Editor's Note: Longwood is thrilled to welcome Jazz Singer Denise King at a “guest blogger” on Behind-the-Plants! Denise will be performing at Longwood this Saturday, during the Wine & Jazz Festival, as the opening act for McCoy Tyner. This will mark her second appearance at the Festival. Find out more about Denise on her MySpace page.
I've always fancied myself a gardener, an urban farmer of sorts. The truth is I love gardening. I love it almost as much as I love to sing. My passion for plants and flowers began in my teens, not too long after I fell in love with Jazz. I discovered many great Jazz artists and learned lyrics during that time by listening to all of the greats. Oddly, I didn't develop a green thumb until much later in life. Working in the rich fertile earth provided a place to for me to put my cares and worries. Coupled with Jazz, I had surely found bliss. For one who is passionate about both, you can imagine my delight when I was invited to perform at the Longwood Gardens Wine and Jazz Festival. It was indeed a marriage made in floral audio heaven. The lush green grounds and exotic flowers provided the perfect setting for a singer who so loves flowers. The inspiration was intoxicating. Last year on a beautiful spring day I had the pleasure of performing for a very enthusiastic audience, at this fabulous venue. The music was mellow enough for those who wanted to listen and upbeat enough for those who wanted to dance. Some in attendance enjoyed the sounds while savoring a delicious lunch in the open air cafe. Others enjoyed wine and cheese on brightly colored picnic blankets with the sweet sounds of a saxophone and tinkling piano floating on the breeze. Others elected to sample wine from the various vineyards set up in brightly colored cabanas. It was lovely sight to behold. After I finished singing I tried the food, delicious I might add, and several varieties of reds and a few whites all of which were excellent. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect exclamation point at the end of my performance.
For anyone who loves Jazz in a very relaxed, less formal setting, the Wine and Jazz Festival at Longwood is a perfect union of beautiful flowers, great music, delicious food and wine. I can't think of a better way to spend a spring afternoon. I hope to see you there.