There’s something particularly romantic about the idea of French jazz, and now we have it in Hong Kong as part of this year’s Le French May. In this three-day festival, audiences can enjoy scintillating tributes to jazz legends Billie Holiday and Chet Baker, and the Asian debut of At Work.
May 12: Geraldine Laurent – At Work
Making its Asian debut, this world-renowned quartet of musicians will perform their new album, At Work, a collection of pieces that subtly suggest the essence of freedom of swing within the realms of jazz. Produced by famous French jazz musician, Laurent de Wilde, the album allows the quartet to pay tribute to legendary jazz voices with their significant passion and admiration for jazz.
Geraldine Laurent – alto saxophone
Paul Lay – piano
Donald Kontomanou – drums
Thomas Bramerie – double bass
Did you know? Geraldine Laurent began her musical training as a classical pianist before taking up saxophone at the young age of 13.
May 13: Paul Lay – Billie Holiday, Passionately
A tribute to Billie Holiday
Even the jazz novice will know the name Billie Holiday, one of the greatest jazz singers of the last century. In this performance, created in honour of Holiday’s centenary in 2015, pianist Paul Lay and video-maker Olivier Garouste pay a unique and vibrant tribute to one of the greatest legends of the 20th century, bringing Holiday’s career, music – and particularly her passion – back to life for the 21st century. Garouste’s video includes archive footage of Holiday.
Cheek to cheek
God Bless the child
Créations & improvisations (Paul Lay)
Paul Lay – piano
Olivier Garouste – video
“Excellent harmonic imagination, diverse playing, most interesting compositions, and obvious knowledge of jazz history as well as a personal voice: Paul Lay has got everything it takes to go right to the top and make a lasting career.” – Martial Solal
May 14: Stephane Belmondo – Love for Chet
A Tribute to Chet Baker
Of all jazz musicians, Chet Baker was the one who influenced the minds and souls of people most. Baker’s music had a secret language of its own that communicated directly with people’s hearts. Despite the fact that Baker’s fans were devastated at the news of his passing, his music lives on in their hearts.
As a jazz trumpet player with numerous European music awards to his name, Stephane Belmondo (1994 Django Reinhardt Prize) is a devoted fan of Chet Baker who, shortly before his death in 1988, came to hear Belmondo play in Paris.
In memory of Baker, Belmondo will perform one of Baker’s albums in honour of the legendary jazz trumpeter, nearly thirty years after his death.
Stéphane Belmondo – trumpet / bugle
Jesse Van Ruller – guitar
Thomas Bramerie – double-bass
Did you know? In the 80s Stephane Belmondo and Chet Baker met and played together several times in Paris. Stephane admired Chet deeply, and Chet was very touched by this young trumpet player, one of his favourite in the young generation.
All performances take place at Hong Kong City Hall – Theatre with tickets available through Urbtix at $380 / $280.