Paris, France – Olympia – 2015

Paris, France – Olympia – 2015

Here we go again. Hip hip hurrah! Super! Wonderful!!! I’ve said it before and probably will forever, Paris, along with Rome, Munich, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, are serious centers for music in this sector of the universe. Lady Gaga and Yo-Yo Ma want to get it right in these places. So do I.

We nailed it at Olympia. Grand Slam. Straight away center field out of the park! All the extra curricular surrounding the Olympia, the epitome of performance venues, is CRAZY. Everyone you’ve ever known since 1977 will be there to say “hello” and “can we talk?!”. And so you do as much as you can…in fact, more than you can. But you maintain focus and ask your manager to take up some of the slack and pressure. He’s good at that.

The Olympia has red velvet seats with a wrap around balcony, and the first row could almost touch hands with me. The main floor comes right up to the front edge of the stage and the electricity flows in a hurry. They’re reacting to everything. Was it like this before? It must have been. Almost a silent dream-like state with confetti falling, unheard laughter, and conversation without sound.

This is the zone! Missing time. You look at your watch, people are leaving, and your saying to yourself, “What?!?! Wait a minute.” When it’s working like that, you move the pieces on the chessboard in slow motion and at will. And the band is part of you and you are part of the band.

It was an intermission set, which makes for a real full evening feel. By this time we’ve hit a very casual, easy-going groove with time for me to chat little “this’s and that’s” with the audience. “What’s your name, young man? Is this your first time?” to a kid 10 or 12 years old. Half way back there’s a lovely lady in a pink dress who is telling her name and when she stands up, everyone screams in applause. Turns out she’s from Brooklyn and she and her husband are taking a little break from the business of making a new line of unique watches. Also a lady crosses in front and hands me a yellow rose. These moments and a quick mention of four or five other venues from the past make things really warm and personal.

I had been flying in my mind since waking up and sitting on the edge of my bed having morning coffee and looking across the street at an apartment building with a balcony and raw iron fence. I really like that time of the day. “Who lives there? What do they do?” I always ask myself. Could I live there? Today on that balcony there was a small pink bicycle for a young girl. Almost instantaneously I saw that little girl growing up oh so very quickly, that bicycle left behind and rusted with rain and weather, and a mother and father out of breath and talking about missing time.

And so there I was with Larry a few hours later doing encores and went to straight to “Waltz for Debby”. It has that theme in it—it’s on the “Accentuate the Positive” album. Wow! Then Larry and I slip into “Shadow of your Smile”. Just me and his piano. This is new territory that contrasts to our other heavier punctuated material. And sure enough we go back to that in our finale with “Mas Que Nada”.

What a night!

Our promoter, Bernard, was all smiles and proud as can be. When we first met he was a 19-year-old tall, skinny kid working for Francis Dreyfus (my very first promoter in France). And now here he is slightly greying and hanging in there with me and Marcus Miller and others.

And there’s Jean-Pierre and Josie. He was Claude Nougaro’s manager. Claude was a very well known French jazz singer/poet. We stay in touch religiously. It’s wonderful and dizzying and pretty soon we say adieu and goodnight and merci, sweet Paris.

See you Italy!


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