Friday, July 10, 2009

A Song a Day - Court and Spark

today's song is track 3 on the album - Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell

Court and Spark is the amazing Joni Mitchell album where she begins to seriously indulge her interest in Jazz, weaving jazz chords and harmonies into a pop setting. It went to the #2 spot on billboard in 1974 and stayed there for a month. Its a beautiful album. But, oddly enough, the musicians who I worked with in France, being serious, serious jazz guys, had never heard of it, or heard this track. Which left us free to start afresh, so to speak. The word street rap was thrown around (in a very thick Parisian accent) and the guitarist edited down the chords to a basic blues progression, and then we come up with this arrangement - which, oddly enough, features serious jazz musicians taking a jazz inspired pop song and simplifying it and taking aspects of rap and blues and layering those on top. I'm still not sure what I think of it - one day I love it, since I get to hear the bones of the song anew, and the next day I think - 'what the hell were we thinking...'

you can always hear more from the album, and buy digital downloads of individual tracks at, or pick up a physical version of the CD by emailing me or dropping by

Monday, July 06, 2009

Jazz in Paris and live jazz clubs in Paris for the last weeks of July

A quick run down on another festival and an update on what's up with the clubs in the next two weeks. We've had a blast of hot weather in the last two weeks, so either the cool paris jazz club basements have been great to escape into, or the clubs that feature a little bit of air conditioning (not a standard feature in Paris) have been very popular!

A couple of upcoming highlights
Sophia Domancich is playing at L'Archipel on the 11th of July (,
17 bd de Strasbourg – 75010 Paris Metro Strasbourg / St Denis)

- you can hear her new work HERE.

Sophia has spent years in the jazz world, often working with West Indian and African singers and has jammed with players like Bobby Few and Steve Lacy. She's spent a decade working with some of the top players in the British Scene. I like her work a lot - its dramatic and almost orchestral and filled with emotion without being sentimental or losing any sense of musicality. She'd be a top pick for the upcoming week.

And we might as well keep things in a feminine note - ongoing at Sunset/Sunside there's the American Music Festival (which, confuses me since that's mostly what they play at Sunset Sunside, but whatever...) featuring Monica Passos, who is actually riffing on Brazilian and south american forms - she's an upbeat funky samba inspired singer currently based in Paris - check out her work HERE

Or watch her shake her circus thing here -

And ongoing in the summer festival update - I live up in the 18th Arrondisement in Paris, which is where real people live in Paris (I know, I know that's small minded and biased....) and we have our own wonderful fest up here 'Music and Gardens'

If you want to get out into Paris and see the Parisians in their most relaxed and community orientated I recommend this highly. Great music, families, wine and cheese and lovely settings in the old parks of Montmartre. I'll post the complete schedule in our 'What's On' Page, but check out Elise Dabrowski, in the Jardin of the Museum of Montmartre at 5pm (17h) on the 11th of July - its free, its lovely, and you get the added advantage of wandering through some of the most beautiful streets in the city.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Song a Day - 'Again'

today's song is (logically enough) track 2 on the album - Again by Lionel Newman

I fell in love with the song when I heard Mel Torme's version. I love the long and complex melodic lines and the enigmatic, ironic text. We were playing around with this and finally Thierry (who is from Madagascar and has played with Brazilian bands) suggested a slight Samba rhythm on the drums. Benoit joined in and suddenly we had this uptempo lilting version.

Apparently the song comes from a 1937 gangster movie called roadhouse, which is described as a 'noir cabaret'. I have yet to find a copy, but I'd love to see it one day.

you can always hear more from the album, and buy digital downloads of individual tracks at, or pick up a physical version of the CD by emailing me or dropping by