Napa, CA – The Blue Note Jazz Festival returned for its second year in wine country this weekend. Blue Note is not your average music festival but more of an experience that featured a variety of well renowned wine makers, excellent chefs and music for the soul. The Jazz festival has brought some of the biggest names in Jazz, Hip Hop and R&B to the exclusive town of Napa. This year’s festival features music from Jazz great Robert Glasper, R&B Grammy artist Mary J. Blige, Nas, Chance The Rapper and special guest and host Comedian Dave Chappelle.
The food and wine experience is one of the biggest attractions for this festival. The Blue Note has successfully sponsored some of the best African American owned wine developers, chefs and businesses near and far. The highly coveted VIP Lounge included wine tastings from former NBA 3x champion and now co-owner of the Utah Jazz, Dwayne Wade who owns Wade Cellars, Black Girl Magic Wines, Wine Cellars, Phillip Ashely Chocolates from Memphis, Tennessee and many more.
Wade has been in the wine business for nine years and was recently named the the first-ever appointed Director of Culture and Vibes for the Jazz Festival. He’ll become more involved with the festival by being the cultural connector between the festival, artists, and the community. Wade Cellars was established in 2014 when Wade went into partnership with the Pahlmeyer family. His love for wine keeps him excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.
“I came to the festival last year, and the event had such a good vibe—like a family reunion—that I wanted to come back and be a larger part of it,” said Wade. “Wine isn’t so different from sports; they both bring people together.”
“As the festival’s Director of Culture and Vibes, I want to inspire the artists and festival goers to explore the Napa area, to broaden their appreciation for wine as well as their understanding of one another,” he added.
Phillip Ashley, the acclaimed Chocolatier and proprietor of Phillip Ashley Chocolates, presented his exquisite, handcrafted chocolates in the Wine Garden. Celebrating cultural icons, Chef Phillip showcased a special assortment from his latest “Mixtape” Collection, paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. Each delectable piece in this collection that has drawn inspiration from influential artists like Nas, Mary J. Blige, and Chappelle. This is Ashley’s first time being apart of the Jazz Festival and he looks forward to becoming part of it annually.
The event was held at the Silverado Country Club in Napa. Another part of the “Experience” are the Chefs brunch and dinners located in the Backyard which is an intimate gathering space for signature culinary and wine tasting experience. Wade Cellars hosted an event “When We Gather: A BBQ with Wade Cellars & Chef Darryl Bell of Stateline Road Smokehouse. The Soulful Brunch: With Bay Area’s phenomenal Chef Mimi, Chef Sean Streete & Black Girl Magic Wines with special guest Robert Glasper. All of the proceeds from these events will benefit Wine Unify.
Shawndra McCrorey, VIP Culinary Experiences who is a contractor for the event. McCrorey’s focus is the ethos of the festival around the black creative experience process bringing the community together around food, wine, culture, community shared experiences, JOY, love, feeling seen, feeling inspired and bringing that inspiration back into daily lives.
“We highlight incredible African-American chefs, vinters and creatives,” McCrorey said. “Our somms and service team are Wine Unify scholarship recipients, mentees and mentors are from all diverse backgrounds.”
Another delicious beverage featured during the festival is Island Vibe, a cocktail drink that takes you back to the Caribbean. Please check out their website at https://www.drinkislandvibe.com.
Mary J. Blige shows why she is the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” during her performance on the first day of the Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa, at Silverado Resort, on July 28, 2023, as she captivates the crowd with her iconic hits.
Nas is having the greatest comeback in Hip Hop, he just released his fifth album, “Magic 2” in four years. Nas has been on the scene for over 30 years and he never fails in putting out great music. Nas took the stage Saturday night, on July 29, 2023 performing his greatest hits of all time like Hate Me Now, If I Ruled the World and One Mic.
Spectacular fusion of music and comedy! Grammy and Emmy Award winner and Artist Glasper’s mesmerizing tunes met Chappelle’s hilarious wit, igniting the stage at the Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa at the Silverado Resort, on Saturday. The small town festival boasted an impressive line-up of cultural icons to celebrate jazz’s influence during the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
Glasper was the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the first Blue Note Napa Valley Jazz Festival last year, which brought to the stage a plethora of iconic artists; from Chaka Khan to Maxwell and Glasper’s Dinner Party project featuring Snoop Dogg. He flew back to New York in October 2022 for his now-legendary month-long residency at the Blue Note NYC, with the usual array of star-studded appearances from the likes of Chappelle, Chris Rock, Questlove, Alex Isley and Miguel joining him both on and off stage.
Chappelle lit up the throughout the festival. He engaged festival goers with his signature humor and wit. A captivating blend of music and laughter set the perfect tone for an unforgettable start to the event. Chappelle made his second appearance at the Blue Note Jazz Festival and hopes to continue being apart of the experience.
Photos, some quotes and festival information courtesy of Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa and M.Bitton (photog)