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From Jamming at the Ecuries du Roy to Watching Jamming at the Duc des Lombards

January 26, 2014

les ecuries du roy

les ecuries du roy

PARIS – There are times when a musician has to admit defeat and say, thus far and no further. Last night, after a fun, hang loose jam in the cellar room of a venue called Les Ecuries du Roy, we went over to the Ducs des Lombards and decided that the best policy was to sit, watch and appreciate the magical, astounding talent of the jazz masters.

I was with my friend Tonio Guegelin, whom I had met in Mannheim a couple of years ago, and who had accompanied me on his violin as we played in the central place of the town and recorded our jam for this blog – and for my challenge of 2012 of playing with local musicians in all of the 20 or so countries I visited that year. Tonio dropped by Paris this weekend looking for a jam, and I looked on my Facebook page to see if there was anything happening on a Saturday night, as there usually isn’t.

There I discovered that indeed there was a jam, an exceptional one, the ninth so-called “Concert Jam Experimental,” this time located at a bar not far from Chatelet, and called, “Les Ecuries du Roy,” located at 8 rue Bachaumont. It said that it was open to everyone and every kind of music, so that was the answer for Tonio and me. (Tonio plays everything from classical to jazz and pop.)

We went, and I soon discovered that the jam was organized and run by a friend I had met many years ago in a few other Paris open mics. I had some other Facebook friends there too. After one of the feature reggae bands of the night the stage was opened, and I took to the mic, Tonio to the violin, and soon another musician on keyboards, a woman whose name I never learned.

And Then on to the Amazing Jazz Jam of the Ducs des Lombards

We played for a while, there were other musicians, and then a kind of Latin music band. Tonio stayed up most of the jam accompanying everyone. The venue is very cool, a deep underground cave kind of place with the arched brick ceilings, and an environment that feels a little like a Gothic club – which I think it is sometimes used for.

Anyway, once that jam was finished at around 1:30 AM, it was time to pack it in – but I wanted Tonio to get a taste of the incredibly fantastic jazz jam at the Duc des Lombards, which happens every Saturday night (I think Friday too), and which has some of Paris’s hottest jazz musicians. It was also within a short walking distance of the Ecuries, and I had was pretty sure that Tonio – who is studying jazz – might love the jazz jam. When we got there, the playing was so hot, so advanced, so specifically avant garde – well, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, etc. – that it was clear instantly that I would not take part in, but just be there to listen and appreciate this particular style of name, and let the jazz pros do their thing.

Jazz Jam at the Duc des Lombards in Paris

March 12, 2011

I had heard about the jam session at the Duc des Lombards bar in Paris near Chatelet for some time. I had never ended up in the neighborhood on the Friday or Saturday of the jam – which starts at midnight – but last night on the suggestion of a friend with whom I’d just had a drink at the Café de la Paix, we went to check out the jam at the Duc des Lombards.

I am really glad I did. It told me two things: First, the quality was much higher than I expected, second, I would never find my place playing guitar or singing in the jam session of the Duc des Lombards. I had been told it was somewhat jazzy, and that was more than what it was. It was pure jazz. And it was fun, laid back, no cover charge great. The woman I went with told me that the last time she had gone it had not been quite the same level and it seemed just about anyone and everyone could and did go up. So maybe I just happened on a good night.

The bar, nicely and recently redesigned, has a very New York jazz bar kind of feel to it. But it was simplicity itself to walk in, find a place and listen, or talk. Sax players, trumpet players, guitarists, pianists, singers, drummers, upright bass players – all the elements were there. Even a young drunk or two in the audience of otherwise fairly respectful jazz lovers.

I highly recommend checking it out at least once.

Its location is kind of interesting too, as it is beside one of the Hideout bars and across the street from the Guinness Tavern, which I had also never been to and which we also checked out after the Duc des Lombards. But we stayed just long enough to listen to about half of a song of the rock band before we decided – mutually – to clear out. In any case, it was already 3 AM….

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