Let’s face it, most music is either about dancing or love. Returning to America after a too long hiatus, the swinging 5 piece Paris Combo mixed infectious and irresistible rhythms and melodies (guaranteed to get you to grab your partner) with lyrics about every facet of love imaginable, and doing it by melding Hot Jazz of the 20s with a Rive Gauche sensibility. The incessant pre WWII beat provided by the backbone of Francois Jeannin/dr and Emmanuel Chabbey/b made for a bohemian evening as vocalist Belle Du Berry used her jazzy chasson styled delivery with Left Bank styled cabaret chords and solos by guitarist Potzi and piano/trumpeter David Lewis.
Backed by Ellington-toned jungle rhythms and plunger muted brassy blasts, du Berry sauntered and slithered across the stage and delved into stories about the multi-hued aspects of love. With a mix of Josephine Baker’s sensuality and Myrna Loy’s perky petite, du Berry told stories of lost love, found love, obsessive love, faithful love, regretful love, eternal love, forgiving love and even too much love. Her voice had the mix of a perfect Parisian sauce, with hints of sweet mint, lemon, marjoram and capers that gave flavorful renditions of songs such as the jaunty “Je Te Vois Partout” or the stomping “Lux.” A film nourish “Senor” had all the ingredients of a delicious French pastry, the perfect crisp chords with a Dick Dale-styled solo by Potzi, tart, creamy and rich harmonies by Lewis, and topped off by semi sweet sprinkles provide by the strutting two step beat from Jeannin (who also gave a beautiful Depression era version of “I Saw Stars”). Potzi’s solo on the instrumental “Chez Nou” was a glorious mix of Charlie Christian and gypsy caravan. By the end of the almost 2 hour show, the upscale Santa Monica crowd got out of their comfy seats, stormed the Bastille gates and made way to the aisles to join in with the celebratory band that showed that sometimes, it takes a person visiting from another country to make you appreciate what you have in your own.
HEADS UP! The Broad Stage just announced their 4 show jazz series, and it’s a GOOD one! Arturo Sandoval’s Orchestra Nov 15 2013, and then 2014 shows with Betty LaVette Feb 15, Hirom’s Trio Mar 22 and Kurt Elling May 4. Get the subscription for the best seats at www.thebroadstage.com or call 310-434-3200