Paris Sessions and The Good Life
In September 2013 I was on tour in Paris, France with my May release of FIG TREE! It was a delicious, beautiful, dreamy and very memorable musical time. I was thrilled to be reunited with my stellar French band - Alain Jean-Marie on piano, Gilles Naturel on contrebass, and Elisabeth Keledjian on drums.
I arrived in Paris on Friday, September 13 (sounds ominous but it worked out!) took a taxi to Montmartre (the 18th Arrondissement where the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur resides) where I'd be living for the next sixteen days! The taxi dropped me in front of a broken down yet charming looking building, where I carried my 55 pound baggage up three flights of narrow Parisian stairs, and after reveling in the view out of the living room window on to a neighbor's garden, I settled in to my pied-à-terre.
My good friend and bandmate, Elisabeth, was extremely kind and borrowed a keyboard which she delivered to me that very afternoon! I vocalized everyday and ran through the sets - it felt so good to be in Paris again, making music.
The last time I was in Paris on tour was 2009 with my Sophomore disc, LIFELINE, and my husband, Don, and I stayed in Barbes which is only a five minute walk from the Montmartre apartment so it didn't occur to me that I might need a map of the area, let alone Paris. I thought it would be easy to find my way around simply by checking it out first on line (if I remembered to do it) and then I'd just ask (my French is fairly decent) and I'd have no problems. When I set out on Sunday for our rehearsal before playing at Sunside on Monday, September 16, I simply winged it. The bass player lives in Chinatown and he told me which line and stop. Easy. When I arrived at the correct metro station I asked at the information booth which direction to walk and they happily pointed me in the opposite direction (not on purpose) (really). After fifteen minutes of walking up and down the street, asking for help, I broke down and bought a city map (which has extremely tiny print). It came in very handy! I did make it to the rehearsal after a few more mishaps where I was locked in a building vestibule (I thought ) and started to hyperventilate (I did not activate my phone for calls and it only worked with wi fi) but then discovered (with beads of sweat on my brow) the small button located on the wall opposite the door that released the lock. Oh la.
All five of our gigs were filled with great audiences and we made beautiful music together. My Aunt Susan and her partner, MaryLou, came to Paris from California(!) to be 'in it' with me, and they were amazing roadies and beloved family members! The band loved these two stalwart women and we all had a truly fun, meaningful and memorable adventure together.
My husband, Don, arrived exactly one week later for my third gig at Atelier de la Main d'Or where I played in trio with Alain and Gilles. It was a full house with friends, family and new fans! I'll post video soon of my Paris performances.
Basically everyday was a highlight. We were in Paris. Don is an architect and so we happily examined each building, monument, bridge, and public square. Daily we ate freshly baked baguettes, inexpensive and delicious wines, freshest of vegetables, a lot of incredible cheese and visited with our dear friends.
On September 26 and 27 Alain, Gilles and i recorded my fourth album at Les Studios de Meudon. The Studio is quite big with two grand pianos - Fazioli and Steinway. The skylights add a certain 'Je ne sais quoi' to the ambiance and our engineer and his assistant made the sessions run very smoothly.
These sessions were very different for me because I wasn't going in with set ideas of how we should play the tunes. No specific arrangements. We had been playing together for the past two weeks and making discoveries along the way, which we brought in to the studio. Alain Jean-Marie is a highly regarded jazz pianist in France, Guadeloupe and Europe and I am honored to tell you that we have been friends since 2004 when I played my Paris debut at Sept Lézards with TOWARD LOVE.
It has always been a dream and goal of mine to record with Alain. Our rapport on this disc is very delicate and personal, and at times quite precise and strong.
As we get closer to the release date, of this yet unnamed album, I will let everyone know!
Vive la France!