Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicago: Goose Island Brewing Company

During a recent trip to Chicago, I had the opportunity to tour the Goose Island Brewery. Who doesn't like to see how beer is made? Oatmeal Stout. Mmmmmm, one of my favorites.

To be honest, I wasn't very familiar with the beer company. Truth be told, I generally stick to either Import beer, or local breweries. But it's always nice to try something new for a change.

The tour was a bit smaller than I was accustomed to. A lot of us were crammed into a small space. But if you can get past that, it's an interesting tour set inside the actual pub where the beer is then sold.

During the tour we were able to enjoy whatever beer we already purchased up in the bar, while waiting for the tour to begin. Our tour guide enjoyed one as well as he described some of the uses of the various equipment.

After the tour was complete, came the taste testing. A selection of 6 different beers for available to sample, via taste, smell and looks. Also provided was a pint glass.

As we did our sampling, the tour guide was available to inform us of what each beer was, and what some of the additional ingredients were, outside the typical four; water, grains, hops and yeast.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CD Review: Jessy J - "Hot Sauce"

I typically listen to two types of jazz. One type I like to listen in the early morning with a cuppa. The other type is usually listened to late at night, when I'll be enjoying a nightcap. Usually, there is a slight distinction between the two. It's hard to describe, it's just a feeling I get when I listen to the music. But then I listened to Jessy J and her most recent album, 'Hot Sauce', where I have the hardest time trying to figure out when I enjoy her music most. This album is so versatile and full of surprises, it's one of the few CD's I can actually listen to at any time in the day.

Starting the CD is the dreamy 'Remember Last Night' tract. It's a great song to listen to in the early morning as one goes over the events of the past evening. Jessy J is fantastic on the sax and already a surprise in store for everyone. Featured on this piece is Paul Brown on the Guitar, what a great appearance.

By the time the title track shows up, 'Hot Sauce', I realize this is not simply music to wake up to. The song is just as the title suggest, HOT! One immediately wants to get up and dance. Perfect for a fun filled evening with the missis.

Rainbow Gold is another song preferable to listen to in the evening. It's got enough funk and jazz to keep one motivated in whatever task one may be working on, and yet still not too distracting if one simply wants to rest after the stressful day and simply unwind. The hidden gold available here is the inclusion of Joe Sample and Harvey Mason.

Switching gears once more, 'We Kissed', is another great song to listen to as the day is starting off. Perhaps the kiss this song refers to is what we are remembering from last night. In addition to playing sax, Jessy J sings, helping us remember exactly what the kiss from last night was about. "We kissed, in the moonlight. We danced, and we held each other tight. We smiled, for everyone to see; while we sang, our simply melody. We kissed."

Closing out the CD are a few more surprises. 'In A Sentimental Mood' features Saunders Sermons on vocals and 'Last Night' including both Joe Sample (on Piano, Organ and Keyboard) and Ray Parker Jr. on Guitar and background vocals. 'Last Night' is truly a fun song geared for any time of the day. Jessy J assists Ray Parker Jr. on vocals and leaves you wanting more, which is sort of ironic considering it has a built-in encore.

Truly, this is one of the best CD's I've purchased in quite a while. My final surprise of this review is you haven't run out and purchased yet. What are you waiting for? 'Hot Sauce' will make any Jazz collection complete.

1 Remember the Night
2 Rio Grande
3 Hot Sauce
4 Rainbow Gold
5 'Till You Make Up Your Mind
6 Meant to Be
7 We Kissed
8 Leave Right Now
9 In Sentimental Mood
10 Last Night

Other CD Notes: Performances on the CD feature Jessy J on Tenor Sax and vocals. Helping out in one or more songs are: Marco Basci (Keys/Stings, Bass, Drum Programming), Paul Brown (Guitar, Drums), Jeff Caruthers (Keys, Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming), Deyon Dobson (Keys, Drum Programming), Josh Guinta (Drums), Gregg Karukas (Keys, Strings), Janis Liebhart (Background Vocals), Harvey Mason (Drums), Jon Notar (Piano), Ray Parker Jr. (Guitars, Vocals), Michael Ripoll (Guitars, Bass) Joe Sample (Piano), Nick Sample (Bass), Jordan Scannella (Electric Bass), Toni Scruggs (Background Vocals), Saunders Sermons (Vocals), Roberto Vally (Bass), Lawrence Young (Keys)

Recorded: Funky Joint Recording Studios; Sherman Oaks, CA

Where you can find Jessy J:
Official Website