June kicked off with an action-packed, music-filled night on the town. I caught a gig in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival, Marti and I took in our pal Christian Brenner’s gig at the Café Laurent (our default Left Bank hang, I think they’re ready to name a cocktail after us) and then seven of us hardcores went to late supper together.
The Festival gig was held at the swank Art Deco-on-acid Hotel Lutetia.
Christian’s squeeze Glaucia was my “date” for the concert by Serbian jazz pianist extraordinaire Bojan Z. I arrived at the hotel first, snagged us fourth row center seats in the beautiful Salon Président.
Bojan Zulfikarpašić (Бојан Зулфикарпашић). If you can pronounce that name, the next drink’s on me. Hence the stage moniker Bojan Z. Marti and I first heard him play at the Paris Jazz Festival in the Parc Floral. And I had caught him on Thursday afternoon doing a solo in-store mini-concert at FNAC Montparnasse. Thursday evening at the Café Laurent I decided to join Glaucia at this gig. He was great. A solo set on tricked-up Fender Rhodes and baby grand for the first part of his performance, then he was joined by Thomas Bramerie on bass and Fabrice Moreau on drums for a rousing jazz fusion finish to the concert. Below he describes the evolution of his latest CD Soul Shelter.
Immediately following his set Glaucia and I grabbed a taxi to the Café Laurent, where Christian was holding forth with the brothers Naturel -- Guillaume on flute and tenor sax and Gilles on bass – with drummer Fréderic Delestre rounding the quartet. Superb!
Marti had already arrived and killer bassist Jean-Pierre Rebillard turned up late in the last set. Glaucia (center) and I filled them in on our Bojan Z concert.
Hanging out for a second night at the Café Laurent were our new friends Tian Xue (back to camera) and Steven. They would be joining the 1 a.m. dinner crusade later.
The Boys and Girl from Brazil. By happy coincidence Glaucia’s jazz-loving Florianópolis neighbors João and Antonio had found their way to the Café Laurent the past two nights. In between sets in the courtyard I burned down one of Tio Fidel’s Montecristo Minis with these brothers and spoke about their fabulous island in Southern Brazil. Marti and I are laying plans to travel there with Glaucia and Christian next spring. Christian is already gigging there on a monthly basis. One look at the vid below and you’ll see they really didn’t have to twist our arms.
At Christian’s suggestion he, Glaucia, Tian Xue, Steven, Steven’s colleague Claudia, Marti and I crossed to the Right Bank to get dinner at Chez Denise-La Tour de Montlhéry, a resto with two names and late-night hospitality.
I’m down with any restaurant that serves me a lifetime supply of tripe in Calvados sauce in the wee hours of the morning. This is something like half the portion. There was no way I was gonna finish it but it was fun trying.
See how happy tripe and beautiful women make me?
We were a microcosm of the United Nations at this table. Besides double-threats Marti and me (U.S. and French), we had Steven, a French delegate and in this pic a very serious one, as well as Tian Xue from China.
Across the table were the Chilean representative Claudia wielding her digicam, Brasileira Glaucia and another Frenchie, Christian.
Oh, get a room already.
Claudia’s nom du scène is Penny Flame, perfect for her gig as lead singer for the Chilean punkbilly group TintoBrass PornoBand.