Wine and Jazz Vintage 3 Track 1 : Page 36

Paul Brady and Julien Labro of “ www.WineandJazz.com jazz on wine Hot Club of Detroit Both Labro and Brady attribute their love of wine to spending key developmental years in France. Labro grew up in Rodez, near the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region and began learning about pairing food and wine from a tender age. ‘I got to live the pairings and learn how the right wine can enhance a dish and bring different flavors to the palate.’ ” By Jonathan Widran More than seven decades since Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stephane Grapelli formed Quintette du Hot Club De France, one of the earliest and most significant continental jazz groups, their gypsy jazz sound remains a sensation around the globe. Combos called “Hot Clubs” are popular everywhere from Tokyo and San Francisco, to Norway and Austria. Founded in 2003 by Reinhardt disciple Evan Perri while attending Wayne State University, Hot Club of Detroit has established itself as a true indie jazz sensation. The group, which averages about 60 live dates a year at clubs, concert halls and festivals throughout the U.S., took first place in the 2004 Detroit International Jazz Festival competition, setting the stage for their countless wins at the Detroit Music Awards, including “Outstanding Traditional Jazz Group” and “Best Jazz Instrumentalist” for founder Perri. 36 Jazz On Wine

Paul Brady And Julien Labro: Hot Club Of Detroit, An Indie Jazz Phenom

Jonathan Widran

Both Labro and Brady attribute their love of wine to spending key developmental years in France. Labro grew up in Rodez, near the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region and began learning about pairing food and wine from a tender age. ‘I got to live the pairings and learn how the right wine can enhance a dish and bring different flavors to the palate.’<br /> <br /> More than seven decades since Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stephane Grapelli formed Quintette du Hot Club De France, one of the earliest and most significant continental jazz groups, their gypsy jazz sound remains a sensation around the globe. Combos called “Hot Clubs” are popular everywhere from Tokyo and San Francisco, to Norway and Austria.Founded in 2003 by Reinhardt disciple Evan Perri while attending Wayne State University, Hot Club of Detroit has established itself as a true indie jazz sensation.<br /> <br /> The group, which averages about 60 live dates a year at clubs, concert halls and festivals throughout the U.S., took first place in the 2004 Detroit International Jazz Festival competition, setting the stage for their countless wins at the Detroit Music Awards, including “Outstanding Traditional Jazz Group” and “Best Jazz Instrumentalist” for founder Perri.<br /> <br /> For the past five years this vibrant gypsy jazz quintet has hosted the annual Djangofest Detroit at various venues, including the Masonic Temple, where Reinhardt himself appeared with Duke Ellington in 1946.<br /> <br /> Unlike the instrumentation of the original Paris-based quintet, Hot Club of Detroit incorporates bop and post-bop elements (via saxophonist Carl Cafagna) and links to the French musette style (courtesy of French-born accordionist Julien Labro) from which gypsy jazz derived. The group is rounded out by rhythm guitarist (and WAJ blog contributor) Paul Brady and bassist Shannon Wade.<br /> <br /> Taking a stab at explaining the ongoing appeal of the Django sound, Labro says, “It’s very friendly to the listener, not intimidating like some styles. The rhythm is easy to grasp and there’s a dance feel and flavor to it that people dig. Everyone from age 5 to 80 can feel the rhythm, and audiences love the easy-to-remember, lyrical melodies and sense of nostalgia they evoke.”<br /> <br /> It’s almost reflexive to assume that the French accordionist would be the group’s resident wine expert. But, actually, it’s Brady. In 2007, after many years as an avid wine buff, he wanted to learn from the experts and took an intensive three-day course at WSET (Wine Spirits Education Trust) in New York.<br /> <br /> “Why is Burgundy so famous?” he asks before launching into his explanation: “Turns out, France sits on one giant sheet of limestone, and the minerals in the earth there define the character of French wine.<br /> <br /> Another explanation is that just about all the red grapes grown there are pinot noir and the whites are chardonnay, and these are two of the most popular varietals in the world.”<br /> <br /> Both Labro and Brady attribute their love of wine to spending key developmental years in France. Labro grew up in Rodez, near the Languedoc- Roussillon wine region (which boasts three times the combined area of vineyards in Bordeaux) and began learning about pairing food and wine from a tender age.“I got to live the pairings and learn how the right wine can enhance a dish and bring different flavors to the palate.”<br /> <br /> Labro still loves cooking and recently invited Brady over for an Italian dinner that paired Malbec with gnocchi; another recent pairing was Sauternes enhanced by foie gras. Labro’s eclectic tastes currently favor wines from Argentina, Chile, Italy (Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino), South Africa and Australia, plus domestic wines from Napa and Santa Barbara.<br /> <br /> Brady moved with his family to France in his late teens. Like a lot of 18-year-olds, he did a lot of partying and beer drinking, but his family dinners—which always included wine—made the most lasting impression. “I don’t remember the specific wine that drew me into the magical taste combination experience,” he says, “but there was a moment where I realized just how unique each element of the food and wine played off each other. It was the same as when I realized why people love coffee and donuts together when I was a kid. My mom was Italian so my family loved reds, especially wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhone Valley.”<br /> <br /> In his twenties, Brady visited California with a friend whose dad lived near Santa Barbara—an experience which broadened his palate beyond “French wine snob.” He began reading books about wine, and made an effort to find perfect pairings “It’s all about food for me,” he says. “If I’m eating a steak or lamb chops, I like a well balanced Cab or Merlot from Napa or a good Zin from Paso Robles. I’m a seasonal guy, so in winter I lean towards full-bodied reds, especially Bordeaux or California Syrahs. One of my favorites is from Edmunds St. John on the central coast. In summer, nothing beats Riesling, Chardonnay, Rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc.”<br /> <br /> Brady’s monthly blog on the WAJ site augments his regular blog (paulbradymusic.wordpress.com) which is devoted to “Music, Wine and The Finer Things.” Those finer things occasionally involve going on unique wine discovery missions with Labro when on tour with Hot Club of Detroit. When they were inL. A. for a meeting at their label, Mack Avenue, they drove up the coast to Santa Barbara and did numerous wine tastings.<br /> <br /> Labro says, “Whatever city we’re in, we always look for the hippest restaurant, the one pouring less commercial, small production wines. It’s kind of like the way we play music: we improvise off the cuff and, most of the time, we’re successful at finding amazing quality stuff.”<br /> <br /> Brady, who recently finished his masters degree in music history at Rutgers, uses the “finer things” tag when discussing the unique relationship between wine and jazz. “Pleasurable things include reading a great novel, seeing great architecture, appreciating classical music and fine visual art,” he says. “But it’s uncanny just how many people I meet in the jazz world, from fans to musicians, who love to talk about wine, and how many people I meet in the wine realm who love to talk about jazz.Some things are just meant to be.”<br /> <br /> Labro adds, “Any true bon vivant is going to love it all—food, wine, spirits, cigars, jazz, classical music, painting, literature—all are marks of great lifestyle choices. Like jazz, as you learn more about wine, it also becomes endlessly challenging.<br /> <br /> The study of it is limitless and intriguing. There’s always this sense of excitement and exploration. The two are equally engaging … and often at the same time!”

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