Bonjour de Paris ...
Leslie and I spent the first two and a half weeks of August in La Baule trying to decompress from a very busy winter and spring. It was the longest duration of time we have taken off of work in a number of years. Although I did find myself at the piano, (playing the piano as opposed to practicing it) we tried very hard to not do anything related to work during that time. We returned to Paris to do the four gigs we had booked in August but the phone started ringing and we did twelve dates by the end of the month. It continued into September and got so crazy that on the 6th we received a 3:30 am text asking us to work that night, which happened to be our wedding anniversary! So I was not surprised to realize that I let August slip away without writing a newsletter. We had spent June and July working in Paris. Since we weren't on the road we had some extra time available to work on some musical projects we have begun. That being said, we decided to put those projects on hold and focus only on performing and teaching. Leslie had a better understanding of the situation than I did. She knew how little we had in reserve and how much we needed to be away from work. I became aware that we were running on fumes the day after we finished our last job. That was July 31st and the day I felt like I exhaled for the first time in a long time.
On August 1st we began seventeen days of vacation at the summer home of our friend Lois in La Baule, France. That the vacation didn't start off well is an understatement! Our first night was great. Lois, Leslie and I enjoyed a great dinner, had some laughs and good conversation. We turned in for the night with Leslie and I downstairs and Lois on the main level. I was catching up on some news while Leslie was beginning to fall asleep when I heard some screaming, which I first thought was coming from outside. I asked Leslie where she thought the screaming was coming from and she replied that it was coming from inside the house. I ran upstairs to find that a man had broken into the house and Lois was screaming for us when she discovered him. He seemed surprised when he saw me and I was able to chase him out of the house while Leslie called the police. We spent the next few hours with the police going over what had happened that night. I was sure I wouldn't sleep after that ordeal and that turned out to be OK because the police sent a forensic team at 5:45 am and I was the only one awake to open the door for them. We spent the next two days in the police department giving statements and looking at photo line ups. The police had previously arrested this guy so his photo was in their books. Lois and I independently identified him and the police arrested him the next day. So much for a quiet start to our vacation!
After that things subsequently calmed downed considerably and we had the beach type of vacation we had planned on. We spent much of our time at the beach across from Lois' home until on one of our afternoon drives Leslie discovered "Le Côte Sauvage" (the wild coast). This is an area along the Atlantic coast of France that is kind of difficult to reach due to the walk from the street to the water. Once you are there the reason for the effort to get there becomes very clear. The views are stunning and in the August summer heat the cold Atlantic ocean is very refreshing... after you accept that due to the water temperature you are going to lose all feeling in your body. We were floating around the rock formations and enjoying watching the daredevil rock divers who were jumping from 30 to 40 feet up. Beyond the time we spent at the beach, Leslie and I went on some great walks and I had several enjoyable opportunities to BBQ on a proper grill as opposed to the one I use in Paris that is more of a glorified Farberware grill.
We have been here long enough that we are starting to see people that we had previously met who return to hear us when they are in town. (I am talking to you Leon & Jess.) Also, there is a whole group of friends (Bobby & Sue, Lino & Catherine, Clifford & Lydia) who make yearly visits to Paris that seemly live here. We had so many people visit us this summer that I cannot possibly mention you all, and there is also the very real possibility that I will forget someone and embarrass myself. That being said, I must mention how much fun it was that Allan Molnar and his wife Robin dropped by Paris on their way back to NYC after Allan taught at a percussion symposium in Italy. Allan and I have been friends since our college days. Over the years we have been able to see each other when one of us happened to be working in the other's city. It was fun to share some of our favorite things about Paris with them. Even though Allan is a drummer/vibraphonist, one night on his way back to their hotel he sat in with a street band playing bass! Four years living in Paris and Leslie and I have never sat in with a street band (and most likely we never will)! Nate Tschetter, one of my students from maybe twenty years ago, and his lovely wife, Mica were in town for a few days. I am so proud of Nate, he is a wonderful pianist and has a killer gig with Yamaha Musicial Instruments in Buena Park, CA and Mica can sing! We had a great hang at our gig at Chez Papa Jazz Club, where they sat in and played a sang up a storm.
Nate and me in Paris.
Allan and I at our Paris apt.
Performing at Cafe Laurent in Paris.
Last week our friend Luther Hughes was here with his family. Luther is a bassist extraordinaire who many of you in California will remember from our gigs. He is also a wonderful teacher whom I saw in action over the years we worked together at Saddleback College.
Luther Hughes and his family enjoying the Paris cafe lifestyle.
Paris is beginning to show signs of fall and we are back in the swing of things. Thoughts of winter are beginning to creep into the back of my mind. I am always amazed at how fast time goes. We are working a new room called "Le Beverly". It is in the 11th arrondissement and has a nice Yamaha grand piano and a good sound system. The club features different styles of music each night and after hours it features a DJ who works till 3 or 4 am. Also the Hilton Hotel job in Saint Lazare is going to be starting again this fall so please watch for up-coming dates there.
Next month Leslie and I will be working with Jean-Pierre Rebillard and Sylvain Glevarec in Dinard (near Saint Malo) on the coast of Brittany at the Novotel Thalassa Hotel and Spa from the 17th through the 21st of October. Even though these dates have been booked for months, it seems like it was just yesterday that we got the call about the gig.
We are currently booking dates into next July and discussing the possibility of a California trip perhaps next summer or fall.
Please check our website for our other Sept. and October dates, we have the usual jazz club gigs in and around Paris. 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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