Jazz in Paris: Happy Birthday, Duke!

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There is a duke
in Paris and he’s celebrating his 20th birthday. On rue des Lombards,
one of the serpentine, animated, pedestrian streets near Châtelet,
there are arguably the best jazz clubs in Paris, but it is the
velvet-cloaked Duc des Lombards that reins for many adulates.

The
Left Bank’s dominance as the court of jazz is honorably challenged as
the new generation of bold, innovative talent pledges their allegiance
to such welcoming places as the Duc des Lombards and its courtly
neighbors, Sunset, Sunside and New Morning. While the music industry is
floundering, and running a jazz club has traditionally been a
precarious business, these places and their neighbors are catering to a
niche of knowledgeable fans that refuse to be satiated.

In
fact, their appetites for the traditional heart and soul music of Black
America is growing as the French are throwing their arms wide to
embrace a new generation of musicians and new styles of jazz. True,
Parisian jazz clubs have an easier time drawing crowds to hear genuine
Americans musicians, playing real American jazz (and with dollar being
so weak, players from the other side of the pond are much more
affordable than usual). Still, more and more places are finding that
jazz in Paris is becoming a multi-colored, multi-national,
multi-influenced genre. As world music and new ways of producing music
are being incorporated, the sophisticated French audience is looking
beyond the American roots of jazz to its future possibilities.

Still,
clubs like the Duc des Lombards carry on the tradition of shadowy,
intimate, lounges. They succeed time and time again to garner the best
musicians, from an international mix, for memorable–and usually
sold-out–evenings of golden jazz. And it is all waiting for you,
wrapped in a little velvet jewel box, in the heart of Paris.

Happy Birthday Duc!

Information
listed below is intended as a guide. Be sure to call ahead to confirm
the hours and prices, as such things often change.

Here are some Paris jazz clubs that are known for their excellent programming:

Le Duc des Lombards
42, rue des Lombards, 75001. Métro: Châtelet-Les Halles.
Phone: 01-42-33-22-88
www.jazzvalley.com/duc (in French only)

Open
every day from 7:30 pm to 3:00 am (till 5:00 am weekends). Closed every
other Sunday. Concerts begin at 9:00PM. Visit the website to see the
headliners for the birthday celebrations.

Sunset and Sunside
60 Rue des Lombards, 75001. Métro: Châtelet-Les Halles.
Phone: 01 40 26 46 60

Concerts
generally start at 9PM; after hours jazz lounge at Sunside until 4AM.
The Sunset is downstairs, where you will find amplified blues, rock and
world music, while Sunside is street-side and has acoustic jazz and a
great grand piano. Stéphane Portet, who books and manages both, works
hard to make it all happen and has his fingertips on the rhythm of
today’s jazz trends.

Baiser Salé
28 Rue des Lombards, 75001. Métro: Châtelet-Les Halles.
Phone: 01 42 33 37 31

This small club seats 80 people and is known for its mostly Latin or Afro Jazz sessions.

New Morning
7 Rue des Petites Ecuries, 75010. Métro: Chateau d’Eau.
Phone: 01 45 23 56 39.
Programme/Reservations: 01 45 23 51 41
www.newmorning.com

New
Morning is slightly older than the Duc (celebrating its 23rd birthday
this November) but like fine wine…The spirits of Dizzy Gillespie, Chet
Baker and Stan Getz clearly linger in this legendary spot where they
once played. Today, the new greats are making their own legends here,
such as Wynton Marsalis who stirred things up during his concert last
summer.

Quai du blues (or Maxwell Café)
17 bd Vital-Bouhot, 92200 Neuilly.
Métro: Pont de Neuilly, line 1 or Pont de Levallois, line 3.
Phone: 01 46 24 06 11 or 01 46 24 22 00
www.maxwellcafe.com (in English and French)

Located
on Jatte island, this venue is dedicated to American rhythm and blues
and is known for attracting the best of the best performers. It opens
at 8:30PM on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Dinner, français, is
available between 9 and 11PM or later with reservations.

Guinguette Pirate
Quai de la Gare, 75013 (across from 11 Quai François Mauriac).
Métro: Quai de la Gare, line 6 or Bibliothèque, line 14.
Phone: 01-56-29-10-20
www.ginguettepirate.com (in French only)

A
wide variety of music is offered here from jazz to world eclectic
sound, all on a gently rocking, ancient Chinese boat. Warm and eclectic
ambience guaranteed!

Le Petit Journal Montparnasse
13, rue du Commandant Mouchotte, 75014
Métro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue, line 4,6,12 and 13.
Phone: 01 43 21 56 70
www.petitjournal-montparnsse.com (in English and French)

Open 8:30 to 2AM, concerts starting at 10PM.

On
the ground floor of the Méridien Hotel this club offers a night of
dinner and jazz in a New Orleans style setting. Musicians tend to be
loyal to this spot because they know there will be an appreciative
crowd waiting for them every time.

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