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Fourth of July at Le Sully

July 6, 2010

What do Americans do on the fourth of July in Paris?

Not much, apparently. There are some walking tours about the founding fathers, or the various American-themed establishments to go party in. But I had the ultimate luck of being lonely in my apartment, which is fine if you live in the 10th Arrondissement of Paris (expect soon post on this interesting neighborhood—an area that never sleeps, or at least, never stops drinking).

At around 8:45 p.m. I heard loud music from somewhere outside my window, so I wandered downstairs to find that the café right next door, Le Sully, was host to a live band called Le Gros Tube.

Le Gros Tube

These guys played up a storm! They self-describe as Funk Jazz Afrobeat, but there were elements of ska, big band, and they put on a damn good show, playing with their whole bodies and souls. The entire place was hopping with people of all types, dancing around. Even the career drunks were amicable, dancing around with various café habitués, enjoying the seemingly impromptu concert (it was, said one anonymous waiter, planned but not advertised as concerts normally require a forest’s worth of permits).

The group, a semi-rotating bunch of freewheeling musicians, included Olivier Proust on trombone, Jérome Fouquet on trumpet, Daniel Beja on banjo, Matthieu Paolini (bandleader) on flute, percussion and vocals, Brice Perda on sousaphone, Frederic Vincent on snares, and Yan Cognet on saxophone. At one point everyone sang, spitting out amazing jazz chords along with their very lively instrumentals.

It made for a wonderful fourth of July for me, and I sat around talking to Olivier, Matthieu (a.k.a Pao) and Jérome late into the night, about the small world of musicians, and about how most of them have been to Tokyo, Brooklyn, or both at some point or another (Tu connais Bushwick? they asked).

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