Patrice Caratini is one of the most popular bassists in France. I first listened him in 1984, accompanied by Hervé Sellin on the piano. I never forgot about this encounter. Caratini is a bassist, composer, arranger, conductor and a very meticulous musician. He summarised his 50 years of music life with his “Caratini Jazz Ensemble” band in Chatelet Theatre. This band, which consisted of 12 musicians, included renowned saxophonist André Villeger, trombonist Denis Leloup, trumpet player Claude Egea, pianist Alain Jean Marie and featured guests like the famous pianist Martial Solal, pianist Manuel Rochmann, Gustavo Beytelmann, accordion player Marcel Azzola, vocalist Sarah Lazarus, Hildegarde Wanzlawe, as well as Cuban and African percussionists. It was indeed a rare experience. Normandia Regional Orchestra also contributed to this evening.
The band started with a known jazz piece, Saint Louis Blues, and moved on to playing Al Lirvat’s Chofé Biguine. Alain Jean Marie was on the piano. The next piece “Bleue Comme Une Orange” was composed by Caratini. This was followed by a tango that was composed by Gustavo Beytelmann. Accordion player Azzola was born in 1927, just like Martial Solal. I guessed Solal was about to perform when I saw that they were changing the position of the piano. Solal is a very valuable and privileged musician. The Edith Trenet piece that he arranged was accompanied by the orchestra that livened up and the result was perfect. The next musician who took the stage was Marc Fosset. They played Caratini’s compositions Sosiego and Cacocaly. Vocalist Sarah Lazarus performed Get out of Town and Too Darn Hot. Caratini read poems in between pieces and told stories of his life, and even sang a couple of times.
He became emotional while telling about the cold winter night in 1965 when he rented a double bass and attended a special evening, and how he would mark the notes with coloured bands while he was learning to play the bass in the amateur jazz band of his high school. The audience was able to connect to these emotions.
Chattel Theatre is preparing a special jazz programme, and this concert was the first performance in this programme. I listened to Giovanni Mirabassi Quartet Gianluca Renzi (b), Christos Rafalides (vib), Lukmil Perez (d) on 15th of April in Sunset Jazz Club. We can observe that Mirabassi’s understanding of melody and rhythm is very Italian and very rich. They performed Avanti very well, which is a piece that the musician composed with revolutionary feelings. I have to add that there is an amazing sense of fusion in this band. Mirabassi won the Académie de Jazz, Victoire de Jazz and Django d’Or awards and is called a piano virtuoso.
Saint Germain Jazz Festivali (19-31 May) is almost over. This year’s honorary guests included The Golden Gate Quartet, Jacky Terrasson, Ray Lana and Michel Portal. The historic concert halls of Saint Germain were opened for the festival. Laurent de Wilde, Stéphane Belmondo and Yaron Herman chatted with jazz music lovers. Yves Torchinsky’s jazz workshop was very popular.
We attended Michel Portal, Jeff Balard, Kevin Hays Quartet’s performance on the 27th of May, and listened to China Moss and Jacky Terrason’s concert, A Jazz Night in Ravel, on the 30th of May. They were accompanied by talented conservatory students. This festival reflects the soul of Saint Germain with the chats it hosted between the musicians and listeners during the evenings, jam sessions after the concerts, young talents taking stage and the presentation of the new albums of some of the groups.
I was in New York for two weeks and celebrated International Jazz Day there. I listened to an amazing quartet with pianist George Cables, trumpet player Jeremy Pelt, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Louis Hayes in Smoke Jazz Club & Supper Club on the 23rd of April. A week later, I listened to another amazing band which consisted of alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, trumpet player Jon Faddis, pianist Victor Gould, bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Levis Nash in the same club.
Smalls Jazz Club is another venue that I like. Drummer Eliot Zigmund’s quartet was performing on the 27th of April. He was accompanied by soprano saxophonist Matt Garrison, pianist Allen Farnham, and bassist David Kingsnorth. A group of young musicians were performing in parks two-hours drive away from New York. I gifted myself a very rare record of Charlie Parker and a rare Raul de Souza-Sergio Mendes album..
I organised and hosted a jam session in my house with Jazz Hot on the 7th of May upon my return in France. Guitarist Rafael Fays ve Sean Gourlay, drummer John Betsch, pianist Gerard Naulet, Julien Coriatt, vocalist Denise King, Manu Le Prince, Brisa Roché were some of the musicians that were present.
I listened to Denise King for the first time. She is a very energetic and positive singer. She has been living in France for a couple of years. Initially, she was accompanied by pianist Olivier Hutman. These days the band’s pianist is Julien Corriatt, who is incredibly talented. King’s upcoming album consists of four instalments. Season of Jazz (Dot Time Records) and the first EP from the series of four albums (l’Automne) have been on the market since November. We are waiting for the rest.
Rafael Fays is an incredible musician and he has been playing Flamenco music in addition to manouche guitar. His albums are very enjoyable. Gerard Naulet figured out the Cuban music completely. He is the conductor and the pianist of Latin Jazz Combo Orchestra. He has played with the famous percussionist Orlando Poleo and many other renowned names. I met Brisa Roché years ago. She is an American living in Paris. Her repertoire consisted of Bille Holiday pieces. We enjoyed her interpretation of these select songs.
Jimmy Gourlay’s son, guitarist Sean Gourlay, is another American living in Paris. It is very brave to play the same instrument as father and son. Sean is an incredible musician just like his father. The jam session lasted until late hours in the beautiful spring evening, filled with many wonderful people.
We opened the summer jazz season in the Mediterranean with Neşet Ruacan, Nilüfer Verdi, Nedim Ruacan and Apostopolos Sideris in 7 Bilgeler.
The concert that will take place on the 25th of June is very important, because Tuna Ötenel will accompany Sibel Köse Band. We are looking forward to it.
Ayşe Gençer and İmer Demirer band will perform on the 23rd of July, Emin Fındıkoğlu Big Band on the 6th of August and Çetin Akıncı & Yalçın Ateş Project Feat Mr.Cole will take stage on 3rd of September. We will close the summer season with a surprise concert on the 22nd of September.
By the way, the wines of 7 Bilgeler won several awards in Europe, letting the wine connoisseurs know.
Wishing everyone peaceful summer months…