My last day in Paris, I had a big treat awaiting me: dinner with a real Parisian in a real Parisian restaurant, followed by a gypsy jazz guitar concert! Claude, a guitarist and fellow Monteton student, escorted me a few blocks away from where I was staying to a tiny place that tourists don’t know about (except for that couple from Cleveland sitting beside us.) I loved the vibe there – so much character, so many layers of posters and pictures and writing on the walls. To get to the toilettes, you go through the bar (2 steps away from your seat) and up very steep steps, to a very ancient looking second floor. (It’s strange to me that I find the smell of old buildings in France somewhat pleasant. The mix of stone and wood and who knows what else.) While we were waiting for the food, in walked the gypsy guitarist that we were about to hear in concert. He sat by Claude and they exchanged a few words. Claude introduced me as a pianist/composer from the states, and Rodolphe shook my hand and spoke to me briefly in English.
After a lovely dinner, we strolled over to Le Piano Vache. (The logo is kind of a stick figure cow with a body made of piano keys.) We entered into a dark, small but lively place, to the back room. There is a bar, an old upright piano, rustic small tables and chairs, and a few musicians setting up. A trio (2 guitars and a bass.) The room is also full of character, with layers of posters and writing on the walls. We sat about 5 feet away from the musicians. The music started and Rodolphe was a beast. So strong and confident, playing jazzy riffs and also some showy, gypsy-style riffs. So enjoyable, amazing, fantastic, brilliant.
Oh, but I haven’t mentioned my favorite part. Each time Rodolphe would start a new tune, the guys behind the bar would SHUSH everyone LOUDLY. Wow. It was all about the music. The locals were so excited to be in the audience, they scooted their chairs as close to the musicians as they could, and they listened!