music to my taste buds

I always like to have a nice variety of music playing whenever I have company over – I employ the rule of “knowing your audience,” and my collection is eclectic enough that I can satisfy any guests’ musical taste.  But until recently I seldom ever played music during dinner, when it’s just my family.  I never gave much thought as to why, but I think it had to do with convenience.  For my b-day in December I was gifted a kick-ass iPod docking speaker system, so now instead of rummaging through CDs and turning on multiple stereo components, I can click a few buttons and my 8600+ songs are available.  This has allowed/motivated me to play music at dinner all the time now, and for no reason other than selfish interest I thought I’d blog about what dinner music works and what doesn’t.

In general, instrumental music seems to work best.  That way you can still have a conversation during the meal.  Loud rock songs are fine for raucous restaurants, but blaring “Free Bird” while eating at the kitchen table just seems a little too obnoxious.  My first thought in selecting dinner music is “What kind of food is for dinner?”  If we’re having Mexican, or any Latin American food for that matter, I gravitate toward flamenco music like Paco de Lucia, Rodrigo y Gabriela or Strunz and Farah.  I also like to put on Cuban music like the Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack.

For Italian or most European-inspired food, I like to play classical music…it just seems to fit.  Jazz can pretty much fit with any meal as well, although I think it works best with comfort foods; I also like it with Greek cuisine for some reason.

For BBQ, some nice Allman Brothers jams are great.  If you’re going the Cajun route, the best band to ever come out of New Orleans, Galactic, is the musical way to go.  They’re a mostly instrumental, jazz-rock-funk-fusion band that kicks out the jams live.

The roadblock I run into is what to listen to when we’re having Asian cuisine, which is usually at least once a week.  I don’t have any “Asian music,” like traditional Chinese or Japanese music.  I suppose I could listen to the band “Asia” or the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese,” but that’s just silly.  Any suggestions?

So what do you like to listen to when munching on delectable comestibles?  Let me know!  (And if you’re interested in more food-related topics, check out my food blog here.)

7 Responses to “music to my taste buds”

  1. February 22, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    As a jazz musician I have to endorse our music with any meal! I know that when I go to a restaurant and jazz is playing it puts me in a relaxed, often happy, frame of mind. Classical is good too 🙂


    • 2 ericstraus
      February 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

      Thanks Keith! I tried your link but it doesn’t appear to be working – I’d love to hear your band! Where do you guys play?

  2. February 23, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    Hi Eric,

    I had a typo — it should be http://www.keithosaunders.com

    We are in New York City and will be doing some gigs in town this May.

  3. 5 keitho
    February 23, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    Thank you, Eric. I will — I have gigged up in Albany before and hope to again someday. Where are the best spots to play these days? I actually have a placei n Ulster county so Albany isn’t that far a trip from there.

    • 6 ericstraus
      February 23, 2010 at 11:55 PM

      I’m not sure what size venues you’re used to playing…we have a few larger ones (400+ seats), but I’m not familiar with smaller places…there are a lot of bars that have live music, but I’m not sure which ones like to book jazz bands…I would contact the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau – http://www.albany.org – I know people there and they’re very helpful. Good luck, and keep us posted!

  4. 7 jacobull
    February 24, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Justin’s on Lark Street is pretty much the only jazz place I know of at this time; most big name Jazz gigs go through The Egg. If I were a jazz musician and was looking to gig in Upstate NY I would make it a point to gig in Saratoga in the summer, the population explodes and so does the pay for a gig I’m sure. Great exposure too!

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