Someone's in the Kitchen With Genius
I could go on and on about the similarities between Jazz and food, and I will if I have to; I'm not what you'd call a proud man. But I think you get the point by now and if you don't, go get a cheeseburger, put on some Bobo Stenson and you'll be right up to speed.
Having already compared the individual components of Jazz to those of a burrito (see my previous article, How to Listen to Jazz, or wait for the film version in theaters this summer, starring Sofia Vergara as Salsa), I won't submit you to another rehashing of a theme just for the sake of keeping my hand in the game. Nor will I clog up the Interwebs with yet another reposting of Miles Davis's chili recipe or Dean Martin's recipe for burgers. Instead, I thought it might be fun to associate some of my favorite Jazz artists with the influence they have on my cooking. For example, Louis Armstrong may invite a "special recipe brownies" reference for those in the know, but Pops always puts me more in the mind of red beans and rice, that staple of his hometown. And "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" makes me want some barbecue, which is a whole 'nother article entirely.
John Coltrane: Trane puts me in the mind of something smooth and rich, yet well-spiced and constantly surprising. Indian food does the trick. A nice mild Korma for his more accessible and melodic works (Blue Train), a complex Jalfrezi for his more challenging works (A Love Supreme).
Miles Davis: The Prince of Darkness makes me want something dark, obviously, but complex. A Mexican mole poblano sauce served over a grilled turkey breast does the trick. Pairs well with Sketches of Spain and a pint or twelve of Negra Modelo.
Cecil Taylor: A combination of things that shouldn't work together, but somehow does. Think chicken and waffles, or bacon milkshakes (which I personally don't care for, but I didn't like Cell Walk for Celeste either). Put on Unit Structures, pour on the maple syrup and hot sauce, and dig.
Donny McCaslin: Something new(er) and fresh. Roasted brussel sprouts with pancetta and shallots. Goes with my favorite, The Way Through.
Duke Ellington: Something classic that has stood the test of time, yet always new and and surprising. Something that seems easier than it turns out to be, but worth the effort. I go with Beef Wellington, and not just because it rhymes and sets me up for a ridiculously easy Duke of Wellington joke that doesn't seem so easy now that I've forgotten what it was. Anything by the Duke works (Ellington, not the other one), but I like Ellington at Newport 1956.
These are just a few ideas, and are wholly subjective. If listening to Marcus Miller puts you in the mood for seared ahi tuna served on a bed of Fruity Pebbles, then have at it. If Jacqui Sutton gives you a taste for Texas-style brisket on New York rye, then you, sir or ma'am, are a friend of mine. And if listening to Boney James makes you want to go to Subway for their $5 footlong sub of the month, then this entire article has been wasted on you.
Till next time, kids, exit to your right and enjoy the rest of AAJ.