Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Jazz in Paris, the City of Lights

sooooo... the end of the year, and you're in Paris for Christmas (very romantic!) or the new year (very very romantic) and looking for some Live Jazz in Paris, or some Jazz clubs and cafes in Paris. OK...

Why don't I start off with a slightly sideways recommendation. Why don't you perform some jazz in Paris? Bring your instrument and attend one of the many jazz jams in the city. Or just bring your voice, and three copies of the music of any standard you want to groove on - there is a Vocal Jam at the Le Baiser Salé at 10pm on Dec 23rd.

Or you can use the search function at this website to find the type of music you want (just warning you, its all in French, but I think the search and styles options are pretty obvious). Or if its Django Jam you're looking for then on Dec 26th at 8pm the Cafe i (156 rue du faubourg St Martin, 75010 Paris) has a Boef (a jam in French) where you can work out your gypsy chops. All the Jams are very laid back affairs and they're just delighted to get players in.

But, if getting up on stage isn't your thing, then here are some listening ideas for the rest of the year (all 8 days of it!)

At the Duc Des Lombards Rene Urtreger will be playing on the 29th and 30th. He was the pianist of choice of visiting jazz greats during the 1950's. He played for Lionel Hampton, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Lester Young and Miles Davis. It should be a chance to catch a bit of history on stage. Here's a lovely Youtube clip of him in great form playing a fab standard

and on the 30th and 31st I'll take a chance and recommend Olivier Temine at Sunset/Sunside at 10pm. I've reviewed his concerts before and honestly sometimes I find his mohawked persona a bit much, but there's no faulting his players or professionalism, so I think it'll be a show well worth seeing. The line up will be Jérôme Barde – bardophone ; Emmanuel Duprey – fender rhodes ; Akim Bournane – basse ; Arnold Muezza – percussions ; Julien Charlet – batterie ; Olivier Temine – sax tenor

and then, after the 10pm show on the 31st, if you've planned ahead, then perhaps there's a tiny bottle of champagne tucked in someone's purse or bag, and you are a five minute walk from the bridge over the Seine with one of the best views in the entire world. So I would make haste to any of the bridges and join the gangs of folk bringing in the New Year, and pop a cork into the muddy waters of the river (no doubt to join several centuries of other corks floating around down there....)


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas in Paris, Live Jazz over the Holidays

So you're arriving in the city of lights and looking for live jazz clubs in Paris and a chance to see the see some great music in Paris. But you're arriving over the holidays and you're concerned that the bars and clubs will be closing down for the season? Well don't worry, there's lots going and some great players. Unlike August, when Parisians desert the city and leave it to the Tourists and the poverty stricken (those can sometimes be the same, with the prices in the city!) at Xmas the city spends a lot of time out enjoying itself.

And its one of the rare times of year when you'll see a Parisian having an extra couple of drinks and getting a bit tipsy - the metros can become very entertaining!!

anyway - there's lots going on.. so I'll put a couple of picks here for the upcoming week or so, then if you want to check out listings yourself go over to our Venues page.

First, up to the 20th of December there's the ongoing Triton jazz festival.

its a nice venue, just over the edge of the Peripherique, so a little off the beaten track, but very accessible by metro. Personally I'm excited to have the chance to see the combination of the Balafon (an african wooden marimba) played by the Burkina Faso master Moussa Hema, combined with the quartet of Francois Merville. Click here for a sample of Moussa's playing

And although there are lots of big names at the Clubs, don't forget to check out the many jazz jams around the city. Its very free form, but you'll see some of the most amazing players in the city (For Free!) working out their chops with their friends - its a wonderful vibe, and different clubs specialize in different styles. There's a classic night at the Duc des Lombards on Dec 12th at midnight. And personally I LOVE the Jazz Groove Jam at the Caveau des Oubliettes every wednesday night - its where the spirit of Eddie Harris, one my heroes, lives on

(I recommend it especially now they've outlawed smoking in the bars -previously you'd have to schedule half hour breaks just to step out of the cellar to get some oxygen in your lungs!)

Enjoy - I'll put more details for Xmas up next weekend...