The Wine Cyclist

Archive for September, 2009

A Night of Jazz in Seattle

by on Sep.19, 2009, under Music

I must say, it was an excellent evening and a perfect way to wrap up my stay here in Seattle. Tonight I moseyed with some friends over to Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley for a delicious dinner and a jazz-filled evening. On the stage tonight was the McCoy Tyner Trio.

I had a hard time finding a video of just the trio by itself, but this video of the McCoy Tyner Trio appearing with Bill Frisell on guitar and Gary Bartz on alto saxophone is pretty good. At about the 2:50 mark you get almost two minutes of only the trio, so you can get a nice feel as to how well McCoy Tyner plays with Gerald Cannon on bass and Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums without anything else going on (not that I mean to dismiss the excellent performances of Bill Frisell and Gary Bartz in this piece).

McCoy Tyner is an incredible jazz pianist with an amazing career spanning over fifty years. He performed for several years around his home town of Philadelphia until John Coltrane broke away from Miles Davis’ group to form his own quartet in 1960, asking Tyner to join the new group. Since his time with the Coltrane quartet, Tyner has blazed an impressive career of performing with many of the top names in jazz, and his own name has duly earned its place at the top of the list as well.

The trio was in fine form tonight. So impressed were we that we stuck around for the second performance. It was well worth it. The dinner was excellent. The atmosphere was just right. The music was outstanding. There were incredible solos all around including stretches of lighting-fast percussion from drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt and funky rhythms from bassist Gerald Cannon. Truly amazing solos were interspersed between a mix of classics (Duke Ellington’s “In A Mellow Tone”) and newer works (Tyner’s “Suddenly”) to come together in an awe inspiring show. The only disappointment was that I could hear them whispering about the possibility of playing Mr PC, one of my favorite Coltrane tunes, but sadly, they decided not to. It’s but a minor disappointment, however. Aside from that, I’ve no other complaints.

The evening started off with some lovely appetizers, and the following for dinner (try not to drool on your keyboard):

Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut topped with cilantro pesto and served with Penn Cove Mussels, chorizo, leeks and potatoes in a white wine coriander broth.

It was everything it sounds like it was. A nice bottle of Bishop Creek Cellars pinot noir (Yamhill-Carlton District, OR) rounded out the meal and set the mood for the music to begin. And from that point on I was tapping my toes the rest of the evening.

As I said, I could not have asked for a better way to end my stay in Seattle. Tomorrow I head out, making my way to the Olympic Peninsula so that I can get back to some backpacking and enjoy some more wild terrain. I plan to make my way down the coast of Washington and Oregon over the next few weeks and possibly spend some time in the Willamette Valley as well before heading back into Portland. The updates may be sparse until I make it into Portland, but I’ll keep you all updated when I can.

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Keep On Walkin’

by on Sep.13, 2009, under Miscellany

IMG_0890Yeah, yeah… I’m a lazy bum. I’ve been hanging out in Seattle for a week and I haven’t gotten around to posting something until now. Sometimes I get distracted from such things, you know? A week was spent in the woods. It was fun. Oh, you want more detail than that, I suppose.

August 29th, I caught a ride from friends of mine in Portland out to the town of Cascade Locks, OR. That weekend there was a Pacific Crest Trail festival, with a few dozen thru-hikers and an assortment of other PCT-affiliated people. There was also beer. Tasty beer. By the keg. I met many people that evening, some of whom I even remember meeting (also known as the people I met before the kegs were tapped). The next day, after a ginormous breakfast in Cascade Locks, I crossed the Bridge of the Gods into Washington and began my walk north along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Despite being in good shape from all the cycling, it took me a while to get used to the whole backpacking thing. One uses many different muscles backpacking than you do cycling. The body as a whole also takes much greater impact. My feet, especially, were very sore from the plod-plod-plodding along, and my hips as well, from carrying the load of my pack. I worked many muscles while cycling, but since I was only really responsible for forward momentum and are not actually bearing the weight of the travel load myself, my legs didn’t take quite as much impact damage. Ibuprofen is a much closer friend to me, now.

So the first few days were relatively short (at least compared to the PCT thru-hikers, who have 4-5 months of backpacking under their belts at this point). I put in a couple 18 mile days, and a long, hard 23 mile day (that hurt), before getting used to things and settling nicely into a 20-25 mile per day habit.

The only reason I got off trail when I did was that things got very cold and rainy Labor Day Weekend, and I was camping at altitudes over 5,000 feet. I had rain gear, and some cold weather base layers, but I really wasn’t geared up for the extent of the temperature drop. I figured it was time to head coastward. So near Mt. Rainier, I moseyed my way to a road crossing and hitched my way into Seattle.

Enough talking. Here are some pictures for you…

View from Bunker Hill.

View from Bunker Hill.

(continue reading…)

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