There are many different views of Paris. The one I’m getting is from a Franco-British jazz meeting and showcase, organised by Jazz Services and the French Music Office and assisted by UK Trade and Investment and several French funding bodies including SACEM and CNV.
It’s taking place as part of the Banlieues Bleues Festival, at a purpose-built jazz venue called La Dynamo in the North-East of Paris. Great building, a converted 19th century sack factory transformed into a cosy venue by architects Peripherique.
The music from Britain last night was a joyous set from Zoe Rahman ‘s Quartet, plus Jason Yarde with Andrew McCormack.
And the Talleyrand prize for brilliant diplomacy goes to Jason Yarde who prefaced a consistently high-quality set with the following remark:
“I’m going to keep my French to a minimum. Because it’s such a beautiful language.” Nice. Pronounced nice.
Zoe Rahman was also fulfilling diplomatic duties with panache: she complimented the large proportion of the audience who confirmed that they had heard of Rabindranath Tagore with : “this is such a cultured country.”
There are dynamic, fantastically energetic people here from places like Reims and Nantes and La Rochelle. Selwyn Harris and Tony Dudley-Evans explained the British scene thoroughly, and well. Antoine Bos talked us through the complexity of the French Festival scene.
There are, however, some cultural differences. Take the curious French phrase “travail dissimulé.” In Britain it’s the absolute lifeblood of jazz. And we call it volunteering.