Thursday, December 14, 2017

Beef and Beer (and Wild Irish Rose) ... and Jazz.

In January 2008, I was in a restaurant/wine & beer bar in Greenville, South Carolina, flogging the beers of the brewery that was employing me.

A vintage record shop shared an entrance with the restaurant. These days, I avoid such places; they do great damage to my wallet. But, that day, I was there, so, finished with the sales call, I walked in. Fortunate for my wallet, my working schedule was filled for the day, so my browsing was limited. I purchased only one CD.

The Main Ingredient

That compact disc was The Main Ingredient, a jazz album that Washington, D.C.'s own Shirley Horn —the late great vocalist and pianist— recorded in 1996.

It features Shirley Horn's then personal trio: Steve Williams on drums, Charles Ables on bass, and Ms. Horn on piano and singing. And then there's the rest of her lineup: a young Roy Hargrove on trumpet; Washington D.C. stalwarts, bassist Steve Novosel and tenor saxman Buck Hill; and stars of the jazz firmament, drummers Elvin Jones and Billy Hart, and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson.

The sessions were recorded in Ms. Horn's D.C. home, but the quality doesn't betray that. Not only is the music exquisite — Shirley Horn was one of the great chanteuse/pianists of the latter portion of the 20th century — but printed on the back page of the liner notes is an astounding recipe for ... Beef & Beer (and something else).

Beef and Beer (and Wild Irish Rose)

Look at the ingredient list. Scroll down to the final two ingredients: a bottle of beer — Heineken — and a lot of wine — Wild Irish Rose.

In case you've forgotten your days of searching for a quick, cheap buzz, the latter is a sweet fortified 'wine' of a mere 18% alcohol. The recipe calls for a full half pint of it! It suggests you "open a beer or drink & chill"; and, maybe to regain a healthy veneer, the recipe concludes with an underscored admonition: "Remember no salt."

Although the recipe looks like winter comfort food, I've never cooked it (and probably won't *). But, since that day in Greenville, I have replayed the disc many times.

Ms. Horn died in 2005. I am fortunate to have heard and seen her perform live on several occasions. Her music —quiet and sensitive yet insinuatingly powerful— is the main ingredient. It lives on.

  • The Main Ingredient was released only on compact disc. It is currently out-of-print (and was even so in 2008) but can be purchased via third-party re-sellers.
  • More of YFGF's jazz musings: here. At YFGF's Flickr page: here.

  • * Thursdays are #VeggieDag at YFGF (whether here, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter): occasional posts on an animal-free diet and ecological issues. None such today (beef!), but beer is present.
  • Beef and Beer (and Wild Irish Rose) recipe: here.
  • This post was originally subsumed in a piece about a failed Super Bowl party. Read that: here.

  • For more from YFGF:

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