Leslie Lewis et Gérard Hagen "Bonjour de Paris" 17 September 2015

Bonjour de Paris ...

Chers Amis,

We are back in Paris after spending the last four days in New York.  I always love being in New York and have to guard against the fantasy that is arriving with someone paying for us to be there and having transportation and hotels on the upper west side taken care of for us, as opposed to the reality of actually living there. I often see the same thing happen to people who visit Paris and get the bug to live here. Truthfully, for me, living in Paris is more about the opportunities to work in Europe. It is simply a happy coincidence that we can work from here. Leslie would say that for her it’s more about Paris! By the way, her feelings about Paris are what got us here! But back to New York.  We were very happy to have opportunities to spend time with family and friends during our stay. We added a day to our trip which gave us more opportunities to hang with them. My nephew, Sam from California recently moved to N.Y. with a new position at Apple. I was so happy to see how well he is doing there. You can imagine how much fun a young guy with a good job living in N.Y. can have.  We ended up in a bar drinking gin and playing pool, which I guess isn’t the typical uncle nephew activity unless perhaps your uncle is a jazz pianist! Leslie’s brother Ralph recently became engaged, so we were able to meet his fiancée Veronica. And of course we got the catch up with Diana, Leslie’s childhood friend and her family Ann, Hy, Tony and Carl who are all employed on Broadway. Allan, my former college roommate and current NYC resident was able to play drums with us for our gig so there were many highlights during those four days.

The gig we were there to play is both very easy to describe but really almost impossible to do justice to.  The simple description is that we played a concert during a wedding reception on Long Island.  The long story is that a while back, a couple was walking by a Paris jazz club where we were working. They heard the music and came in to check it out. They ended up spending the rest of the evening listening to us and one of them even sat in and sang with us. Some time later we received an email from them inquiring if they could hire us to come to NYC to perform for their wedding reception. But it wasn’t to be background music. They wanted us to do a concert as a part of the celebration. So after some schedule massaging, we agreed to do the gig. They had the wedding/reception on their property in Bellport, Long Island (about 1/2 block from the ocean).  Aside from their beautiful home, their property also had a school house which they had renovated. The wedding took place in a garden next to the pool. The cocktail hour was in another garden that aside from many other amenities, had an outdoor pizza oven.  The property was exquisite. Attention was paid to every detail. There was something beautiful to see everywhere you looked. We played in the “library” of the school. We had a Steinway grand piano and a two man sound crew from SIR in NY doing sound for us.  There was a lower level in the library where there were quite a few tables for guests, so the sound crew put wireless speakers to handle the music for them. We did mostly instrumental music during the meal part of the reception.  When we did the concert part, the stairs leading to the lower level quickly filled with listeners looking for a closer spot to hear Leslie.  It was a very nice moment and a highlight of the celebration.

We have made the Europe-U.S. trip so many times that I have come to dread the return trip.  Coming home is always longer than going to a new adventure. This time we received an upgrade to what British Airways calls “Premium Class” which is basically Business Class for other carriers. After that experience it will be hard to go backwards! I told Leslie that maybe we should get this upgrade for our return trip from L.A. in December. Her response, “Yeah let’s go for both ways”!  











Our Hotel room at the Excelsior Hotel, a great location on the upper west side.
























Garden at house in Bellport, Long Island.
























Library in the school house.
























Our stage for the night.
























Leslie after the concert.
























Allan and Gerard after the concert.
























Diana and Leslie enjoying dinner.


















Leslie, Ann and Hy.























Ralph and Veronica, the happy couple.











































Nice shot of the George Washington Bridge with special lighting for 9/11 memorial. (Photo by Diana Belkowsky)

This week on Friday we are at Monte Verdi in Saint Germain des Pres.  Saturday we are in Serris, FR for a “Cotton Club” show and on Sunday we are at the Jazz En Touraine festival in Montlouis-sur-Loire, FR.  http://www.jazzentouraine.com 

Our trip to Dakar, Senegal has been postponed to February. Which leads me to believe it may be permanently postponed! We have not yet had time to get the dates in L.A. scheduled for Dec. We will let you know as soon as we get more bookings. 

Until next time,

Leslie and Gerard  

Please if you have any comments feel free to contact me at <gerard@surfcovejazz.com>.  I enjoy hearing your thoughts. This email also appears on our website where you may comment as well.  http://www.surfcovejazz.com/blog/






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