"Leslie Lewis & Gerard Hagen" Bonjour de Paris 30 Mars 2023

Bonjour de Paris...

Auto-correct strikes again! 
Leslie's text: "I really enjoyed the vegetarian men (nem)."

Chers Amis,

So tonight Leslie and I went to an art show that featured the work of Carole Benzaken.  http://www.carolebenzaken.net/  Her work was an interesting combination of panels depicting everyday scenes such as waterfronts, or high-rise buildings, but each panel was cut in such a way that only portions of the scene was visible.  Each panel stretched the length of five storeys inside the building.  The installation took place in the stairwell of two different buildings.  Each panel was doubled over and hung from the railing of the fifth floor stretching down to the ground floor making them the length of 10 floors. There was also a video which followed a similar idea in that the images were not complete. In fact they were reflections on water so as the waves moved, the images became distorted and were constantly changing. Often images that one would expect to see as being horizontal, such as ducks swimming on a pond, were shown as vertical in the video which further distorted the form. We were made aware of her show from bassist Jeff Littleton who knew her twenty some years ago when she was working in L.A. Jeff contacted us to let us know that we should be sure to see her work and we were glad that we did. As an added bonus as we made our way back home, we found a Chinese Restaurant that we liked not far from Gare du Nord. As far as restaurants go, we have pretty much anything we would want right in our neighbourhood, except a good Chinese place. And when I say good Chinese I mean a no frills, wear jeans and a T-shirt but really great food. Our friend Carol Penn, who has been to Paris many times, taught us this trick; when looking for a restaurant in Paris get off the main streets, walk down a side street and within a few blocks you will come across a really great restaurant. So far it's worked for us!

In February we had a similar experience when we met some artists from Barcelona who were exhibiting some of their work at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris. https://peinturealeau.com/  They happened to come to one of our concerts after which we had a chance to get to know them a little bit. By the end of our conversation, we were invited to their show. In case anyone is interested you can find them here: Victoria Rodrigo Gimeno www.victoriarodrigogimeno.com , Cinta F. Agell  www.agellgaleria.com , Esperanza Garcia Canari www.esperanzagarcia.biz  With over 500 artists represented in this exhibit, there was no way to see every thing that was on display. We only had one afternoon to spend there and it would have easily taken two days to see everything. One of the advantages of living in our neighbourhood is that we are constantly seeing new works of art on display in the windows of the many small galleries that we pass as we are running errands. When we lived in Laguna Beach, I was always struck by how many beautiful things I would see as I drove around town. There was usually a glimpse of the ocean or a garden in the front yard of someone's home. I think that this is not unusual no matter where one lives, as long as we pay attention. 


Leslie with artist Carole Benzaken.
This is the outside view of one the buildings where Carole's art was installed.  You can see the five storey building. She had a second installation in another building which was across the courtyard.  It was a very cool space.  
This is a view of the video which was viewable both inside the building and outside in courtyard.
This is taken from the fifth floor.  It is a typical Paris wintery day, no snow or rain, temperature in the 50's (Fahrenheit). In the background you can see la basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre.
Here is Leslie making the ascent to the fifth floor!


Work wise 2023 has begun on a good note for us. In January we had a nice concert with our quartet at Le Cercle Suédois in Paris followed by another nice moment for the Funky Ella band in February at Les 2 Pianos. We continue to stay very busy doing our monthly duo and trio concerts here in Paris. Speaking of our concerts in Paris, we had a nice surprise when Gwen Dunant and her friend Cindy (both from Toronto) came to hear us at Chez Papa Jazz Club. She and her husband Keith are often at our concerts here in Paris which we appreciate very much.
The Christmas Eve concert that we attended at l'Église de la Madeleine. 
New Year's Eve on the Champs Élysées. We were working, I pulled this image off of a French news site. I would have hated being there, too many people!
L'Arc de Triomphe on New Year's Eve.
Leslie at Chez Papa Jazz Club on New Year's Eve.
Gerard and Peter at Chez Papa Jazz Club "later" on New Year's Eve.
Since January we've made two more trips back to Saverne spending the weekend rehearsing for a concert that will take place this August.  After three trips there things are finally beginning to take shape.  We have yet to have the entire band together, but it has been enough to be able to hear what it will end up being. I have had a crash course in gospel piano, which has been very fun.  This past weekend was the first time I had a chance to play the concert with Rhoda Scott who wrote the arrangements and played the concert from memory, which doesn't seem that extraordinary until you consider that she hasn't played that music in a number of years. I don't mean just playing the accompaniment, I mean she was able to play all of the individuel vocal parts from memory as well. So this concert will be Rhoda (organ), me (piano), Thomas Derouineau (drums), Leslie (vocal soloist) and an 80 voice choir. The first half will be some trio music with Rhoda, Thomas and myself followed by quartet music with Leslie joining us.  The second half will be the quartet with the choir doing gospel music. There is no conductor so Leslie is managing most of that with me doing a little conducting from the piano. Leslie has risen to the occasion considering that she has never conducted anything before now. I am really looking forward to this concert. Just playing with Rhoda in rehearsal is fun. To have the chance to play trio and quartet music with her and Leslie in concert will be a nice opportunity that doesn't happen very often.
The above photos are from last weekend's rehearsals in Saverne, FR.
1.) Rhoda & Leslie before the rehearsal.
2.) The gospel choir waiting to rehearse the next song.

The Funky Ella Band has two weeks on a jazz cruise coming up in May. We have four concerts to play over a 13 day cruise so it's not like we are going to be burning the candle at both ends. We are going to Gibraltar, followed by Spain where we stop at Lanzarote and Cádiz. Then it's on to Barcelona and off to Funchal in Portugal, and finally in Morocco we stop in Agadir and Casablanca. These are all cool destinations, but my favorite days are the days at sea.   https://www.tmrfrance.com/voyage/croisiere/17eme-croisiere-jazz-en-mer/160/catalogue. Brochure: https://www.tmrfrance.com/admin/uploads/sejours/160_brochure_17eme-croisiere-jazz-en-mer.pdf   Shortly after we return from the cruise Funky Ella will hop in the van and head to Munster, FR to play the Munster Jazz Festival https://jazzmunster.fr/

The Funky Ella CD can be streamed on any number of platforms but the main ones are: 

"I Put A Spell On You" first recording by "Funky Ella". 
Funky Ella at Les 2 Pianos, février 2023.


Our calendar is available here: https://surfcovejazz.com/tour For those of you who are in Paris or if you are planning to be in Paris in April or May, Leslie is with pianist Laurent Marode at Café Laurent in Paris on April 5th.  https://www.hoteldaubusson.com/cafe-laurent  Leslie and I are at Chez Papa Jazz Club on April 6th. https://papajazzclub-paris.fr  Leslie travels to Amfreville-la-Mi-Voie on April 7th to play at the Centre Culturel Simone Signoret with organist Philippe Petit's group. April 13, 14 & 15 we are in Paris at Chez Papa Jazz Club.  https://papajazzclub-paris.fr  On the 14 & 15 we are with bassist Darryl Hall. On April 27 Leslie and I are back at Chez Papa Jazz Club.  From May 2nd -13th the Funky Ella band is on a jazz cruise. On May 18th we travel to Munster for the Munster Jazz Festival. https://jazzmunster.fr/  On May 25 we are working at Chez Papa Jazz Club as a duo and on May 26-27 we are there with bassist Bruno Rousselet. https://papajazzclub-paris.fr  So now you know where and when to find us. 


Leslie before the concert at Cercle Suédois in Paris janvier 2023".

Thank you for giving us your time and attention, we appreciate it very much. Please check our website for news and updates. While you are there please sign up for our weekly email to learn where you can hear us. http://www.surfcovejazz.com   If you have any comments feel free to contact me. I enjoy hearing from you. This email appears on our website where you may also comment. http://www.surfcovejazz.com/blog/ We hope that you are all healthy and looking forward to the arrival of spring.  As always thanks for staying in touch with us. 

Until next time,  Leslie et Gerard

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