Bonjour de Paris...
Breakfast in Los Angeles, lunch in London, dinner in Paris, we have made the journey back to Europe. Thank goodness for those restaurants because the food that was served during the flight was barely recognizable leaving us to pick at what was tolerable. Beyond the food, the flights weren't too bad largely because we were able to get window-aisle seats in a cabin that had a 2-4-2 seat configuration and also the departures and arrivals were on time.
It was so much fun to be back in California. We had great weather and a few free days that offered some time to hang with friends. We loved waking up to the sunshine, birds singing, trees and the beauty that is commonplace there. The commutes to our concerts in San Diego and Santa Barbara were stressful (the traffic has definitely gotten worse since we left and I don't miss driving one bit) but time spent at the beach was the antidote that made the rest of the time pretty relaxing. California really is a special place and we are happy to see that our musician friends and non musician friends are all doing well with family, work and careers. As for us, having made the transition to living here, we are happy to be back in Europe. We are finding opportunities here that are exciting and beyond what I ever thought I'd be doing if you had asked me a few years ago. So as with everything in life, one lives with tradeoffs based upon one's life decisions.
Our concerts were a blast. We began with a concert on the "Osprey" which is a yacht in San Diego's Mission Bay. We did the date as a trio with Peter Giron our Paris based bassist who made the trip with us. We enjoyed a beautiful night anchored in the bay on a yacht that has been set up for concerts. There was a nice sound system, a decent Roland keyboard and a very appreciative audience. Once you add wine, interesting finger food, cioppino and dessert, it made for a wonderful way to start our California mini-tour. Due to the drop in temperature after sunset this was planned as an early night which gave us time to just barely catch the Friday night jam session run by Ron Kobayashi at Bayside in Newport Beach. It is always great to see Ron and he continues to provide wonderful music to jazz fans all over southern California. Saturday night we were back at Ron and Natasha Dye's beautiful home in San Juan Capistrano. Jerry Kalaf joined us to play drums and to fill out the quartet. Ron and Natasha really know how to host a concert and his Steinway grand piano is always a pleasure to play. This was maybe our third or fourth concert there and they have all been beautiful experiences for the band. Once again we were blown away by the audience and how far some had travelled to be there. We are so grateful to you all for being there for us. We were up early on Sunday to make the drive to Montecito for an afternoon concert at the home of Steve and Joan Bowman. Once again, we were reminded why we have concentrated on doing house concerts. We enjoyed a beautiful setting with a killer lunch that featured cookies in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. The Yamaha piano was great as well as a very good sound system which made the performance a joy. Ann Paterson an L.A. based saxophonist made the drive to be there and we were happy to have her sit in on a couple of tunes. She and Leslie definitely made a musical connection so there may be something in the future there. Once again the audience was wonderful. Thanks to Steve and Joan we were introduced to a whole new audience in Santa Barbara although I must add that several couples drove from Newport Beach and Laguna Beach to attend our concert there. Monday we pretty much stayed in one place after sleeping until sometime that afternoon. Tuesday was spent doing more hanging with friends (I got to drop by Saddleback College and get caught up with Joey Sellers). That night we finalized the groundwork for a trip to Bordeaux in August. More on this later. We ate Mexican food as often as possible and Leslie and I introduced Peter, a native of the Bronx, to The Harbor House in Dana Point, always a late night treat in O.C. Wednesday we did our concert for "Laguna Beach Live" at Seven Degrees in Laguna Beach. It was a fund raiser for children's music programs and our last concert on this trip so we really wanted it to be special. To that end we added Luis Mascaro who played violin with us last summer and is a blast to work with. As an added bonus Bijon Watson who is the Artistic Director for "Laguna Beach Live" and the man who has now invited us twice to perform for them joined us on trumpet. Once again, Leslie made a musical connection with Bijon as they traded improvised melodies over a couple of tunes. On Thursday's flight back to Paris we were able to get some sleep as well as enjoy the memories of the time spent with friends and making music in California.
Osprey Yacht, Mission Bay, San Diego.
View of Mission Bay from Osprey.
Bayside Jam Session w/Ron Kobayashi.
Bayside with Ron, Leslie, Gerard & Peter.
Joan & Steve Bowman's Santa Barbara home.
Laguna Beach Live concert w/ Leslie, Gerard, Peter, Jerry, Luis and Bijon.
Laguna Beach Live concert w/ Leslie and Peter.
We were back at work this weekend in Paris. Next week I am back teaching at the college and Leslie will be on the road to Le Mans to work with Philippe Duchemin's trio.
Here is our May schedule if you are in Paris.
May 9th we are at the Café Laurent http://www.hoteldaubusson.com/en/cafe-laurent.html.
May 10-11-12 we are at Chez Papa Jazz Club http://www.papajazzclub-paris.fr.
May 17th we are at Les Deux Magots http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/
May 19th we are at Le Hotel Cinq Codet. https://le5codet.com/en/
May 25-26 we are at Monteverdi. http://www.lemonteverdi.com
May 31st June 1-2 we are back at Chez Papa. http://www.papajazzclub-paris.fr
To everyone who helped to make this trip possible, Mike & Carol, Bruce & Laura, Arturo & Sacha, Ron & Natasha, Steve & Joan, Bijon, Ava & Jack, thanks isn't enough. You guys are incredible. We are also grateful for all the help we received from our dear friend Carol Roman whose friendship with Leslie goes back many years. Fortunately for us there were far too many people who attended our concerts to name names (we don't have fans, we have friends), we know who you are and we treasure our friendships with you all. To Peter, Jerry and Luis thanks for sharing your talent on the bandstand with us.
Thank you to everyone who has already downloaded "Fragile", our new recording. It is available as a download on CD Baby at this link. https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/leslielewis5
Please check our website for news and updates. While you are there please sign up for our weekly email blast to learn where you can hear us. http://www.surfcovejazz.com
Thanks for staying in touch with us.
Until next time, Leslie et Gerard
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