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Jazz in Paris
Although jazz is American, France gave it its respectability. Just after the war, the bustling French capital embraced this diverse music and breathed a little of its elegance into it.
But why is Paris still one of the world jazz capitals today? Simply because the history of the French capital and that of jazz, a music that is both technical and rather wild, are intimately linked. In the aftermath of the Great War, the nightclubs of the French capital were full of Afro-American musicians who also fought in the war and remained in Europe to enjoy the good life. From across the Atlantic, they brought new musical trends, including jazz and swing that highlighted improvisation and jam sessions.
For two decades, these artists have let their art flourish by creating a true expatriate community that revolutionized the French musical scene. Josephine Baker and Sydney Bechet were among these pioneers. The crisis of 1929 put a stop to this exciting time, but paradoxically the Second World War gave it a new lease of life. The Zazous joined the Resistance during the occupation and encounters between mythical musicians took place in the cabarets of Pigalle, like between Duke Ellington and Django Reinhardt in 1939.
At the time of the Liberation of Paris, jazz clubs blossomed in the vaulted stone cellars of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Paris is full of these mythical places where you can have a drink or a good meal to the sound of jazz.
Listening to jazz in Paris is still a unique adventure. Thanks to its historical clubs, colourful festivals and convivial get-togethers with other fans, you can enjoy spellbinding moments in one of the most beautiful capitals in the world!
Open the door, sit down, have a drink and enjoy! You are in a Parisian jazz club, just a few metres from feverish musicians. Whether you’re a big fan or new to this music, you will be greeted with the same warmth.
Jazz is a popular music that really comes into its own in bars where one pushes tables aside and stops chatting to let vocals and music take over. In Paris, there are more cafes that have jazz nights than specialised clubs.
If jazz is traditionally played in vaulted and smoky cellars, it does not lose an ounce of its magic when it is performed in larger venues. Paris invites the greatest jazz musicians so they can amaze us with their art in equally mythical venues.
Feeding your ears with sweet music is nice. But treating both body and soul is even better! Savour the delicacies of restaurants where jazz is always on the menu. And treat yourself to a great concert... served on a plate!