New York, NY: Sublime timing places French 5-piece Paris Combo in New York City tonight, which is perhaps exactly the type of cultural exchange the United Nations had in mind when they designated April 30th as International Jazz Day. In the midst of a 12-city U.S. concert tour that has already produced five sold-out shows, it’s a fait accompli that the diverse jazz band will register a sixth sell out this evening when they take the stage at Joe’s Pub in support of their newly released fifth album, “5,” from the DRG Records label.
In November 2011, UNESCO named the last day of Jazz Appreciation Month as International Jazz Day in order to “highlight jazz and its diplomatic role in uniting people in all corners of the globe.” Enter Paris Combo. Known for their charismatic potpourri of classic jazz, multiethnic world music, French cabaret, retro new wave and itinerant gypsy rhythms, the tight ensemble is currently traipsing across America performing tracks from their new collection, which was released in the U.S. on March 12th.
Comprised of chanteuse Belle du Berry, Potzi (guitar), François Jeannin (drums, percussion, vocals), David Lewis (trumpet, flugelhorn, piano) and Emmanuel Chabbey (contrabass), Paris Combo’s latest recording for which they wrote a dozen songs examining various aspects of love is earning praise from reviewers while radio spins enabled the collection to debut at #14 on CMJ’s world music chart. “5” is Paris Combo’s first new album in 9 years. Their previous discs and extensive concert tours throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the U.S. - including two appearances at the iconic Hollywood Bowl - helped the unit amass a global following.
In concert, the colorful collective’s charming and musically astute performances have delighted audiences. The U.S. trek concludes this week with a sold-out show in Reston, VA on Wednesday, a Brooklyn gig at Littlefield’s on Thursday, and a concluding concert at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center on Friday. Dates are already being booked for Paris Combo’s U.S. spring 2014 tour.
Below is a sampling of some of the notices Paris Combo has earned for “5” and the current U.S. tour:
“Paris Combo ‘5’ shatters the traditional concept of what some consider the Paris sound with a myriad of influences including the alluring vocals of Belle du Berry. Smoldering just beneath the surface there is an accessible Europop vibe, adventurous riffs, and swinging grooves that are carefully mixed with Latin, African and rumba rhythms all tightly woven around the tapestry that is the French cabaret sound…one of the finest groups to come out of France in thirty years. 5 stars.” – Brent Black, Critical Jazz
“Paris Combo is a sleek, contemporary listen into that dishy, delightful sound particular to the French. Part cabaret, part jazz and part pop, Paris Combo offers up a sassy, seductive series of tracks on ‘5’ that will (leave) listeners swooning and exclaiming with an accent…Du Berry’s vocals are so sultry on such tracks like ‘Les Cailloux Blancs’ and ‘Fantome Adore’ they’ll sneak up on and bite you on the neck … and you’ll enjoy it…My advice is to banish all Francophobes from the vicinity and turn up the sound on the fabulous ‘5.’” – TJ Nelson, World Music Central
“The sounds of the streets of Paris filled Gartner Auditorium on Friday, April 19 when Paris Combo kicked off their 12-city US tour with a fun, musically intelligent and entertaining concert… vocalist Belle du Berry’s sultry tone combined with all the right facial expressions rendered the printed English translations nearly pointless. Du Berry’s colleagues, David Lewis, trumpet and piano, François Jeannin, drums and backup vocals, Potzi, guitar, and Emmanuel Chabbey, bass, expertly created colorful lines that were far more than accompaniment but truly part of each song’s musical fabric…this was a thoroughly entertaining evening on all levels. Paris Combo is the real deal.” – Mike Telin, Cleveland Classical
“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…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.” – George Harris, Jazz Weekly
“It felt like you were in a swinging, bohemian Parisian nightclub of the ’20s and ‘30s.” – Examiner