Concert at Joe’s Pub

Concert at Joe’s Pub

During the holidays, we played a concert at one of our favorite New York City venues, Joe’s Pub. We were thrilled to have a stellar lineup for this concert, with Tatiana Eva-Marie on vocals, Adrien Chevalier on violin, Olli Soikkeli and Vinny Raniolo on guitars, and Ian Hutchison on bass. On saxophone and clarinet we had a special guest who often plays with us, Oran Etkin, a musician from Israel known for his eclecticism, influenced by different kinds of folkloric music from Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It is always inspiring to play with him and he adds a very special touch to our Gypsy jazz repertoire. We played a selection of 1930s Parisian and Balkan inspired Gypsy jazz tunes, including Duke Ellington’s Caravan, Golden Earrings, C’est Si Bon, and other classic favorites. It never fails, we have so much fun playing at Joe’s Pub and we hope to be back soon! (The lovely picture above was shot by Amos Rose)

mississippi jazz cruise

Mississippi Cruise

We were invited to perform aboard The Louisiane, a new vintage style cruise ship that lazily sails up and down the Mississippi River. This was particularly exciting because it was our first time going down to New Orleans! The amount of music pouring out of every street corner is absolutely intoxicating, even more so than the constant presence of alcoholic beverages. After a few days exploring the city and listening to music in the French Quarter at the Spotted Cat and other venues that caught our fancy, we boarded the beautiful river boat for a few days of southern bliss on the muddy waters of the Mississippi.

mississippi the louisiane

And what a magnificent boat it is! It really is like stepping back in time, tastefully decorated and displaying the old southern charm that haunts our romantic imaginations. On board, there was another jazz band, fronted by jazz singer Barbara Rosene, who all happened to enjoy scotch whiskey just as much as we do, so it was an immediate perfect match. Our guest singer for this series of performances was New Orleans native Sasha Masakowski, who is one of the finest young singers currently on the New York jazz scene and collaborates with Avalon Jazz Band and Tatiana Eva-Marie on various delightful projects. We will be back on The Louisiane in March, so don’t hesitate and book your tickets now!

Shanghai Mermaid’s Fairytale Ball

Shanghai Mermaid

shanghai mermaidShanghai Mermaid did it again! The Fairytale Ball was an enchanting night of wonders and entrancing midnight creatures, designed by the incomparable Juliette Campbell. Avalon Jazz Band was a perfect fit for the party for many reasons: first, we are named after the isle of Avalon, the fairyland of the Arthurian legends, secondly many of the great fairytales are originally French (Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty…), and of course, our singer Tatiana’s name means “little fairy”. We just had to be there, and we had such a great time. We played our French jazz repertoire with special guest Jake Handelman on trombone. People were dancing, drinking cooing and having fun, girls were misbehaving, men were being charmed, all this in the beautiful setting of the Down Town Association, one of New York City’s most stunning Edwardian palaces. These prohibition era parties occur on a regular basis and we encourage you to join us next time for the Casino de Paris celebration on April 11th 2015, where we will be playing alongside our friends of the Carte Blanche band. See all the details here.

Above is a picture of violinist Adrien Chevalier and singer Tatiana Eva-Marie in their best fairy attire.

maison kayser new york

Maison Kayser in NYC!

jazz band new yorkOur favorite bakery is finally expanding to the American market! Maison Kayser opened a new location on the Upper West Side and Avalon Jazz Band was invited to pair the bread and pastry tasting with some French Jazz. We are particularly excited about Maison Kayser gaining in popularity because, as French expats, we are often disappointed about the quality of bread away from home and the presence of Eric Kayser‘s passion and savoir-faire solves everything. We share similar values in that we believe in tradition and come from similar backgrounds, except that we put our passion in music while he puts it in bread. It was indeed an honor to perform for him and celebrate his success, as we’ve been great fans ever since the very humble beginning of his floury adventure. The composers and performers we admire from the history of French Jazz, such as Charles Trenet, Yves Montand, Django Reinhardt, were what we call “bon-vivants”, people who enjoy life and especially its simple pleasures: food and drink!

The cherry on the cake for us is that we went home with many wonderful gifts: croissants, pains au chocolat, brioches, baguettes, pains aux noix… absolute bliss! Tatiana Eva-Marie recommends the hot chocolate and the financier.

Chanel Rainbow Room Jazz Band

French Jazz for Chanel

Tatiana Eva-Marie Avalon Jazz BandAvalon Jazz Band returned to the Rainbow Room for the second time in the first week of its reopening! We could get used to this. This time it was to perform at a gala for Chanel Jewelry, at the great excitement of our singer Tatiana Eva-Marie, who got dressed, made up, manicured and bejeweled by the iconic brand. We were hired as the Avalon Big Band this time, with a whole bunch of amazing musicians: Gordon Webster on piano, Olli Soikkeli on guitar, Adrien Chevalier on violin, Julian Smith on bass, and in the brass section we had Jake Handelman on trombone and Adrian Cunningham on clarinet and saxophone.

french jazz band cruise

Festival Sud de France

Since the beginning of time, humans have been drawn like bees to honey to Languedoc-Roussillon. Even before it was named “Languedoc”— language of yes—man has been unable to say “no” to this mountainous, sun-drenched region kissing Spain and hugging the southernmost curve of the Mediterranean Sea.

