Dinner Music: Pepe Jaramillo
A musician that displays "utterly unpretentious simplicity"
I spent the weekend in Marfa, TX, and am definitely just now coming down from the intoxicating mood of the desert town. A lot of dust, a lot of Judd, a lot of ranch waters. To honor that feeling, I’m highlighting a favorite Mexican pianist from the mid-century.
One day in the 1940s or 50s, Pepe Jaramillo walked into the Ritz in Mexico City, played the piano for a few friends and was immediately offered a job. It’s easy to see why — it’s clear that he loved to play for enjoyment. The enjoyment of his friends, sure, but also his own. His sound is simple, but it’s effective. A music critic said that his “achievement undoubtedly lies in the utterly unpretentious simplicity of his style.” It’s impossible to listen to this music and not feel some burden lift. To not feel transported to that plant-laden, sultry Mexico City Ritz hotel. La Fiesta Mexicana de Pepe Jaramillo was his first album, released in 1958. The sounds remind me of just how wonderful and gorgeous our world is. A cliché, but important, sentiment.
Mexican Fiesta - Pepe Jaramillo
I’m pairing this album with:
I’m currently still in Marfa sipping on this Wines of Anarchy Trebbiano pet-nat. It’s perfectly balanced — nice acidity, dry, not too sweet or fruity. Not only does it pair well with this album, it also pairs well with my newly acquired sunburn.
Though it wasn’t open this time, I’m also pairing this with the steak at The Capri. I had it a few years ago, delicious, and will now be attempting to re-create it on my own via their cookbook, Cooking in Marfa.
Thank you for being here.
I’m happy to be listening and cooking with you. Let me know what you cook/drink with the album 💕