Leslie Lewis et Gérard Hagen "Bonjour de Paris" 8 March 2015

Bonjour de Paris ...

Chers Amis,

We have had a great past few weeks.  So busy that everything seems a blur.  We did a mini-tour with Jerry Kalaf (the drummer in my L.A. trio for seventeen years) and Bruno Rousselet one of our favorite bassists in Paris. We played six concerts. Two in Paris and four in the Auvergne region of France as part of the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival.


Leslie talks to friends after our first concert with Jerry in Paris.


 Jerry and Bruno on the train to the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival, Auvergne region, France.

After concert dinner of meat and potatoes, which was later covered in steaming Saint Nectaire cheese!  Oh yeah we did!

It was great fun to work together again and we had a wonderful hang when not working.  Louis Durra a pianist friend from L.A. who now resides in Berlin came to Paris for a few days so naturally we had to compare our European experiences and reminisce with our L.A. stories. Those of you who know Jerry know that he is an avid jogger as well as walker. Over the years we spent many breaks during our gigs walking around the neighborhoods where we were working. There have been, on occasion, some monumental walks. Two that come to mind happened when we were working in San Francisco and London. But the last Sunday Jerry was in Paris was way over the top to the point where Louis named the walk “The Kalaf Death March”. For those of you who know Paris, we started in Saint Germain des Prés and walked to Montmartre and up the hill to Sacré-Cœur. We walked down the hill behind Sacré-Cœur and from there we proceeded to Place de la Bastille. The few times we asked for directions we were given directions to the closest metro station. We couldn’t get anyone to understand we planned on walking rather than using transportation. Leslie and Sarah, our artist friend from Ohio, were much more sensible. They took transportation to meet us a pre-determined locations. The up side was that we really had built up an appetite for dinner (not that having an appetite has ever been a problem for me), and we had a great time talking during the walk. 

 Gerard, Jerry and Louis at Sacré-Cœur, on the "death march".

The Sancy Snow Festival is a week long series of concerts in many venues in the Auvergne region of France. The towns and villages are also popular with skiers during this time of year.  We saw a number of musician friends from Paris who were working with other bands at the festival and met some folks we didn’t know.  The audiences were very receptive and we got to speak with many of them after the show. It snowed the night before we left so the next day there was a gorgeous dusting of snow on the tree branches. Growing up in North Dakota cured me of wanting anything to do with snow, but this was really a beautiful scene and we got to experience it on our way out of town!



Sancy Snow Jazz Festival.


Leaving the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival!

That event was followed by a great opportunity to have lunch with Lynn, Frank, Judy and Wes our friends from O.C. Lynn and Judy have been very successful with a series of concerts both in California and New York. They have plans for Paris and we are very excited about that.

Leslie and I took two days off for a trip to Chartres to get ourselves out of Paris to try and relax a bit. It was a wonderful idea except that we should have made it three or maybe four days!  We did manage to spend about an afternoon without mentioning work. We also realized, once again, that we need to have a better balance between work and play. This is a challenge when your work is something you love to do.


Chartes, France. Très belle!!

Next week we are in Dijon for three nights but the rest of March we are home in Paris doing gigs that are, for the most part, within walking distance of our apartment.

Leslie received a phone call from Sunside/Sunset Jazz Club.  They offered her a date at the club as part of a “Hommage à Billie HOLIDAY”  concert series. The really cool part of this story is that they called her.  This might seem insignificant to some but… the people who book these clubs receive a daily average of 30-40 phone calls and even more emails and texts from musicians looking for work.  They don’t generally call musicians to offer them dates. So this was a welcome change and one more reason for me to be proud of my wife. We will be there on April, 5th with bassist Bruno Rousselet and drummer Mourad Benhammou. Leslie and I are starting to work on the material for that concert.  We are really excited about the possibilities for some great music that night. 

Please stay in touch we always love 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/






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