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.