Leslie Lewis et Gérard Hagen "Bonjour de Paris" 9 September 2014

Bonjour de Paris ...

 Chers Amis, 

     As my students at Saddleback College would have said,“the trip to Morocco was epic”. The night before we left I was working with Jules Day, a singer we knew from L.A. who is also now in Paris. Leslie dropped by with some friends for the last set and losing track of time, we talked until around 2:00 am. When we got back to the apartment we had two hours to get packed and showered to be ready for the taxi that was picking us up at 4:00 am to leave for the airport.  Of course our 6:30 am flight was delayed for over an hour, but beyond that the flight was mercifully uneventful.  As we landed, Leslie and I both remarked that the landscape reminded us of Palm Springs, however the architecture is, of course, completely different. As expected what we were able to see of Marrakech was the area along the drive from the airport to the performance venue. That area of the city was best explained as blighted with a few spots where attention was paid to plants and gardens. This is the first time I’ve seen camels, donkeys and a goat on the drive into town from an airport. It is also the first time I’ve seen cars sharing the road with guys pulling carts. Or as Jerry Kalaf would say, “the 405 in a few years”.

Camels on the road to the venue.


Sharing the road with handcarts.   

    The performance venue was called Ksar Char-Bagh and described as a Moorish palace.  All I can say is I am glad to have photos because I couldn’t describe this place using words.  Upon entering the grounds we were greeted by a falcon sitting in a tree.  Preparations for the evening’s performance included red carpets on the sidewalks, uplighting of trees and large lanterns that would be lit by candles.


Entrance to the venue.


The performance venue.

     The suite where Leslie and I stayed had a living room w/ fireplace, office area, bedroom, marble bathtub and a walk in shower with room for around ten people.  There was an upstairs area that we didn’t take the time to visit. The main floor area alone was larger than our apt. in Paris.

The living room in our suite.

     The performance took place in the garden next to a pool. To my delight the piano they supplied was a Yamaha grand. It was very, very hot and the rehearsal took a long time because we needed to integrate some locals into the show who had never done it before. We were happy to have a little time to nap before dinner and the show.

Courtyard of the venue.  We performed in the garden/pool area in the back.


The pool area.

The Stage.

During the sound check.

Pre-show audience viewed from the piano.

    The guests dressed in the style of "The Great Gatsby". The performance went well until the very end.  The plan was to end the show with a segue from the band playing “The Charleston” to a DJ playing recorded dance music. Earlier in the day I had noticed a large canon like object backstage. Unfortunately I learned during the performance that it was a device that used a very large and noisy fan to blow gold strips of confetti into the air toward the audience.  I didn’t see them rolling it directly behind the piano during the last song.  When they lit the thing up it was like being in a small room with 50 vacuum cleaners being started simultaneously. Not only could I not hear any of the musicians, but soon the piano was covered in confetti so I could not find the piano keys! At that time the band was repeating a short section of “The Charleston”  waiting for the DJ to start, and I completely lost where we were in the song.  As I turned around to tune in the stage crew that had caused this meltdown they realized what happened, turned off the fan and quickly left. Beyond that, the show had gone well.  We slept for a very few hours and got up at 6:30 am for the flight back to Paris. Back in Paris that night we played at Monte Verdi, a new place for us which is located in Saint Germain des Prés. Saturday we played on a boat on the river Seine and Sunday Leslie did the Lido and than ran down to play with me at Chez Papa.  Looking forward to  finally sleeping a bit on Monday.

The confetti canon that disrupted my night!!!


Courtyard at night with candles.

Leslie and I at the entrance at night.

    At the moment we have many friends visiting or about to visit Paris.  There has been a pretty steady stream of friends for most of the summer.  We have really enjoyed the time we’ve been able to spend with you.  In July we were able to reconnect with Sam Harris. Leslie’s longtime friend from when they were in Nashville at the early stages of their careers. They hadn’t seen each other in many years. Sam has had a great career which took him from shows in L.A. to Broadway in N.Y. and recently he became an author with a book available on Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/Ham-Slices-Life-Essays-Stories-ebook/dp/B00BSBVFLS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410215770&sr=1-1&keywords=sam+harris+ham

     Speaking of longtime friends, Jerry Kalaf and Joey Sellers have both released new recordings of their original compositions.  Jerry has had many of his compositions placed in TV and films so you most likely have heard them without knowing it. I have recorded a number of his tunes on my trio CD’s.  His latest is called “Welcome to Earth”. It features a some of my favorite L.A. musicians.  Jerry has paid attention to all the details so the compositions are very well done and the sound quality is pristine.  His iTunes page is https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/jerry-kalaf/id86437837    Joey is an award winning composer who has written symphonies, chamber works, jazz compositions, big band charts, you name it. He leads a eleven piece group that is made up of first call L.A. players.  His CD was recorded live during a concert at Saddleback College.  It has all of the energy that is generated when musicians are performing improvised music in the moment.  Joey’s compositions are like mini suites with some very creative things going on.  This being Joey, you have to be prepared for some humor as evidenced by the title composition “Something About Butter”. His iTunes page is https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/joey-sellers-jazz-aggregation/id164049169   

You can also go to CDBaby.  By the way, Leslie and I are there as well.







Sorry about the shameless plugs.  

     In the previous newsletter I forgot to include these photos of the beautiful B&B where we stayed in Bruges.  Here are a couple of photos.  We hope to return sometime in the future.


View of the canal from our room.

    For those of you who live in France, this week we are at Monte Verdi in Paris on Thursday and Saturday at 8:00 pm. http://www.lemonteverdi.com/en/welcome   On Friday Leslie works with Ziggy Mandacé's Band at the Hotel Du Louvre at 9:00 pm.  http://parishoteldulouvre.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html  Please check www.surfcovejazz.com for details.

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/





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