By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
July 17, 2015
Like they did during their previous appearance at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club in April of 2013, Paris Combo energized the sold out crowd when they performed at the downtown nightclub Wednesday, with a one night only engagement to kick off the summer/fall 2015 season.
Interestingly enough, if one were to read this writer’s Examiner.com review of the group’s previous Cabaret show, many of their same positive attributes noted then were also evident in this appearance. And like it did then, the band still consists of vocalist Belle du Berry, David Lewis on trumpet/piano, Potzi on guitar, Emmanuel Chabbey on bass and François Jeannin on drums.
Indianapolis was the second to the last stop in Paris Combo’s brief U.S. tour. New York City was the next destination for the group that appears all over the world to share its sophisticated and eclectic sound that incorporates American jazz, French chanson , swing, African and Middle Eastern rhythms.
With a few exceptions, their Wednesday program mirrored that of their 2013 show, including the theme of love with songs that speak to its variations—lasting love, love without borders, love on your doorstep, love and peace among men on earth, etc. Sung entirely in French, with heavily accented English introductions by the vivacious Du Berry, brief translations of the song’s topics were provided by Lewis, an Australian. Those present who were French fluent were the lucky ones and could understand songs with titles such as “Je Suis Sourde,” “Tout Excusé” and “Fibre De Verre.” Many of the tunes performed were from the group’s 2013 CD, “5.”
Most of the songs performed were upbeat except for “Sous La Lune,” a torchy ballad featuring Lewis, who switched from piano to trumpet (as he did frequently during the show), for a solo. Reprising a highlight from the 2013 show, he once again captivated the audience by distorting the sound of his trumpet and creating a surreal musical effect by immersing the bell of his instrument in a bowl of water.
Another up tempo moment occurred right after intermission when drummer Jeannin sang a charming solo of “I Saw Stars.”
And much like he did in 2013, Algerian gypsy Potzi provided a distinctive note to the group’s music with his Django Reinhardt (he was Potzi’s teacher)-influenced guitar playing.
Du Berry, who early in the show encouraged audience members to dance, finally got her wish towards the end of the concert during “Lux” and “Je Te Vois Partout” when five or six couples danced freestyle mostly in the rear of the room. This was not the only interactive show seen at the Cabaret but definitely one of its most lively and free spirited.
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