|Volunteered Slaves at the Duc Des Lombards|
That’s how to do it: twenty-three venues which present jazz all over the Paris region have an umbrella marketing organisation callled Paris Jazz Club with a handful of permanent staff. Paris Jazz Club is supported by the region of Ile de France, and others. It produces publications including a good clear twenty-four page guide to alll the activity in the memberclubs and more. PJC builds visibility for the clubs throughout the year, and is currently promoting a festival including 180 concerts (for which they borrow two extra venues). Londoners can just dream…if only.
The heart of the action is in the area around the rue des Lombards in the 1st arrondissement, and that is where the plan for Paris Jazz Club started, but these days the association includes a club as far away as the idyllic tranquillity (as painted by Van Gogh) of Auvers-sur-Oise. There are the Paris equivalents of the Vortex in hip areas: la Dynamo in Pantin and the Triton in Les Lilas A curious absence is the Caveau de la Huchette, recently immortalized by La La Land…but there is bound to be a reason…..
Last night was showcase night. Eighteen bands in six venues. Official start times for the three sets in each of the venues were 8pm, 9pm and 10pm, but we very quickly drifted into jazz time and I saw the beginning of a 10pm set …which was getting under way at 10 45pm.
|Didier Lockwood (centre) with Auxane Cartigny and Fhima|
For me the most rewarding and interesting set (I also somehow managed to snag the best seat in the house in the Duc des Lombards!) was the trio of 21-year old pianist Auxane Cartigny with bassist Samuel Fhima and drummer Tiss Rodriguez. They are all current students at the Centre Des Musiques Didier Lockwood (known as CMDL) based just outside Melun. Cartigny has absorbed all the melodic persuasiveness of Keith Jarrett and, mercifully, not a single one of the mannerisms. He is a musical rather than a flashy player, and he is clearly putting the work in to establishing a trio that can prove durable. Two of the eminences at the CMDL are pianist Benoît Sourisse piano and drummer André Charlier and one senses the experience, particularly of accompanying of finding and progressing contrasting levels of volume and intensity, of mood and dramaturgy in music being ingrained into these highly talented young players.
The eponymous founder of the school Didier Lockwood came on as star guest. He played Some Day My Prince Will Come as an opener, dealing with recalcitrant pegs on his instrument, but nevertheless producing that lightness and all the half-shade and delays and glanced notes and total flexibility he does so well, but then ramped up the intensity to eleven – and fixed it there – for an anthemic original composition. The young trio knew exactly what was expected and matched his mood. Lockwood also announced that after a ten year gap he has a new album on Sony on its way in November. In the meantime I shall go back to his masterful Grappelli tribute from 2000, the essential Les Valseuses.
L-R Mathias Lévy, Jean-Philippe Viret, Sébastien Giniaux
Another set I witnessed was a Grappelli tribute by violinist Mathias Lévy, guitarist / cellist Sébastien Giniaux, and bassist Jean-Philippe Viret. Viret worked with Grappelli towards the end of his life, Lévy was able to borrow a Grappelli violin to make the recording, so the project has a direct lineage. Lévy’s instinct is to go further into classical territory, finding comfort in a more or less straight rendition of the Bach double concerto.
|Makaya McCraven (far left) with Antoine Berjeaut and Julien Lourau|
The contrast to the next band in the same room could not have been greater. The “Scientific Beat” project of life-force drummer Makaya McCraven with that very inventive trumpeter/composer Antoine Berjeaut with saxophonist Julien Lourau was producing astonishing music (more please), but in the tiny confines of the upstairs room of the Baiser Salé, they were ear-shatteringly loud.
I was also able to catch the early skirmishes of an infectiously charismatic band Volunteered Slaves with a lively Chicago slam poet called Allonymous out front, and a lot of experience deep in the engine room from veteran bassist Akim Bournane. A great end to the evening.