For three weeks, foodies, gourmands, and gourmets, oenophiles, Francophiles and those who believe joie de vivre is just as important as breathing have the unique opportunity to discover the singular delights and culture of Languedoc-Roussillon in New York.

Avalon Jazz Band was invited to perform at the festival’s kick off cruise down the east river, on a World War II-era Navy Yard patrol boat transformed into a floating restaurant. A delightful tasting menu was prepared by chef Ignacio Mattos, of Estela (nomintaed for 2014’s Best New Restaurant), and paired with wine director Thomas Carter’s favorite Languedoc-Roussillon wines.

Once we got adjusted to the waves and found our balance, we had a wonderful time performing French hot jazz classics while the sun set on our beloved Statue de la Liberté. She is French, you know.

french jazz in new york city

jazz band events new york

George Clooney’s Premiere

Yes, you heard us, we said George Clooney. Avalon Jazz Band was invited to give a special performance at the Metropolitan Club for the after party of “The Monuments Men” movie premiere, directed by George Clooney. Set during WWII, the movie tells the story of a special platoon sent to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves, because if art gets obliterated then “what are we fighting for?”, as Winston Churchill is believed to have once said. The 1940’s is Avalon Jazz Band’s specialty and Tatiana Eva Marie‘s favorite time period, so she was very excited to get the music and atmosphere exactly right for this one. The band was dressed as street swing kids with a Zazou attitude, inspired by Edith Piaf, Juliette Gréco and the photos of Robert Doisneau. We played French jazz standards famous at the time, mostly from the repertoire of Yves Montand, Django & Grappelli, Jean Sablon and Charles Trenet, and added some American standards as well (Cole Porter, George Gerschwin, Duke Ellington).

Tatiana Eva-Marie Jean DujardinIt was a swell party, everyone had a great time. It was fun to get to hang out with George Clooney, Bill Murray and especially the very handsome Jean Dujardin who came up on stage and did a duet with Tatiana Eva-Marie. Avalon Jazz Band also invited Clooney’s talented god-daughter jazz singer Nora Sagal to jam on stage, and she beautifully sang a few songs (The Lady is a Tramp, My Funny Valentine).

Tatiana Eva-Marie gazed at by Jean Dujardin in a very “The Artist” kind of way. (photo left)

outdoor music new york

French Consulate Block Party

Yesterday, the French Consulate of New York invited Avalon Jazz Band to perform an outdoor concert for their block party “A Sunday in Marseille“, celebrating the opening of a new direct line between New York and Marseille. It was a beautiful summer day! People were playing pétanque and kids were dancing around to the music while their parents enjoyed free Ricard pastis and Lillet cocktails. We played some much enjoyed “jazz manouche” (Gypsy jazz) reminiscent of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s hot club and Tatiana Eva-Marie sang uplifting jazz songs in French from the 1930’s and 40’s. It felt like we had been transported to a street in the South of France and it made us happy and nostalgic. The summer will be full of fun Avalon French-themed events, so keep looking for updates! A bientôt…

avalon jazz band french swing

jazz band plaza gala nyc

New York City Opera gala at the Plaza

avalonjazzbandplazanyc

Last Thursday, Avalon Jazz Band was invited to give a private concert during the annual New York City Opera gala that took place at the Plaza Hotel. We performed on the stage of the sumptuous and iconic Grand Ballroom, which is truly a perfect setting for old school jazz. The Plaza Hotel was opened in 1907 and was the scene of many wild parties and grand weddings or celebrations during the jazz golden age. The music felt like it really belonged there, and it was very inspiring to us.

The two stars of La Périchole were in high spirits and decided to sing a couple of tunes with us! French-born mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand gave a very emotional rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en rose” and tenor Philippe Talbot tackled “Padam padam” with vehemence and passion that made all the ladies in the audience swoon. It was a fun night, in a ballroom packed with music lovers and experts who let their hair down and danced to the sound of hot French swing.

jazz hotel lounge nyc

Jazz at the Standard Hotel

Avalon Jazz Band performed at Manhattan’s edgy downtown Standard Hotel, located in the heart of the hip Meatpacking District. This lovely boutique hotel with a very modern deco twist on a retro 1960’s look has become a landmark of the New York City nightlife thanks to its famous penthouse discotheque and pool Le Bain. Avalon Jazz Band did not go for a swim this time, but rocketed up to the 18th floor, by way of the hotel’s “heaven and hell” animated elevator, to the oddly misnamed Boom Boom Room. We were all expecting an Austin Poweresque shag room full of orange velvet sofas, red vinyl and disco balls and were extremely surprised to arrive in one of the most stunningly beautiful bars in New York City. It most definitely has a 1960’s vibe, but of refined and tasteful kind, perfectly suited for Don Draper, an Old Fashioned and jazz of course. A hidden gem with a breathtaking view that we recommend to you all! Come listen to us on April 19th.

avalonjazzbandboomboomroom