Concerto De Aranjuez




8) PACO DE LUCIA - El Panuelo

9) JOHN McLAUGHLIN - Que Alegria



12) GEORGE BENSON - Valdez In The Country

13) GEORGE BENSON - Being With You

14) EVERYONE - Eighty One

And for the wine to accompany, I suggest a 2012 Saint-Amant Cotes du Rhine La Borry Blanc ($15.00). Saint-Amant is one of my favorite French vineyards and I make it a habit to jump on a case of every one of their offerings regardless of whether it’s a red, white, or rose, although I’ve never seen the latter. The wine is a pale green-yellow with aromas of peaches, citrus, and honeysuckle. The palate follows with yellow plums and peaches touched with lemons and limes. Very nice minerality and acidity. Perfect for some great guitar and a warm summer evening.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bernhoft & Miro Cuvee Sasha

Jarle Bernhoft (born on June 27, 1976), also known as Bernhoft, is a Norwegian looper. I stumbled upon him when I did the blog on loopers and he is a true find. He originally hails from Nittedal, Norway, but makes his home in Oslo. As a child, he performed with the Norwegian Opera where he began developing his vocal skills. In the mid-90s, he joined a four-piece alternative rock band, Explicit Lyrics that later changed its name to Span. Span landed a deal with London’s Island records and released a single album before breaking up on 2005. After the band’s breakup, Bernhoft decided to go solo and revamp his act taking stripped down one-man-band based on his abilities as a multi-instrumentalist and his new-found skill at looping tracks in real time on stage.

Largely on the strength of his looping-enhanced live show, Bernhoft racked up 250,000 sales of Solidarity Breaks,  his most recent solo-release and earned more than three million views for “C’Mon Talk” (a link is below), a beatbox-infused, acoustic-guitar-laced single that Bernhoft performed during his September 2011 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. With his irresistibly of-the-moment approach to classic R&B and soul, Bernhoft also nabbed the Best Artist and Best Male Artist of the Year awards at the 2012 Spellemannprisen, which are the equivalent to the GRAMMYs in Norway. 

Wielding his loop station to weave in layers of harmony—and showing off his formidable beatboxing skills along with his remarkable vocal range—Bernhoft ends up creating a live experience that’s both breathtakingly intricate and intensely warm in its simplicity. He’s a gem!

Ever since I was a little kid:
The moon is a harsh mistress:

Like Bernhoft, tonight’s wine is also a true find, especially since it’s name is shared with the chief protagonist in my recent novel, “An Impolitic Solution.” Just as the Sasha of my novels is a killer, so is this wine. The 2011 Miro Cuvée Sasha is a dark ruby blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre and although it’s from California, it has all the characteristics of some of my fav’s from the southern Rhone of France. Its aromas are filled with strawberries, cranberries sauce, and Herbs de Provence just like a southern Rhone. The taste echoes the nose adding blueberries and a touch of peppery spice and finishes dry and smooth with silky tannins. At $18.00 a bottle, it’s also the bargain of the year. So grab a bottle and enjoy two of the best finds of the year.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kaori Muraji and Vall Llach Ebriux

Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1978, Kaori Muraji received her first lessons on the guitar from her father Noboru Muraji at the age of three. At the age of ten, she continued her studies with the renowned guitarist Shinichi Fukuda. She won the top prize at the 1989 Junior Guitar Contest, and was the winner of the Student Guitar Competition in two consecutive years 1989 and 1991. She was the youngest ever student to win the Leo Brouwer International Guitar Concours and Tokyo International Guitar Concours in 1992.

In 1993, Ms. Muraji gave her debut recital at Tsuda Hall in Tokyo, which was soon followed by the release of her debut CD “Espressivo”. Her orchestra debut came in 1994 with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1995 she was selected as soloist to tour with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI on its Japan tour. In May of that year, the same orchestra invited Ms. Muraji to join them in one of their subscription concerts in Turin. The concert, which was broadcasted on TV throughout Europe, marked Ms. Muraji’s European debut.
Ms. Muraji continued her musical education, and in 1997 went to study under Albert Ponce at Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. In 1999, she had the extraordinary opportunity to perform for the legendary Joaquin Rodrigo, playing two of his compositions, Tiento antigno and En los trigales.
With her graduation from Ecole Normale that year, she returned to Japan to pursue her solo career, yet her international reputation continued to flourish. In 2001, Ms. Muraji performed for the first time with the Orquesta de Camara Joaquin Rodrigo in Valencia, Spain. In May of the following year, she toured Japan with the same ensemble as part of the centennial celebration of Rodrigo’s birth. She again joined the Vogler Quartet on their Japan tour in February of 2003.
In the summer of 2004, Kaori Muraji toured in Japan with Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey. In December, she performed the Japan premiere of Lorenzo Palomo’s Nocturnos de Andalucia with Maestro Rafael Fruehbbeck de Burgos conducting the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo.
She has a serene, yet evocative style of playing that seems full of emotion and passion. A great way to start the week.
Fantasia para un Gentilhombre:
Here there and everywhere:
Recuerdos De La Alhambra:
Medley from - New Cinema Paradise:

Because one of her favorite guitarist/composers is Joaquin Rodrigo, I suggest a Spanish wine. I uncorked just the ticket this weekend, namely a bottle of the 2007 Vall Llach Embriux (pronounced “Embroosh”; $24.00) from Spain’s Priorat region. This is my favorite Spanish wine, witnessed by the fact that I buy it by the case. This deep ruby red wine is primarily Garnacha accented by touches of  Cariñena grapes and opens with aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, and exotic spices. It’s taste is complex following aroma, but adding flavors of chocolate, plum, and boysenberries with soft tannins. It’s a wonderful wine to enjoy with the music of a stellar guitarist.