Leslie Lewis et Gérard Hagen "Bonjour de Paris" 30 Octobre 2016

Bonjour de Paris ...


Chers Amis,

It is now well into Fall weather here in Paris. Jackets, sweaters and scarves are replacing summer clothes and pretty soon I'll experience my favorite Sunday morning of the season; the "fall back" time change. I almost like the "idea" of getting the extra hour even more so than the actual hour.

Leslie is now well into her yearly "boys of October" obsession. Her beloved Yankees are nowhere to be found, her adopted Dodgers are also done for the year so she is on the "Cubs" bandwagon. I thought that the years she spent in Cleveland might have influenced her to root for the Indians but apparently she prefers the Cubs. The games start at 2:00 am (CET) Central European Time so it takes a really good game for her to hang through nine innings. So far games 1 and 3 haven't been dramatic enough for her to stay awake for the whole game. We shall see with game 4 tonight!

We are looking for a new apartment. When I say "we" I mean Leslie is doing all the work and I go along once she finds something worth looking at. We are looking to add some more space, get more sunlight and perhaps upgrade the kitchen and bath. We live in a really desirable area of Paris and that allows us to walk to most of our monthly gigs so we really need and want to stay in this area. So this criteria means that we are looking for something that is very hard to find and even harder to get once you find it. We don't need to move so we have time on our side. At this point I imagine that this search could go on for awhile.

We were very happy to see our friend Lynn Daly while she was in Paris earlier this month. Lynn is the artistic director for the L.A. based Jazz Tap Ensemble. J.T.E. has toured worldwide and has performed in France many times. We were able to have dinner before one of our gigs at Chez Papa Jazz Club and we had a very nice hang over two nights catching up with news of our mutual friends.

On October 17th we began a five night run at the Thalasso Jazz Festival in Dinard, France. We shared the stage with a Jazz Manouche (gypsy jazz) band. We alternated with them nightly doing either one or two sets so that meant doing seven concerts in five nights. The audiences were very receptive and often times spilled out into the lobby where the producers had set up TV monitors to broadcast the concert for the overflow crowd. Leslie's artistry, as usual, captivated the audiences and the performance of the band with Jean-Pierre Rebillard and Sylvain Glevarec really showed the benefits of playing five nights in a row. This particular group of musicians reached some musical high points beyond anything we've done in the past.

Pre-concert set up at the Thalasso Jazz festival.

View of the audience for the Thalasso Jazz Festival.

This festival is held at the Novotel Thalasso Hôtel. In France, the word Thalasso means spa and this particular hotel had what is called the "Institute". We were invited, no make that encouraged, to use the Institute on a daily basis. We were looking forward to this because, as you might imagine, it is not the norm to have access to a spa while working on the road. I was expecting to listen to quiet sound tracks of waves crashing on seaside rocks accompanied by some vaguely Asian sounding string instruments while getting relaxing massages and doing deep breathing exercises with slices of cucumbers over my eyes! What we didn't know was this institute has very specific types of treatments. The hotels location on the Atlantic ocean made it possible to use sea water in the spa treatments. In fact we would later learn first hand that the vast majority of treatments were hydro-therapy.

View from our hotel room at Novotel Thalasso Hotel in Dinard, France.

We arrived in Dinard after a three and one half hour train trip from Paris. We were looking forward to a nap before the evening concert but during the hotel check-in we were told it was very important to quickly change into our robes and go to "The Institute". That sounded ominous to me because when I think of going to an institute it usually means you aren't getting out anytime soon. But we did as instructed and after a brief introduction to the institute we gave them a short health history and we were walking down the hallway toward our first "treatments". Leslie would start off innocently enough with a massage after which she felt ill and went to our room cancelling the rest of her afternoon schedule. The attendants were mostly female so fortunately I had my treatments wearing a swimming suit. I was grateful for that because I would later learn that Leslie did most of her treatments without her swimsuit. We would soon discover how awkward this could be when we would see many of these people in the evenings at our concerts. My afternoon started in a whirlpool bath that was perfectly contoured so one could lay back and relax. Relaxing was exactly what I was doing after the attendant tossed some water treatment type substance in the bath and turned the lights down as she left the room. I was just starting to enjoy the moment when the water jets under my arms kicked in and sent my arms flailing around. That was followed by the water jets under my legs moving my legs up thus causing my head to almost go underwater. The next jets to activate were under my lower back and buttocks giving me a sensation that is difficult to explain in any accurate detail in polite company. Later I went to a pool that featured underwater exercise bikes. I never knew it was possible to be in a pool and still sweat! After a few days we learned how to manage the time spent at the institute doing only the treatments that we pre-approved to be non-threatening. We did enjoy using the pool and jacuzzi along with a few of the other less rigorous treatments. The rest of the time we found some beautiful trails along the shore to walk during our afternoon free time. The walks were important because we were treated to unbelievably tasty, as well as healthy, three course meals at lunch and dinner. During the course of the week, we didn't get up in time for breakfast until our last morning before we left for Paris. It too was delicious and made me wish I had been able to get out of bed early enough to have enjoyed a few more days with a real breakfast.

Dinard, France

We are currently discussing the possibility of a California trip perhaps next summer or fall.

Please check our website for our November 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  
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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