Ok, I’ll disclaim right from the start that I’m indulging in a bit of a stretch here, but let’s see if you’re willing to follow me …
Today is August 21st. Two legendary jazz musicians were born on this date, Art Farmer, and Count Basie.
Count Basie, the legendary swing-master, band leader, and composer with that Kansas City style written into his DNA, and Art Farmer, seminal and canonical bop and hard bop trumpeter, who played with, among other luminaries, Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, McCoy Tyner, Gerry Mulligan, and more. Two jazz titans, indisputably.
And here’s the wine stretch, the gesture to connectivity, the six degree adhesion …
Meaning, each has quite a fine wine song in their respective discographies:Count Basie, during his tenure with RCA Victor, recorded a brilliantly sassy little number titled “She’s A Wine-O,” which featured the utterly immortal rhyme “She’s a Wine-O/She’s my mama, yo.”
And Art Farmer, in the company of his stunning guitarist Jim Hall, on the album Interaction, recorded a gloriously melancholic version of “Days Of Wine And Roses,” which was originally written for the film of the same name by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer.
And now, to try and work my way around to one of my other favorite topics, wine and poetry, I’ll happily note that the title for the film “Days Of Wine And Roses” came from a poem written in 1896 entitled “Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetet Incohare Longam” by Ernest Dowson.
- They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
- Love and desire and hate;
- I think they have no portion in us after
- We pass the gate.
- They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
- Out of a misty dream
- Our path emerges for a while, then closes
- Within a dream.
So today, in honor of all these tremendous talents, I’ll play “She’s A Wine-O” and “Days Of Wine And Roses” in the tasting room, and I’ll raise a Riedel of Ridge Monte Bello to the heavens, and I’ll thank the great mojo maker of the world for wine, for jazz, for dreams, and for the short but so beautiful time we have to be alive. Please feel free to join me. Cheers.