Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Concert Series
Four days of top jazz performers
Let me start from the beginning...
The first time I ever visited Napa Valley was in July of 2001 when I performed at the Robert Mondavi Winery summer concert series. Margrit Mondavi founded this series in 1969 and it has been going strong ever since. For awhile, they showcased contemporary jazz from the mid-90’s thru the mid-2000’s so I was lucky enough to be invited a few times. Each time I went there, I was unfortunately just in and out while on tour so I never got to enjoy what Napa Valley had to offer; the wine tasting, restaurants, etc. I knew I liked the vibe, but didn’t have the chance to immerse myself in it...yet!
The following year in October of 2002, I was in Chicago performing at a piano store on the north side showcasing the Mason & Hamlin piano. Atfter the show, the national sales manager of Mason (Cecil Ramirez) took Michelle and I out for dinner to Maggiano’s. While we were waiting for a table, we sat down at the bar and that’s when Cecil introduced me to the first bottle of wine that changed my life....a 1996 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Up to that point, I had never had a glass of wine that tasted remotely like this. I was just ordering the ‘house’ Merlot and was merely content, never excited. The Silver Oak was the first glass that actually made me shut my eyes while drinking it and really enjoy all of the complex flavors. Cecil taught Michelle and I how to swirl the glass, look at the coloring, properly take in the aroma and then finally how to taste it. A whole new world opened up and I was ready to jump in!
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