On a hot summer night in Paris recently one of the world’s most talented guitarists took to the stage at a small, intimate club in the center of town – Le Duc des Lombards.
Julian Lage and his trio headlined two thrilling sets of contemporary jazz from his newest album, Arclight. The trio’s cool dexterity and rhythmic intensity seduced a full house of just 75, in what might be the most intimate musical stage anywhere. The venue has become ground zero for jazz in this sparkling city, and the club is just a hop and a jump from the Châtelet métro.
Lage, who turns just 30 on Christmas Day, was armed with his famous Telecaster and joined by a pair of brilliant musicians – Chris Lightcap on bass and Eric Doob on drums.
Seated comfortably around a small stage, the audience was well taken care of by an attentive waiter quietly weaving in and out of the tables with trays of dinner and cocktails. But the main course was Lage’s intense energy happening right before their eyes. The guitarist composes music that is both intellectually mind blowing and accessible, and the crowd of devotees and initiates loved it. They came to be astonished, and they were. But that’s typical fare for this coolest of corners in the jazz world.
Long known as a magnet for talent on a street lined with music clubs, Le Duc des Lombards, established in 1984, has showcased a catalog of greats – renowned European and American stars like Ramsey Lewis, John Scofield, Kyle Eastwood (Clint’s son), Anthony Strong and the Aurore Quartet among others. Le Duc des Lombards, established in 1982 is one of the mainstays for music – along with clubs like New Morning, La Maroquinerie and Le Caveau des Oubliettes – in this ever evolving city.
On any given night you might find a sax player, pianist or violinist and their groups knocking out standards and original works. Regular concerts at Le Duc des Lombards run throughout the week, often with an early and a late set at 7:30 and 9:30. On Fridays and Saturdays though, there are also after-hours jam sessions (free entry, though you must buy drinks) with regular and visiting musicians dropping in for a set late into the night. Average prices for shows begin at 28 euros, but vary if you have a club membership or opt for the full dinner concert experience.
Check out the program to see what’s on at Le Duc des Lombards. (You can reserve on line). This club is a great place to discover jazz artistry and yet another reason Paris swings like no other city in Europe.
Le Duc des Lombards
42, rue des Lombards 75001 Paris