Local Experiences

Saint Germain des Prés Jazz Festival, Paris

By Colette Davidson

It’s springtime in Paris and what could better pay tribute to the good weather – not to mention the city’s inherent romantic quality – than with some jazz! Since 2001, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival has been serving up new and old jazz hits in one of the city’s classiest and most visited neighborhoods. This year’s festival runs from May 15-25 with 27 featured artists in 14 different venues. So if you love music and happen to be in Paris during this time, you’d be smart to check it out.

Since the Saint-Germain festival began, it has showcased top names as well as up-and-coming artists from the jazz world – the likes of Nora Jones, Ben l’Oncle Soul and Kurt Elling have graced the Saint Germain stages. On this year’s ticket are such names as Eliane Elias, Erik Truffaz and Kellylee Evans, while Isfar Sarabski, Gerry Lopez and Adrien Moignard have been recognized as this year’s fresh new talent. Swedish singer Sofie Sorman, also recognized as a “new talent,” brings her smooth grooves onto the scene, accompanied by pianist Armel Dupas.

The festival’s “Coup de Coeur” (love at first sight) category showcases vibrant new musicians. Some of the artists in this section include Thomas Enhco, who at just 25 will offer two solo piano performances, featuring his own compositions. L’Esprit Jazz Big Band is composed of thirteen musicians – truly a sight to behold onstage – who will bring swing dance and jazz greats to life, performing music from Duke Ellington to Count Basie.

The ten-day musical showcase is also a great opportunity to visit some of the city’s more impressive historical buildings, which play host to concerts and events within the festival. The Sorbonne University, the Senate, the Odeon Theater and the Irish Cultural Center are just some of the venues taking part in the tunes.

In addition, as part of the festival, concerts will be held at two Paris prisons. The sweet and sultry voice of Agathe Iracema will accompany pianist Laurent Coulondre at the Maison Central in Poissy, while Bianca Gallice and Ghali Hadefi duo will bring their swinging jazz to the women’s prison in Versailles. A concert by three amateur choirs, one hailing from Denmark and two from France, will take place midway through the festival.

To see a complete Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival program and to order tickets, visit the website’s English version. Buy tickets to individual shows, or save money by purchasing a three or five concert pass.

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