Staying locked away in a recording studio devoid of audience feedback is not how Paris Combo makes records. The hard-to-define alchemists who blend intoxicating cocktails of swinging gypsy jazz, cabaret, world music and French pop will break out of seclusion this month to play a string of concert dates, welcoming the arrival of spring with American audiences who will be treated to new music as well as selections from the creative collective’s catalogue.
Working with the tentative title “Quesaco,” an old French word meaning “What Is That?,” Paris Combo plans to test out selections from their seventh studio album, which they plan to drop later this year. They’ll play seven shows in four US cities, opening with a four-night stand on March 19 at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco and concluding at Sony Hall in New York City on March 28.
“We will present an entirely new show consisting of fan favorites from our previous albums and new songs. The tour is part of the preparation for the next release. We will be testing new material on unsuspecting audiences,” laughed trumpeter-pianist David Lewis, a native Australian who has long resided in the City of Lights with his French bandmates.
Paris Combo is a genre-defying outfit comprised of vocalist Belle du Berry, guitarist Potzi, drummer Francois Jeannin and Lewis. The charismatic du Berry is a captivating frontwoman possessing a mix of post-punk bravura and vintage Hollywood glam. Potzi’s skilled guitar licks reference Djangowhile Jeannin’s stickwork bangs out swinging jazz grooves, ska beats and Latin rhythms. Lewis fills the tracks with rich melodic flourishes. On stage, they are joined by double bassist Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac and Remy Kaprielan on percussion, vocals and saxophone.
An artsy ensemble that has earned acclaim from critics while winning the hearts of an international following, Paris Combo has roots dating back to 1992 when du Berry, Potzi and Jeannin linked up to collaborate at the closing ceremonies of the Albertville Olympic Games. Debuting with a self-titled set in 1997, their sophomore disc, “Living Room,” went gold in France in 2000 while garnering a French music awards nomination. It afforded the group the opportunity to tour the US, Australia and Asia, cementing their global status even before they performed in Brazil on the heels of the release of the “Motifs” album in 2004. They’ve played the iconic Hollywood Bowl twice along with such prestigious venues and festivals as the Olympia, Montreal Jazz Festival, le Grand Rex, la Cite de la Musique, Sydney Recital Hall, Melbourne Recital Center and the Nice Jazz Festival.
March 19-22 SF Jazz Center, Miner Auditorium San Francisco, CA
March 23 Kuumbwa Jazz Club Santa Cruz, CA
March 26 The Triple Door Seattle, WA
March 28 Sony Hall New York, NY