We have just heard a wonderful concert by a jazz vocal group from Toulouse called “Les grandes bouches.” They performed in our little nonprofit café spectacles called La Tannerie in Agen. The concert was undersubscribed, but as is ususally the case with real professionals, the group seemed to take it in stride and to enjoy themselves. It was a great privilege to hear them in such intimate surroundings. The streets of downtown Agen were virtually deserted on this chilly and drizzling night in February. You can hear the group on Myspace:
Perhaps the greatest group ever to sing in this genre of harmonized jazz was French, the great Double Six de Paris. I don’t know how many similar French groups have intervened between les Double Six and Les grandes bouches.
Music is life; life is music. Music is an international language. I have always been moved by the popularity of jazz in France. Quite by chance, the region of France in which we live, Gascony, became home to the biggest jazz festival in France, the Marciac Jazz Festival, which occurs in the small town of Marciac, in a very remote corner of our department of the Gers. I sometimes think that we were drawn here by some magnetic force, because the availability of music that I love is quite disproportionate to the small population living here. But this also attests to the greatness of jazz music.