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The Unexpected at the Imprévu and Other Nights in Paris

February 16, 2016
bradspurgeon

L'Imprévu bar

L’Imprévu bar

PARIS – Ever since the Baroc open mic ended with the closing of that fabulous dive bar in Belleville, there has been a huge hole poked in the Paris open mic/jam scene. If first impressions are everything, then the new open mic/jam session at the Imprévu bar on Saturday night could fill that void.

The bar has the advantage of being located just a few doors up the street on the same street – Rue Sambre et Meuse – where the former Baroc (now looking really dead) was located. It has the other advantage of having nearly the same kind of dive bar feel to it, and the final advantage of having a very high percentage of the same musicians and spectators from the Baroc in attendance. It was clear from my experience on Saturday evening that everyone in that place was looking for the “Baroc experience.”
Wild moment of jam at Imprevu

This open mic is run by Ivan, who occasionally – but far from regularly – took place in the Baroc open mic. The biggest difference that I can see – and it is one that could entirely put the lie to my thesis – is that although the Imprévu open mic and jam calls itself an open mic as well as a jam, the accent is clearly, wildly, on the jam side of things. So there could be a lot of musicians who like to play solo who will, in the end, not take part.
More imprevu

But on Saturday, the first night, it was wildness itself during the jam, and it was open mic to start with, and I don’t think anyone left the place really disappointed. I’ve rarely seen such a wild atmosphere. And the owner/manager/whatever behind the bar, made not a single comment about the craziness. And that will be the final factor as to whether or not it takes off.
Yet more imprevu

I had a great time playing with a keyboard player, a bass player (two different ones), drummer, cajon, and various other instruments, evening managing to get through my song Borderline with these people, most of whom had never played with me on it, or heard it. All a great, great sign of things to come. But it is true that frequently, the first night of an open mic can be the best, before they fall into whatever….
Karina at Imprevu

And even the suburbs can have swinging open mics….

Oh, yes, and earlier in the week – on Thursday night – I also tried another new open mic and to my absolute delight, but not total surprise, it was a huge success, a fabulous evening of fun. I wasn’t all together surprised since it was run by Stephen Saxo and Andy Bone, who have proven that they know how to officiate an open mic, with their Green Linnet open mic in Paris. But the big question on Thursday was whether it was worth going all the way out to the distant, posh, Paris suburb of St. Germain-en-Laye for this thing.
Post Jam at Imprevu

The answer, at least in terms of the fun to be had behind the mic – with fine sound system, and wonderful hosting, and a big crowd of locals and Parisians – was YES. That the open mic took place in one of the O’Sullivan’s pubs – there is a chain of them in France – ensured also that it would have a very good base of fun ensured. It will be run on Thursdays, but alternate occasionally with gigs by other musicians booked by Stephen. So I suggest you keep your eyes open on this one, and if you live out there somewhere on that other planet known as the banlieue, GO!
More post jam at Imprevu

And finally, or rather, firstly (as I’m going back in time here), I also made the rounds last Monday of the three open mics I mentioned a few weeks ago: The Some Girls on rue de Lappe followed by the Yellow Mad Monkey on the rue de Lappe and finishing off with the Chez Louis jam at Madame Louis on the Ile St. Louis. I was too late to play at the Yellow Mad Monkey, but I did get a few songs in at the Some Girls. The most fun this time turned out to be in the jam at Madame Louis, though, where despite arriving very late, I still got up to play, and found an old acquaintance on sax whom I met and played with frequently in the past at…the Baroc in Belleville…..
Jimi’s it at O’Sullivans

Bit o jam at O’Sullivan’s

Another bit o jam at O’Sullivan’s

Yet more jam at Madame Louis

More jam at Madame Louis

And more again at Madame Louis

More from Yellow Mad Monkey

More at Some Girls

Jamming at Madame Louis

Bit o Yellow Mad Monkey

Bit o someone else at Some Girls

Bit o Ollie at Some Girls

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