Bonjour de Paris ...
This year is off to a roaring start. We are booking into August and Leslie has been asked to do some concerts with a French band so she will be traveling a bit on her own in the spring and summer. I have finally gotten around to looking for some dates for a jazz trio that I am forming in Paris. I don't have much time to devote to this and my trio mates are very busy with careers of their own so it will be difficult to make this work more than a few times a year, but I really want to have this as one part of my musical life.
The first week of January I did some teaching at the former American School of Music, now known as the International Music Educators of Paris College of Music. I do miss teaching at Saddleback College. I enjoy working with musicians as they are beginning to forge the path they will walk in their careers.
In December Leslie was with jazz organist Rhoda Scott for a concert in Budapest, Hungary. She very much liked the people and how beautiful the city was decorated for Christmas. The concert was in a Sports Arena that is used for concerts that can't be accommodated in the city's other venues. In this case there were around 8,000 people in attendance to hear Rhoda's (and Leslie's) concert. It was a great opportunity for her to visit a new city.
Street in Budapest.
Christmas in Budapest.
Leslie, Rhoda & Thomas at Charles de Gaulle Airport on the way to Budapest.
Sound check at the venue in Budapest.
Leslie and Rhoda in Budapest.
Speaking of visiting cities, we are going to be in New York next month to do a private concert on the upper west side. We always love being in New York and we always enjoy the opportunity to spend time with our NYC friends and family.
Here is an update on the progress of our new CD. Producing a CD in a new country is taking a little more time in terms of preparation so we are still in the early stages so it will be awhile before we have a release date yet.
Joey and Susan Sellers were in Paris for the New Year. Joey did three concerts with us while he and Susan visited the Paris sights during the day. In California Joey and I developed a habit of hanging for a drink or two after the concerts we did at Saddleback College. We fell into that pattern with no effort what-so-ever after the first concert in Paris. I think I got home around 2:30 am that night. I was impressed that Joey made it that late since they had flown the red eye from California and he hadn't yet adjusted to the time change. So the next night the hang lasted until 3:30 am, this was with Joey and Susan running around Paris during the day and then expending a tremendous amount of energy during the concert and still not having made up the sleep from the night before. Day three was more sightseeing for Joey and Susan before the gig and that night was New Year's Eve. We played from 10:00 pm to 2:30 am and then had a "band/restaurant staff" hang which included champagne, oysters, cheese, bread, chicken and dessert. Leslie joined us for this one, I think we got home around 6:30 am. Day four we didn't have to work so we had a chance to sit down for a normal dinner and have a normal conversation after Joey and Susan spent the day running around Paris. I suspect they had some very well deserved rest once they got home to California. The concerts were a blast. Leslie was on fire and Joey matched her level of energy and then some. Due to budget concerns we did something a little unusual in that we worked without a bassist. We were so surprised to be able to get Mourad Benhammou, our favorite drummer in Paris, (he is often on the road) for two of the three nights. So we did the first concert with our duo and Joey and then added Mourad for the next two nights. It was so much fun and we really didn't miss the bass very much (sorry Domenic). Mourad is a very inventive musician who knows our music very well and Joey played like we had never left California. It was a great way to start the new year.
Leslie at Chez Papa Jazz Club on News Years Eve.
Gerard at Chez Papa Jazz Club on New Years Eve.
Joey at Chez Papa Jazz Club on New Years Eve.
Mourad at Chez Papa Jazz Club on New Years Eve.
We would love to get to California this year. At the moment July has too many dates booked to make that work. Traditionally we are quite busy in late August and early September so that leaves early August or later in September for a trip to California. We will keep you informed on the status of that trip.
On April 25th we are doing a concert at Sunside Jazz Club in Paris that will be an "Hommage à Ella Fitzgerald". Leslie is beginning to prepare some thoughts on what she wants to present before we get to work on some arrangements. If you are in Paris that week, please put this date on your calendar. We will be working with Peter Giron, bass and Mourad Benhammou, drums. Our concerts at Sunside are always great fun and usually we sell out so please take that into consideration.
Leslie at Sunside Jazz Club.
The Café Laurent Jazz Room.
Please check our website for our February dates. We have the usual jazz club gigs in and around Paris including five nights at Chez Papa Jazz Club starting on Valentine's Day as well as a concert at Café Laurent which is fast becoming a favorite place of ours due to the beautiful, intimate room (there are no bad seats) and the Steinway grand piano. While you are there, sign up for our weekly email blast to learn where you can hear us.
Until next time,
Leslie and Gerard
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