Wine Tasting – Without the Attitude |

Wine Tasting – Without the Attitude

KEYSTONE – If you like wine but don’t want to spend $80 and four hours (not including the time it takes to get spiffed up) at a wine-tasting dinner, Keystone offers sophisticated tastes in a casual, outdoor setting.

For $20 per person per day, or $35 for two people, the fifth annual Wine, Jazz and Art Festival presents 300 wines from around the world, along with two culinary and two wine seminars.

“It’s a huge educational experience without the attitude,” special events manager Elizabeth Tobias said. “It’s a sophisticated event in a mountain atmosphere.”

Along with award-winning wines and seminars presented by culinary experts, this year’s festival features Stanley Jordan and David Lindley, as well as other nationally-known jazz musicians. More than 15 fine artists from throughout the nation present their works for a juried art show Saturday and Sunday, and a silent auction will benefit Ocean Journey. A kids’ craft area features mural painting, crafts and routines by the Co-Motion dancers in the Silvermill Court. Food samples from various restaurants at Keystone Resort will be priced a-la-carte from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Today: Stanley Jordan and David Lindley

Grammy-nominated Stanley Jordan and multi-instrumentalist David Lindley kick off the festival with their performance at 7:30 tonight at the Park Lane Pavilion.

Guitar virtuoso Jordan, known as one of the previous century’s jazz guitar greats, has significantly contributed to guitar playing both technically and musically. He uses a technique called “touch” or “tapping,” pounding strings down on the fret instead of strumming or plucking, which allows him to play the fingerboard with both hands, similar to a pianist playing a keyboard. Jordan handles bass, melody and rhythm – concurrently – occasionally interspersing his clear guitar sound with power strumming or fingerpicking.

Jordan began studying classical piano but switched to guitar at age 11, when his family fell on hard times and had to sell the piano. Inspired by pianistic concepts and techniques, he began developing his “touch” style.

After earning a degree in music theory and composition from Princeton University, he chose to make a living as a street musician in New York, Philadelphia and various Midwestern and Southern towns. Word spread, and he eventually signed with Blue Note Records and released “Magic Touch,” which remained No. 1 on Billboard’s jazz chart for 51 weeks, went gold and earned two Grammy nominations.

His ability to mix baroque and blues in the same phrase, or lay down a jazzy walking bassline plus chords with one hand on one guitar while simultaneously playing a rock lead with distortion and feedback on another guitar with the other hand left record labels competing to nail down his sound. Such expectations, and his own perfectionism, led him to take a break from touring and producing albums to pursue spiritual interests.

“I realized that a part of my calling in life was to enhance the healing process through my music, for others as well as for myself. This also coincided with a strongly-felt need to get out of the rat race and focus on my spiritual growth,” Jordan said.

He began studying music therapy, marrying his music with healing.

“I think probably most people, if and when they find their calling, come to see themselves in some sort of service capacity,” he said. “Right now, I feel a strong desire to bring my music back to the people – not just for entertainment, but also for inspiration and healing. … For the first time, I can truly say there is absolutely nothing stopping me from putting together the music just as I hear it and feel it inside.”

Lindley, known for his many years as the featured accompanist with Jackson Browne and leader of his own band El-Rayo-, joins Jordan. His electro-acoustic performance effortlessly combines American folk, blues and bluegrass with African, Arabic, Asian and Celtic rhythms.

Culinary and wine seminars

Saturday’s culinary seminars begin at 10:30 a.m. with Chef Jackson Lamb recreating fabulous flambe dishes such as steak Diane, bananas Foster and Cafe Diab. Meanwhile, Chefs Robert Meitzer and Craig Winter fashion ice carvings.

At noon, test your senses with “The Aroma Experience,” hosted by National Distributing Co. Wine Educator Michael Ditch. While the mouth can discern five basic tastes, the nose can differentiate more than 1,000 scents. The seminar focuses on different identifiable aromas in wines.

At 2:30 p.m., Chef Jeff Kennedy makes a port wine reduction sauce paired with sauteed duck and pork lion. The last seminar of the day begins at 4 p.m. It is designed to introduce the basic flavor components – tannin, acid, sugar and oak – that influence the style and quality of wine.

Sunday’s seminars begin at 10:30 a.m. with creative wine and food pairing with Ralph Dobson and Kennedy. At 2:30 p.m., Chef Peggy Alter matches three chocolates and three wines.

At noon, Forrest Tancer guides wine-tasters through the history and techniques of the sparkling wines of Iron Horse. At 4 p.m., Andrew Raifaisen presents guests with an in-depth look at the wines from Sonoma Cutrer.

Seminars are open to 80 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants may sign up at the River Run Cafe on the day of the seminar.

Julian Lage

Fourteen-year-old Julian Lage started experimenting with the electric guitar at age 5, and since then his creativity has taken him on a ride of a lifetime.

His guitar teacher invited him to play with other musicians publicly at age 6, and that began a chain reaction, which led to a Public Broadcasting System documentary in 1997, a feature on the CBS “Early Show,” a performance at the 2000 Grammy Awards and performances with such artists as Carlos Santana, Pat Metheny and Kenny Werner.

“We never really looked for anything,” Lage said. “It seemed very natural. As long as I took care of the music, it appeared for me. One thing led to another. When you don’t go looking for it, it’s amazing the people you meet. It never happens when you expect it, but it does happen if you’re not looking for it.”

Lage’s personal and musical maturity has progressed well beyond his chronological age.

“It’s never been like its own entity that I chose or didn’t choose,” he said. “It’s always been something that seems to have chosen me. It feels very much a part of me. It’s kind of like, “This is what I do. This is who I am.’ With music, I’ve never wanted to be the novelty factor. For me, I’ve always tried to go in the other direction. I’ve always tried to relate my music to my personality. I try to connect my music and personality – if I grow musically, I grow personally, and if I grow personally, I grow musically.”

Because Lage started playing blues, he easily blurs musical genres.

“It’s interesting because it’s based in a jazz format, but at the same time it has a great energy,” he said. “We’ll go from up-tempo jazz to tango to a soundtrack-sounding, spacious tune. It can go in so many directions, and we’re so open to that.”

Lage formed his three-piece band with pianist Art Hirahara (age 30), bassist David Ewell (26) and drummer Darrell Green (23) this year.

“I identify myself with my group now,” he said. “I spent a lot of time developing (my music), now I can hear it coming out in the group. The next step is getting closer to my musical personality, and it’s getting stronger and stronger. (I ask myself) “I wonder if I can sound more like myself.'”

“We have everything we need, we just have to find it,” he said. “If you put your inspiration that you have into the music, it comes back. It’s like a loop.”

The rest of the musical lineup

Nelson Rangell, known for his versatility with woodwind instruments, performs with his quartet at 4 p.m.

“The audience identifies with (us) because they can feel something that is common,” Rangell said. “Music is a certain type of language. My music is put forward in a way I hope is positive and affirming.”

Dotsero remains true to its name, bringing “something unique,” to the festival, at 3:30 p.m.

“We try to involve the audience as much as possible where they feel a part of the show – that they’re not just there to get bathed in sound, but to participate as well. Our goal is for our shows to be a total sensory experience,” sax player Stephen Watts said.

Rounding out the entertainment, the Dave Laub Quartet, featuring Jennifer Kirby, performs at noon Saturday, and the Harry Baxter Band plays at noon Sunday.

For more information on the festival, call (970) 496-4FUN.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

Event: Wine, Jazz and Art Festival

When: Aug. 23-25

Where: River Run, Keystone

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