Paris is the New York City of the European jazz world. Any night of the week, live jazz is played somewhere in this multicultural metropolis where America's global gift is valued, venerated and celebrated. There are more than 30 live jazz venues, as well as sporadic and spontaneous performances on street corners and bridges, in Metro stations and parks, and at a large series of annual festivals. Live jazz is available in clubs every night, from swing to Latin to avant-garde, some free-admission but most with a five to 30 Euros entry fee (the value of the Euro decreased during this time to as low as $1.21 USD, compared to many recent years when it was $1.45). It's easy to find jazz in Paris by consulting music venues listings in the Pariscope and L'Official Spectacle mini-magazines that are issued every Wednesday, and are available at newsstand kiosks. There also are two free booklets, LYLO and Paris Jazz Club Agenda, found at clubs and FNAC stores. During the 1940s and 1950s, American musicians thrilled new audiences in dark, subterranean places. It's where saxophonist Charlie Parker
became revered among the jazz giants. In modern-day Paris, time seems to stop and images of the World War II era are sensed when descending a steep, foot-worn stone staircase to arrive in a cellar showroom. Paris has jam sessions almost nightly, noted in the listings as boeuf. That translates as "beef," the term originating in the 1930s when French and foreign musicians met after-hours on the roof of the Le Boeuf sur le Toit restaurant to jam; once again, the venue has live jazz. There also are performances in churches, listed in the concerts pages of the mini-magazines, with tributes to deceased and living jazz luminaries, including frequent jazz manouche replications of the gypsy-jazz sound of guitarist Django Reinhardt
There were also numerous summer-season festivals in July and August throughout France, in Nice, St. Emilion, Vienne, Juan-les-Pins, Vannes and Marciac. But even those who opted to stay in Paris had many choices, including two "American" festivals. The first was in June and July, in the 75-seat Duc des Lombards on the Right Bank. American stars ranged from pianists Dr. John
, an American expat since 1965, who sold out the 80-seat club. Singer's sound was still strong and inventive, although his ending-phrase notes were not sustained as long as in the past. Downstairs, in the smaller Sunset, organist Rhoda Scott
. A few hotels offered duos and trios in their lounges, such as the Hotel L'Aubusson (Café Laurent, 10 Euros and included one drink). Larger aggregations performed in the Hotel Meridien L'Etoile Jazz Club (the hotel has dropped the longtime moniker of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club) for 26 Euros that also included a drink.