Leslie Lewis et Gérard Hagen "Bonjour de Paris". 4 April 2014

Bonjour de Paris ...


Chers Amis, 


      Time has been flying by and although many things have been happening that I wanted to tell you about, I have not been in a good place for writing until now. First I have to announce that Leslie received her carte vitale last Monday! I need to repeat that. Leslie received her carte vitale last Monday. She now is eligible to do some work that was previously not available to her. We started this process in November, 2012. We made approximately fifteen trips to the social security office. Last November I lost my temper at the office and we subsequently decided to do all communications via mail. I think it was three or four letters later when we finally received word that she had been accepted and would receive her card. We received that news in December and finally received the card with her social security number this week. We celebrated with a nice meal at a bistro across the street from our apartment.  We happened to be seated next to a very nice couple from Georgia. He was the president of a college near Atlanta and was also president of a music society in Florida that stages operas. She was, of course, a singer. During the course of our dinner she looked at Leslie and asked if she was a singer. Leslie and I had not been talking about music so I don’t know what caused her to think Leslie was a singer. By the way this is not the first time that this has happened. I guess Leslie must give off singer vibes only able to be detected by other singers. These kinds of things happen often here.  I have come to call these moments “a Parisienne thing”.


       We are still living in boxes in our apartment.  It is making Leslie crazy.  We need to have some storage built into the living room and also some work done in the kitchen before we can empty the contents of the boxes. The normal time frame for something like this to be accomplished in most places has no relationship to the amount of time that will be needed to accomplish this task here. You can forget the old “expect the job to be twice as long and twice as expensive” rule. We would welcome that prospect.

     The apartment is on the first floor, but since this is an old building, one must walk up another half flight of stairs beyond the first flight and then down a half flight of stairs and down a hallway to get to our place. At the end of the hallway there are a few more steps to go down to reach our door.  There is one apartment located along the hallway and another that has it’s door right next to ours. This description is important because it is yet another example of “a Parisienne thing”. So you can imagine it is not exactly easy to give directions to our apartment to our friends or students. Also, there are two doors that have digital codes you need to know in order to get to the apartment. Here is the “Parisienne thing”… all three apartments on our floor are occupied by jazz singers!  It is enough to give a piano player nightmares!

      We have had some very nice gigs over the past few months. The trip to Laon, France for the Jazz’titudes Festival with the “Cotton Club” show was very fun and we are looking forward to doing more concerts with them in the fall. I got to play a 9’ Steinway grand piano and they had a very good crew doing sound. Ron Meza was on the band so we had a few laughs with him on the road to Laon and back to Paris.

Leslie took this photo after the sound check for the Jazz’titudes Festival in Laon 

This is the Jazz’titudes Festival stage from the house seats. They were comfortable seats and I was trying to take a quick nap before sound check.


        Leslie and I did a duo concert in the home of a wonderful woman here in Paris.  She has a beautiful apartment that she designed to be able to host home concerts. The living space was like a New York loft complete with a very nice Yamaha 7’ grand piano. The room held around 70 people and it was sold out. After the concert we stayed for a reception and a very nice lady offered to give us French language lessons.  We later found out she was Charles de Gaulle’s niece.  

     We are still doing Chez Papa three nights each month and also the after hours show at Speakeasy a couple nights a month. The Speakeasy gig is never predictable so it is difficult to know how to prepare. Recently a band from Boston dropped by and sat in with us. That night we ended up playing till after 3:00 am. One night we started the night playing songs from the 70’s while people danced and the club owner pounded a drum beat on the lid of the piano. We followed that set with some late night jazz. It is never dull that is for sure.

     I am very pleased to announce that this July and the beginning of August Leslie and I are going to play weekends at L’Hermitage Barriére Hôtel and Le Royal-Thalasso Barriere Hôtel in La Baule, France.  La Baule is on the Atlantic coast of France, so we will be spending our weekends away from Paris enjoying the beach during the day while playing jazz at night! Oh yeah

This is a shot from our hotel room at Le Royal-Thalasso Barriere Hôtel in La Baule taken last December when we last worked there.

      Marcy Vaj our violinist friend from L.A. is in town visiting. She took this beautiful photo in the neighborhood where she is staying in Paris. Many of you have plans to be in Paris in the upcoming months.  We are very excited to see you here so please everyone, let us know if you have plans to visit.  


We hope all is well for you and your families and please keep in touch. It is really good to hear from you.

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/





Leave a comment

Add comment