Yours truly, Douglas Harrington, introduces the band and welcomes guests. (Joe Strand)
- As Winterfest closed out its fourth successful week, Hamptons.com was in Cutchogue as this week's presenting sponsor of one of the Jazz On The Vine concerts. As a major media sponsor of Winterfest, we had the honor of presenting the Afro-Latin jazz band Afronaughtica
to a packed house at the beautiful Bedell Vineyards.
Now it its fifth year and growing exponentially in popularity, Winterfest draws tens of thousands of visitors to the vineyards, businesses and cultural attractions on the North Fork in the off-season. An off-season that this year was particularly blessed by Mother Nature, making the 2012 festival the most successful yet, with two weeks left to go.
Bedell is one of dozens of wineries that host over 60 jazz acts during the six week run of the festival's Jazz On The Vine series, with many of the artists having garnered Grammy nominations for their work in what is considered America's only indigenous art form - jazz!
America may have created jazz, but it is a musical genre that is truly worldwide. The international flavor and popularity of jazz could not be more evident than in the makeup of the band Afronaughtica, which is comprised of players from Japan, France and the United States. The core of the band is Mari Koga
on vocals and Chiemi Nakai
on piano, both long time friends from Osaka, Japan. The ladies were backed by Tetsuya Sato
on five string bass, also from Japan, Parisian Manu Bizeau
on congas and Bronx born Oreste Abrantes
Guests at Bedell Vineyards enjoy the wine, music and a lovely afternoon. (Eileen Casey)
This is an Afro-Latin jazz band, you ask? Yes indeed and they did not disappoint the crowd at Bedell, with every table full on what turned from a gray bleak day to a sun dappled vineyard vista the moment the music began. Koga was a particular joy fronting the band, as she explained she learned how to sing jazz in English before she actually could speak English, phonetically writing out the English lyrics in Japanese in order to learn the words
. She also treated us to a jazz standard in her native tongue, a first for most of us, and further amazed with a Salsa classic she sung in Spanish. No, this is not your mother's average Afro-Latin jazz band.
On hand for Hamptons.com was Executive Publisher Nicole B. Brewer
with her husband Cutchogue Police Officer Bill Brewer
, Editor-in-Chief Eileen Casey
, photographer Joe Strand
and yours truly, Director of Business Development and Senior Contributing Writer, Douglas Harrington
. We came bearing gifts for the 100 plus attendees, passing out Hamptons.com hats, water bottles, key chains and beach bags.
Members of Afronaughtica: Tetsuya Sato, Chiemi Nakai, Mari Koga, Manu Bizeau, and Oreste Abrantes wear their Hamptons.com hats and big smiles. (Joe Strand)
Wine Council President Steve Bate
also stopped by as part of his daily tour of the vineyards hosting the Jazz On The Vine performances. Kudos must also be given to the entire staff of Bedell including Senior V.P for Marketing Molly Deegan
and our liaisons Michael Fitzpatrick
and my long time friend Trish Biondo
Bedell is one of the sparkling jewels that makeup the stunning necklace of vineyards that is the Long Island Wine Region. A wine trail of vineyards that should be chartered throughout the year for the exceptional small batch varietals it produces, the hospitality and ambience of the vintner properties it boasts and the live jazz, particularly during Winterfest, it supports. As local as it gets, American vintners supporting America's music, so support them!
For more information on Winterfest click below.
Band members of Afronaughtica band with Hamptons.com Executive Publisher Nicole B. Brewer (second from left), Douglas Harrington (white slacks) and Editor-In-Chief Eileen Casey (far right). (Joe Strand)
For more information, click here.
Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com