Bonjour de Paris ...
It is hard to believe we are only one month into 2015! It seems like it was so long ago that we celebrated Christmas and the New Year. So much has happened here, really all around the world, that the normal passage of time seems to have taken on a new dimension. First let me thank all of you who reached out to check on us during the time of the “Charlie Hebdo” murders. We tried as best we could to communicate to everyone that we were okay. Leslie was in that area the day before the murders took place, but fortunately she was safe at home with me the day it happened. I had to go out that night and it was clear that people were on edge as they made their way through the city. The next night we were on a gig and by then people were ready to loosen up and have some fun. I think it was a way to show that people weren’t going to let terrorists, really just flat out murderers, change the city. Things returned to normal almost immediately. I did go on a neighborhood search for the first “Charlie Hebdo” publication when it arrived Wednesday of the following week. It took me until Friday morning to get one and then I had to go out at 4:30 am to be sure there would be some magazines to purchase.
We spent many, many hours during January preparing our dossiers to present to the Prefecture in order to have our residency renewed. It was a very demanding task that necessitated our going back over pretty much everything we’ve done since arriving and finding ways to document it. We used concert posters, concert programs, photos, pay slips, contracts, advertising, reviews, letters from producers and promoters, bank statements, and tax returns. There were still other documents that were required so you can imagine the task of putting all of them together. I am happy to say that it is finished and our attorney is now putting all of it together to be submitted. It will take another five or so months before we hear anything from them. So the trick for me is to not think about it too much since it is now out of my hands. Still I see some sleepless nights ahead!
So all of you who wondered what it looked like to light a bar on fire, or wondered if I was crazy when I wrote about this, here is what it looks like. The bar at Speakeasy (on fire)!
We have been on a roll work wise since last summer. Since we returned to France from our U.S. trip in early October we have been averaging more than 4 performance dates a week. When you include the practice time spent learning new material, rehearsals, writing arrangements, doing promo work and the time spent traveling to road gigs, not to mention the time we spend teaching, it has been very busy. This is exactly what we were doing in California but somehow here it is more draining physically. I think because of the traveling.
Espace Dispan de Floran- our concert venue in L’Haÿ-les-Roses, France.
Sound check at Espace Dispan de Floran- our "Cotton Club" concert.
Leslie before the "Cotton Club" concert Espace Dispan de Floran, L’Haÿ-les-Roses, France.
We have up-coming concerts in Dijon, Saint Germain en Laye, Saint-Quentin, Le Mont-Dore, and this July we go to Marseille. On top of that we were approached about going to Africa this spring and I was asked to teach at a summer jazz program in Croatia in August. I am hoping Leslie will be able to join me and we can maybe work a vacation into the trip. So as you can imagine we are feeling very fortunate to have all of these opportunities come our way.
Leslie had a funny thing happen on New Year’s Eve. She was working at Hotel Georges V with an eleven piece band that featured her and a male lead singer. The band leader decided to write an arrangement for the countdown to midnight. The way it went was the band would shout “10”, and the band would play a flourish followed by “9” and another flourish and so on and so on. You can see the problem here. The instrumental flourishes were about 30 seconds each so by the time they played the arrangement and got to “zero” it was already 12:05 am! On another happy note she was also able to work with jazz great Rhoda Scott at Jazz Club Etoile in Paris. Rhoda has had a wonderful career as a jazz organist here in Europe. It was great fun to hear them together.
New Year's Eve at Hotel Georgia V.
Leslie with Rhoda Scott at Jazz Club Etoile, Paris.
We are looking forward to having Jerry Kalaf join us in France for a week later in February. We have some other friends who will be in town at the end of the month so we are happily waiting for two nice hangs here in Paris.
Until next time,
Leslie and Gerard
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