Leslie Lewis et Gérard Hagen "Bonjour de Paris" 18 April 2015

Bonjour de Paris ...

Chers Amis,

Finally we’ve had a few nice days to enjoy springtime in Paris. Still a lot of clouds with some rain but every so often we get the sun. Now Leslie and I need to get ourselves out of the apartment with some time left in the day to enjoy it!  Since we are teaching less that we did in California our work schedule has allowed us to become even more night people than before. Sometimes I can see the beginnings of dawn when I am just starting to fall asleep. We do talk about getting back on a more normal schedule, and I think that is a healthier way to live, but so far it is just talk!

Earlier this month we did a concert at Sunside-Sunset Jazz Club. Leslie was asked to perform an hommage au Billie Holiday. She went about choosing material that she was drawn to sing. She and I created some arrangements and spent quite a bit of time promoting the date. We also got Bruno Rousselet and Mourad Benhammou, two of our favorite musicians, on the gig.  The result was a night we never anticipated in our wildest dreams. We were very nervous about having a good audience especially since our performance was on Easter Sunday. We arrived early for a sound check and left to grab some dinner at a sushi restaurant. When we returned to start the concert we were greeted with a standing room only crowd!  On top of that, Leslie was in rare form and the band was right with her. The crowd stayed until the end of our last set which ended just after midnight. We were very happy to be brought back for an encore.  For some time now Leslie and I had avoided working at Sunside-Sunset due to the ticket prices which are anywhere from 20 to 30 euros per night.  We figured that people would never pay those prices for tickets when they can hear us at so many other clubs in Paris. The reason we took the booking was because they contacted us and offered us the date.  It’s no exaggeration that we were very thrilled by the way things turned out.  We are going to be back at Sunside-Sunset on June 9th doing a concert of new material that we have been working on over the last few months.





Photo from the Sunside-Sunset Jazz Club concert. Photo by Mariya Nachiva

Another photo of the Sunside-Sunset Jazz Club concert. Photo by Mariya Nachiva

Early in May we are going to spend some time relaxing in the south of France. Leslie made it her mission to research the area and suggest places for us to visit. So we are going to be at the beach for almost a week of down time. We are both really looking forward to that.

The summer looks like it will be busy. It is possible we will be back in California in August. I will let you know as soon as we have a confirmation on that trip.  Beyond that we should be back in La Baule, France performing at L’Hermitage and the Hotel Royal sometime in July and August followed by a few weeks in Croatia where I’ll be teaching at a jazz camp and Leslie will be… at the beach!

Leslie and I are going to be in New York in September. Out of the blue we received and offer from two gentlemen who heard us at Chez Papa Jazz Club in Paris. They invited us to perform for their wedding reception on Long Island, N.Y. It is probably the longest distance we’ve ever traveled to do what’s known as a “casual” in the music business. Never-the-less we are happy to know that someone is willing to go to those lengths to have us perform for them. Particularly a place like New York that is filled with remarkable performers.

Looking ahead we have bookings into May, 2016. July 4th we will be at a jazz festival in Marseille, France and November we are going to perform in Dakar, Senegal.

This week we made a quick trip to London to visit with my sister and her husband who were there for a vacation. It was one of those overnight trips that was filled with food, fun and a lot of music. We arrived in London by way of the Eurostar train and walked into our hotel late that morning. At that time of the morning our room was not available so we stored our luggage and left with the thought that we would return later in the afternoon to check in. Well we actually didn’t check in until 3:30 am. A quick run down of the day includes lunch at the Ritz Carlton, a nice walk around Trafalgar Square, Soho and the theatre district, a meeting at jazz club where we booked a date to perform in London in February, 2016, an unbelievable dinner at J. Sheekey restaurant near Covent Garden followed by attending the production of “Beautiful: The Carol King Musical”. The tickets for that show were a surprise gift from my sister and brother-in-law.  It was a wonderful show with some very creative vocal arrangements.  I hadn’t heard that music for many years and it was good to be reminded of how much quality music was produced during that time.

After the show we made our way to the late show at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. The late show featured some young up-coming U.K. jazz musicians and was followed by a jam session.  At this point it was around 1:30 am, but we somehow found the energy to get ourselves involved in the jam and hence we didn’t arrive back at our hotel until 3:30 am!  After a few hours of sleep we returned to Paris and marveled at how much we packed into the previous 24 hours. London is such a great city.  It has it’s own creative energy, not unlike New York, but there is also a gracious attitude that is rare for such a bustling city. We are looking forward to going back in February. 

Next month I should have some photos of Leslie’s garden on our terrace. She is just now starting to get it together after the long absence of sunny weather that is winter and spring in Paris.

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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