It started with a Chateauneuf du Pape, Clos De L’Oratoire Des Papes 2006 to be exact, that was paired with… “My Funny Valentine.”
How did this happen? How did your very own Santa Clarita wine writer end up jotting down notes onto her iPhone about something other than wine? Why so unprepared? It wasn’t a big, or even a little, wine event, wine pairing dinner or charity auction. It was my wine bar hangout, Valencia Wine Company for those of you just tuning in.
But tonight I discovered not only two great new wines but also a talent. One I was pleased to finally discover.
Okay, I give. It was Ann Drexler (like the column header tells you!) that got my attention. I had met Ann at different times over the last few years, always over wine for me, Champagne for her. It wasn’t until I joined Facebook that I learned that she was also a singer. And it wasn’t until I started keeping track of singers at wine bars, and plugging in her events around town onto my SCV Wine Calendar, that this blond slowly got the bigger picture of Ann.
So on this night Ann is sipping hot tea while warmly greeting each of her guests, including myself, and readying herself for the “jazz club” atmosphere the wine bar had been transformed to. This amazing transformation wasn’t by any new décor. The new décor – was Ann.
I’m not a musical reviewer. I drink wine. But… I was lullaby-ed as a child with all things Billie Holiday. It was a well-worn album, and only one, that my mother played repeatedly to get her overactive kid off to sleep.
So I felt lucky to hear anything like this again…
With the not-so standards Ann didn’t belt out; but instead let drip off her tongue, meltingly, lovingly, like a well-worn flannel, she kept her eyes closed while she sang, and I wanted to as well. But this time not in sleep…just bliss.
So, it began with “All of me”, a song I could only hope Ann didn’t hear me sing along with her to, and paired excellently with our Lancaster Estate 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon’s amazing nose of Blue/Brie cheese. A choice made by jazz fans Erin and Tim Dixon sharing our table.
While for reasons unknown “I put a Spell On You” paired well with our before mentioned, and similarly delicate, Chateauneuf du Pape.
Ann’s rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” felt like Beatles on really good Champagne – Ann’s Champagne.
And “Look of Love”, felt like Burt Bacharach done right.
The difference in Ann’s “Free”, was her arrangement per wine guest Jennifer Haberer.
“Fever!” was a long pitch to an amazing crescendo.
We lasted one beautiful set. The young friends we had planned to meet couldn’t wait for another. We had duties to tend to. And reluctantly left Ann, and all that jazz, behind. But I noticed Ann had by then switching to her trademarked Champagne. I wished for more myself.
“Santa Clarita isn’t a big enough jazz area to support her talent,” began Scene24productions Company Manager Kathy Gonzales, “And Ann’s done the Cotton Club, clubs from Pasadena to W.L.A., an album entitled ‘My Heart’… This is a big jazz area and jazz in the SCV is only lacking what Ann can bring us.”
Ann’s band members included: Keyboards – Gary Fukushima (Gary has his own CD called “As Always”), Bass Player – Adrian Turner, and Drummer – Darrell Morgan, (Darrell’s CD is called “The Arrival MTG360”). Darrell and Adrian are now in the studio working on a CD.
So in “bringing Ann’s voice out” as Kathy says…do we really want it to leave the SCV to do that? Go here to stop that: