Thursday, April 26, 2007

Red Velvet Jazz Festival in St. Germain des Pres

Spent Tuesday night in the cellar of the normally 'members only' Castel club for the launch of the annual FESTIVAL JAZZ A SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRES (see our listings page for links and details). It was surreal scene of velvet wallpaper, vaulted ceilings and an open bar serving gin & tonics with miniature macaroons...not sure what all the cookies had to do with jazz but eventually there was a mini-concert by New Zealand pianist Aron Ottignon (who'll be playing the Fest) and a speech by Frédéric Charbaut, the director of the festival.

Congrats to Aron for pulling off an impressive little gig in spite of fighting a terrible thrashed electric piano--with the sound pumped through the house disco system. Aron's playing has been described as 'testosterone fuelled Rachmaninov-goes-jazz that will take your breath away'--you can decide for yourself at the Showcase (the bar under Pont Alexandre III) on May 17th.

What's exciting about the St-Germain Fest is its great mix of contemporary & traditional artists, including new talent showcases, daytime events (like the innovative Jazz Bus) AND a slew of free shows. Looking forward to spending some time in Saint-Germain starting next week...

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