Hot summer night?  Why not cool off near the Long Island Sound with some local wine and a live jazz band?

Harmony Vineyards is set to combine the harmonious flavors of its finely crafted wine with the harmonious sounds of some of the finest jazz Long Island has to offer with “The Ray Anderson Classic Jazz Albums Live Concert Series”.

The concerts will be held outside on the waterfront grounds adjacent to the Harmony Vineyards tasting room.

Anderson, a multiple-time award winner, has been called “the most exciting slide brass player of his generation.”  He has been part of the SUNY Stony Brook faculty for more than a decade, serving as the Director of Jazz studies since 2003.  During his four-decade professional career, he has led or co-led groups performing a broad range of jazz styles.  You can hear his work on countless albums by modern jazz greats, be it in the role of featured musician or accompanist.

Anderson will be leading an all-star band through some of jazz’s greatest albums in their entirety, by the likes of Miles Davis, Duke Elington, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk.

This free summer concert series will kick-off on Sunday, May 19.  The current line up is as follows:

  • Sunday, May 19, 5 p.m.: Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue:” Regarded by many as his magnum opus and the greatest jazz album of all-time, this 1959 album set the framework for modern modal jazz.
  • Sunday June 23, 5 p.m.: “Duke Ellington & John Coltrane:” An early ‘60s classic that brought together Long Island’s own Coltrane, the era’s leading  saxophonist, with the Ellington, the most successful pianist/composer/leader of the big band-era.  This small ensemble offering will feature “In A Sentimental Mood” as well as the memorable standard, “Big Nick.”
  • Sunday, July 14, 2 p.m.: Thelonius Monk’s “Underground:” this 1968 classic, includes “Boo Boo’s Birthday” and “Green Chimneys,” both written by Monk for his daughter Barbara.

To keep the jazz going all summer long, Harmony Vineyards will also be featuring Weekly Live Jazz.  While not a part of the above concert series, it will feature a variety of live jazz bands in its Tasting Room or, weather permitting, out-of-doors every Saturday from 1 – 8 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 6 p.m.

Now for the wine part of this promising event.

Harmony Vineyards’ waterfront winery was planted in 2002, with their first vintage harvested in 2005.  The vineyard currently boasts 32.5 harbor-side acres located only 70 minutes from Manhattan on scenic Stony Brook Harbor.  It was originally known as East Farm and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  In keeping with the historic theme, its tastings and many of its events are held in the centerpiece of the property, a lovingly restored 1690 farmhouse.  The team of owner David E. Acker, winemaker Eric Fry, and vineyard manager Steve Mudd produces finely crafted Bordeaux-styled red blends and Chablis-style Chardonnays, all the while trying to keep the process in “harmony” with the surrounding ecosystem and neighborhood.  It is well worth a visit, especially if you cannot make the trip out to Long Island’s twin-fork wine country.

Finally, if the triple-threat of summer waterside, fine wines, and smooth jazz weren’t enough, keep in mind that all of the profits from the sales of Harmony Vineyards wines go to charity – and not just during these events, either.  Such charities include Stony Brook University’s Jazz Department, Island Harvest, City Harvest, Pink Rock, The Stony Brook Foundation and the East African Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children.  Good times and a good cause.

Harmony Vineyards is located at 169 Harbor Road, Head of the Harbor, New York.  It is ¼ mile up Harbor Road from the Grist Mill in historic Stony Brook, Long Island, off Exit 62 on 495 (Long Island Expressway).