Leslie Lewis et Gérard Hagen "Notes de Jazz de Paris". 9 Octobre 2013


 Le Jazz Cette Semaine ...


Chers Amis, 

    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/

    Autumn in Paris has become my favorite time.  Everyone writes songs about spring time in Paris. But for me I like the fall. Even though winter follows and I generally dislike winter, still there is something very beautiful about Paris during this time of year.  Leslie and I were fortunate to have Gabriela, our photographer friend, invite us to Montmartre to shoot some photos last week.  I’ve included a few of them on our Facebook band page. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a683134965044163.1073741828.151399944884337&type=3


Here is a shot of us in Montmartre. Gabriela Rosa Da Silva-Photographer

    This past Saturday in Paris was the Nuit Blanche (white night) Festival.  http://www.paris.fr/accueil/accueil-paris-fr/nuit-blanche-2013-decouvrez-le-programme/rub_1_actu_135314_port_24329 All over town the museums, auditoriums, galleries, churches open their doors from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am to host concerts, art installations, art shows, films, street art, etc. Some of the jazz clubs had music going till 4:00 am. I should mention it is all free.  We made it until about 3:00 am. It was very cool to be out and about on a night that has so much energy and opportunity.  The streets were packed and the cafes were jammed.  We took the night bus back home. The night bus is, shall we say, colorful anytime you ride it, but on this particular night colorful is not a strong enough word. It was more like being in a zoo.  A very cramped zoo!

    The month of September just flew by!  It is a bit scary how easy it is to loose track of days. Leslie was running like crazy for much of September.  Aside from the work we did together and our teaching, she did three nights at Le Caveau de la Huchette with an organ trio. Philippe Petit, one of our favorite musicians in Paris was playing organ. I was able to catch a few sets one night and I can attest that the band sounded great. Le Caveau de la Huchette has been operating as a jazz club since the second war ended.  It is a very interesting place to work.  There is a gothic feel in the basement room which is, as the French say, “the cave”!  I have been there in the afternoon for a rehearsal and found there is kind of a creepy feeling in the room. Only later did I learn it has be documented that in earlier centuries the building was a meeting place for the Templars and later a Masonic Lodge. At that time it was used for trials and executions. So there are rooms that were courtrooms, prisons and execution chambers! Thence the creepy feeling that one sometimes feels in the space.  A few decades of people enjoying music in that space must have had an effect because at night when the place is full and people are dancing to the music all of that goes away.  Leslie also did a road trip to Nantes and worked there with a local rhythm section.  They did a concert in a castle for a group of jazz fans from the area. The owner of the castle built and home for himself on the same property and rents out the space for special events.   

    As it turns out, we often work here as a duo. When a performance requires more people we expand the group as needed.  Having had the opportunity to work with quite a few musicians we find ourselves adding people according to their musical personality as opposed to which instrument they play. (Recently we did a club date with piano, drums and voice.) In California we were blessed to get our regular band for most of our work. That allowed for a sense of security. But here in Paris we have become used to this new way of working and it does provide for some very surprising and sometimes magical moments on the bandstand.  The key is the combination of musical personalities. Sort of like planning a great dinner party!  Our duo has become the core of our musical identity and it becomes up to the other players to find a way to integrate themselves into the performance. That is where the musical personality of the player becomes so important. Fortunately we have found a number of bassists and drummers in Paris that we like to work with. Which brings me to our December trip to Japan. We are getting things ready for that tour. The travel arrangements are done, the documentation for work visas is being assembled, we are preparing the set lists and getting the arrangements ready to send to the bassists and drummers in Japan that we will work with. Once again putting things together with unknown musicians in a very short time and hoping for some unexpected moments of musical magic!

    Okay, I have resisted bringing up this topic again but... now this has become absurd.  Leslie still has not received her social security number!  I received mine last April. Having started the process last November, we have been to that office fifteen times! We have submitted the paperwork three, maybe four times!  Somehow or other they can’t seem to process Leslie’s number. She has now lost her monthly job singing at the Hotel du Louvre because they are no longer willing to hire her with a  provisional number!  In many, many ways this is a great place to live and work, in fact it is inspiring, but dealing with the bureaucracy is unbelievably difficult! There maybe a joke in there somewhere but I am not that funny.

    For those of you who live in France, this week we are at Chez Papa Jazz Club http://www.papajazzclub.fr in Paris on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 10th -11th & 12th. Friday and Saturday we are working there with bassist Pierre Boussaguet. He works with Michel Legrand and many other well know musicians here in France. We will be at the Jazz Club Etoile http://www.jazzclub-paris.com at the Meridien Hotel in Paris on October, 16th & 17th with Olivier Defays quintet.  On October 22nd we travel just outside of Paris with bassist Patrice Soler and drummer Thierry Tardieu to play on  the Eaubonne Jazz Concert series. http://eaubonne.jazz.free.fr/new/index.php We travel back to La Baule, France to work as a duo at the Hotel Royal on October 27th-28th & 29th.  Leslie is at La Ragueneau in Paris with Clément Blumen’s trio on October, 25th. http://www.ragueneau.fr/actualites/2012/soirees-jazz-a-paris.php


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Until next time ... 

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