Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Music and Food? Leave It To The Pros.

Vintage Rock: The jukebox at the Great Jones Cafe plays the manager’s old 45s. Photo by Robert Presutti.

It's about time. It's amazing how the the ambience of everything from a waiting room or bathroom to a 5 Star restaurant or dive bar can be enhanced or completey spoiled simply by paying attention to not only what audio is playing but also the volume and overall appropriateness.

Most of us were all lucky enough to be born with all the 5 Senses, (6 if you count sense of humor). Sight, Taste, Smell, Touch, Hearing.

It's amazing how almost half of these are ingnored and should ALWAYS be considered when it comes to the art of creating any physical space whether it's a home, office, store and especially restaurants, cafes and bars.

I've allways believed that the use of music (or lack there of), in any environment, should be treated as an equal within it's group of the 5 Senses. In regard to any eatery, to me, (to all of us really on a sublime level), the sound/ambient music and it's volume is as equally important as the temperature, lighting, service and the food.

There's nothing worse than spluringing on a nice lobster dinner only to have it ruined by piped in audio crap. Music is the core of the overall atmosphere and should be treated as such.

Drew Nieporent still remembers the afternoon in the 1970s when Warner LeRoy ordered him to turn off the Barbra Streisand eight-track.

Mr. Nieporent, who today operates restaurants from Louisville to London, was tending the bar for Mr. LeRoy at Maxwell’s Plum on the Upper East Side. He cued up the Streisand tape every day at lunch. It’s no longer clear if it was the warble of the tape or of “Evergreen” that set Mr. LeRoy off, but he ordered the eight-track turned off and pronounced that from that moment on, music was forever banned during lunch at Maxwell’s Plum.

Silent, strident or Streisand, there’s no consensus on what should play on the dining room hi-fi. Without an easy recipe for success, chefs and restaurateurs turn to consultants, D.J.’s, enthusiastic staff members and their own record collections, seeking a mix that works.

Life's too short for Kenny G, Michael Bolton and Celene Dion as it is, I mean it's called Yawnni for a reason.

Read the Robert Presutti article at The New York Times

And if you're interested in discussing the soundtrack to your business, restaurant or home please feel free to contact me at I've collected over a half a million songs (so far) in my HMK Audio Archive to be used exclusively as a springboard for creating just the right vibe.