Tribute to NOLA
When we talk about the true culture of New Orleans, my beloved city, we talk about the braid that is music, food, and drink. Big picture, none exists here without the others. And I grant you: cocktails are a way of life, an art, a deep and important cornerstone of Nola life. BUT, I happen to think that the right wine can pair even better with certain rich sounds that make this city go.
Here’s to making Jazz Fest a month-long national holiday.
Thanks for coming,
Ash (a longtime transplant)
Category: Bounce to Hip-hop to Funk to brass bands to jazz to
Bounce: Dopff & Irion Crustaces 2019
Bounce is like a cultural culmination of New Orleans; it’s queer, black, disruptive, birthed from tradition, and fun as hell. Bounce music is supposed to put you in your body; the call-and-response style takes a page from the Mardi Gras Indian during second lines throughout the city. The heavy sampling of beats and hooks make songs familiar even if you’ve never heard them before, but the defining feature of any bounce song is the ‘trigger man’ beat, a one-bar drum loop derived from Drag Rap by The Showboys. Each drum loop asks partygoers (that’s you) to respond to the animated MC by way of words or twerking. Crustaces is the perfect pairing for bounce and a bowl of seafood gumbo. It’s bright and light, cooling you on a humid day, and the nose gives you the soft notes of magnolia. We like to call wines like these porch pounders; they keep you coming back but don’t distract you from your most important stuff shaking ass while balancing your go cup.
- 3rd Ward Bounce by Big Freedia
- You’re The One by Magnolia Shorty
- Getcha Sum by HaSizzle and Anjelika Jelly Joseph
- Nice for What by Drake feat Messy Mya and Big Freedia
- Before I Let Go by Beyoncé
Cash Money Records: Umathum Rosa Rose
This category would generally be known as hip-hop, but in Nola, we know it ain’t a party until Cash Money hits the speakers. Takin over for the ‘99 to 2000s, we have a hip-hop collective that changed the sound of hip-hop forever and made Nola natives household names. Umathum matches the range of Mannie Freshes production at the height of their chart-topping. The soft tannins from sitting with the grape skins give this rosé a rich color and textural depth. It doesn’t just disappear on the tongue. It stays and lingers for a while, similar to the catchy hooks of Back that Azz up. The forwardness of the fruit is a great relief in contrast to the acidity and holds its own against a Weezie verse. Raspberry and cherry fruit make what would be a serious wine fun and juicy. We round out this wine with an honorable mention of Young Money because, without Birdman and Weezie, there is no Nicki Minaj and Drake.
- Back That Azz Up by Juvenile
- Get Your Roll On by Big Tymers Greenlight by Beyonce
- A Millie by Lil Wayne
- Seeing Green by Lil Wayne, NIcki Minaj, and Drake
R&B: Lafage Cote Est Vermentino
Music is the lifeblood of New Orleans, and the talent born here is almost too much to cover, but while we know Nola for its vibrant enthusiasm and twerking, there is a softer side. It can be heard in the way people say Baybee. This soulful longing jumps out of the music and makes you want to dance and sway. It’s easy and rhythmic similar to Lafage. These songs are a vibe and the perfect breath. You don’t need to think about this wine; it’s effortless and tastes good. From Lucky Daye to Frank Ocean to Tank and The Bangas, this wine and song list will ease you into the perfect night of Funk and Jazz.
- Roll Some Mo by Lucky Daye
- Say So by PJ Morton
- U. by Dawn Richard and Coco & Breezy
- Novacane by Frank Ocean
- Be Your Girl by Teedra Moss and KAYTRANDA
- Big by Tank and The Bangas feat. Big Freedia
Funk: Domaine La Piffaudiere Olivier Bellanger Pet Nat
All music has a purpose, but there is something special about Funk because it was born out of resistance and New Orleans. Black artists looking for an outlet created this complex genre that blended jazz, soul, and R&B, a complex percussion-focused hypnotic sound. This sound was unique as it was much slower than popular music of the time. Today we identify funk with artists like James Brown and Earth Wind and Fire, but real ones know ain’t no funk without The Meters and Dr. John. La Piffaudiere, like funk, blends tradition with innovation to create something new. The bubbles fill your mouth, but you get this creaminess rather than acid. Like the chords of the bass, the flavor vibrates past just your initial senses. You then get a few floral notes of Iris and finish with light notes of citrus that remind you of New Orleans in satsuma season.
- Just Kissed My Baby by The Meters
- Right Place Wrong Time Dr. John
- Why Try by Tank and The Bangas
- Can’t. Hide Love by Earth, Wind, and Fire
- One Nation Under Groove by Funkadelic
Brass bands: Clos des Fous Pour Ma Gueule-red
(drink with slight chill)
My headcanon is that Brass Bands are the inspiration behind Marching Bands. I have no definitive proof, but I am sticking with it. New Orleans Brass brands have been here almost as long as the city. The long tradition of honoring the dead with music during funeral processions was how they got their start, but as with everything in Nola, African influences gave a reimagined take that sets the Brass Bands here in a category of their own. It is also one musical style native to the city that has had minor changes. In the 1960s, culture bearers began actively recruiting and training young people so that the tradition could live on, and it has. Whether you are celebrating a passed loved one or nuptials, Brass Bands provide the background music to Joy in Nola. Now the humidity and heat of Nola can make a red wine sounds unappetizing, but Chileans are no stranger to heat and with a Clos des Fous Pour Ma Gueule (translation: for my mouth), they master the art of a light red. Brass is powerful, so you need something that can hold its own and then some. The nose (smell) of this wine is loud and, in the best way, think cooked blackberries, violets, and a touch of fennel, but when you sip, the taste is straight to the point. This is a perfect red for Nola weather because our Nose informs so much of what we taste. This gives full flavor without full body and weighty tannins (bitter or dry feeling in your mouth).
- Casanova by Rebirth Brass Band
- Bustin Loose by Rebirth Brass Band
- What’s My Name by Hot 8 Brass Band
- Love Will Tear Us Apart by Hot 8 Brass Band
Jass: Fiorini Becco Rosso- Lambrusco
Before it was known as Jazz, Jass was previously known as New Orleans rag-time music. So I should preface this category by stating that many Jazz musicians do not like the term Jazz. The term was initially used to discredit Black musicianship because it didn’t follow classical rules. However, we have yet to find a word that adequately encapsulates the impact of Black musicianship within this category. Jazz is deeply personal, and it transforms from artist to artist, but there are a few things that always remain consistent Jazz is intuitive. Only talented musicians who have rigorously studied their predecessors can effortlessly improvise to create what feels like a movie score. New Orleans is a special place because musicianship is built into the culture, so finding good music isn’t hard. The jazz of new Orleans bleeds the borders between brass band and funk, so I chose to pair it with a sparkling red. Ladies, allow me to introduce you to Lambrusco. Lambrusco has a long history and has transformed many times to be still here with us today, not unlike its category pairing, Jazz. We love a good story of sustaining the test of time. Lambrusco‘s can range in style; this one is med sweet and light-bodied. Sparkling reds are a great end-of-the-night treat as even with a touch of sweetness, the tannins of the wine create structure so that it is balanced.
- Hurricane by Trombone Shorty
- Ruler Rebel Remix by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
- Summertime by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
- Buddy Bolden’s Blues by Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, and Jimmie Noone*
- Buddy Bolden is known as the father of New Orleans rag-time or Jass. There are no quality recordings of him playing his music, but I wanted to pay tribute still.
- Doesn’t Really Matter by Janet Jackson