In Memory of Bobby Few (1935-2021)

Andrew Crocker (tp), Jobic Le Masson (p), Jon Handelsman (ts), Rasul Siddik (tp), Harry Swift (b), Gwen Sampé (voc), Ichiro Onoe (dm). Photo ©PatrickMartineau


At the Sunside on 22 February 2022, we held a memorial concert for pianist Bobby Few.

Many musicians filled the stage with spiritual commitment and musical fervour in a packed room full of great energy, soulful vibes and friendly faces.


We thank everyone who contributed to the event, especially the Sunside for hosting the concert and making it happen in great conditions.

The impulse was given by Ichiro Onoe and Harry Swift and everybody responded with kindness.

The evening featured the beautiful contributions of Ricky Ford, Sylvia Howard, Gwen Sampé, Jobic Le Masson, John Betsch, Andrew Crocker, Boney Fields, Alain Jean-Marie, Eddie Allen, Benjamin Sanz, Gilles Naturel, Philippe Soirat, Jacques de Lignières, Jean-Pascal Molina, Hervé Czak, Claudine François… Apologies for those I might forget : there were so many people on that stage filled with great energy! 

Steve McCraven came on stage to read a message from him and Archie Shepp. Talib Kibwe sent us a heart-warming hommage and many showed up to pay a tribute, including Steve Potts, Peter Giron, Raymond Doumbé…

We wish to thank everyone who brought their good vibrations: Virginie Guillaumet, Benoit Artuphel, Patrice Goujon, Sarah Thorpe, Olivier Douville and the many people who came to share the music with us! 



Our hearts go to Simone and Cyrille Few.


Below are some messages from Bonda Cunningham and T.K. Blue (Talib Kibwe) as well as beautiful photographs by Patrick Martineau reflecting the glorious atmosphere at the club celebrating Bobby's legacy.


Boney Fields (tp), Rasul Siddik (tp), Kirk Lightsey (p), Ricky Ford (ts), Tommie McKenzie (b), Adrien Varachaud (ts), John Betsch (dm)


Alain Jean-Marie (p), Sylvia Howard (voc), Gilles Naturel (b), Philippe Soirat (dm)

Claudine François (p), Jacques de Lignières (ts, voc), Hervé Czak (bp), Jean-Pascal Molina (dm)

Katy Roberts (p), Didier Haboyan (as), Dominique Lemerle (b), Sangoma Everett (dm). Photo©JeanSzlamowicz

Kirk Lightsey (p), Ricky Ford (ts), Tommie McKenzie (b), John Betsch (dm), Adrien Varachaud (ts)

Tommie McKenzie (b), Benjamin Sanz (dm), Eddie Allen (perc). Photo©JeanSzlamowicz

Rasul Siddik (tp), Kirk Lightsey (p), Adrien Varachaud (ts), Tommy McKenzie (b). Photo©Jean Szlamowicz

Jean Szlamowicz (prod)

We will post more photographs and possibly short films of the event. 

In the meanwhile, we want to post one message from Bonda Cunningham, the wife of bassist Bob Cunningham (1934-2017) who was his cousin; and one from saxophonist Talib Kibwe (T.K. Blue).


"Bobby Few and Bob Cunningham were cousins (their grandmothers were sisters), but more than that they were brothers.  They grew up together in  Cleveland and because Bob's dad died when he was an infant, Bobby's dad fathered them both.  He shared his extensive record collection with them, schooling them in the beauty and intricacies of jazz.  His tutelage was so powerful, that both chose a life as jazz musicians.  They played together as teens in a band in Cleveland.  Then both moved to New York, Bob staying until his passing, Bobby moving on to Paris where he lived the rest of his life.  Their lives were intertwined throughout their lives and they were always in touch with each other.  The bond of love between the brothers was strong. It flowed over to each of their families and just keeps going on."

Bonda Cunningham

A Tribute To My Big Brother Bobby Few

by saxophonist T.K. Blue (Talib Kibwe) 2/22/22



Mr. Bobby Few was a musician of immense musical offerings and rests in the highest pantheon of jazz masters! I was so fortunate and blessed to know him and share his stage in the creation of art, so necessary and vital for the nourishment of the human soul!


Upon my desire to move to Europe in the fall of 1981, a close friend advised me to check out Paris, France. She was a singer and also suggested I should seek out pianist Bobby Few. I knew of his recorded work with Albert Ayler and Booker Ervin, which impressed me tremendously.


After a two-month stay in Switzerland I arrived to live in Paris in December of 1981. No doubt I made a beeline to the first jazz club where Master Few was performing: The Dreher in Châtelet-Les Halles. We clicked immediately and went on to establish a profound and wonderful relationship. I remember one of the very first concerts we did together at a church on the outskirts of Paris, which featured vocalist Bobby Helms, drummer Oliver Johnson, and a bassist I can’t remember precisely but it could have been Jack Gregg or Andy McKee.


We performed a multitude of times together in various formats. On one occasion, we went to Algeria as part of singer Joe Lee Wilson’s band. It was an exquisite experience as they produced our concert in a huge soccer stadium in Algiers. At the sound-check we noticed all the backline was present except a PIANO!!! As a result, brother Few played cow bell on this gig! In addition he did an admirable job and never complained!!


In 1985 I had the esteemed opportunity to record my very first LP as a leader in Paris entitled Egytian Oasis. I assembled a band with Bobby on piano, Sangoma Everett on drums, Louis Petrucciani on bass (the brother of piano legend Michel), and Edouard Detmer the producer of this date. At a rehearsal, Bobby was warming up playing a tune I never heard before entitled “I Love Music” by Emil Boyd and Hale Smith. Both Emil and Hale are from Bobby’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. This composition is a jewel and Bobby’s arrangement transformed it into a multi-carat diamond!!! I leaned over his shoulder and said, “my dear brother, let’s record it”. The rest is history and this composition remains as one of my most treasured musical experiences.


After hearing of Bobby’s illness I went to visit him and his dear wife Simone, who was always by his side. The memory of seeing him and Simone is priceless. I asked him to play the piano, which he did magnificently! It brought tears to Simone’s eyes, as he had not touched his piano in several months. I was speechless and treasured every note, phrase, and musical nuance crafted by a master artist.


I had on my phone the Egyptian Oasis recording, and played “I Love Music” for Bobby. He said, “Wow, Talib, you wrote a fantastic arrangement of Hale’s song”. I had to remind him this was his incredible arrangement!!!!

Simone called me from the hospital a short period before Bobby’s transition to the world of our ancestors. It was my last conversation with a dear friend, big brother, and musical mentor. I miss knowing he is no longer with us on the physical plane, but he is forever with us in our hearts and memories. May his soul rest forever in Paradise, shining much love, wisdom, and musical intuition upon us all!

 T.K. Blue


                                                     BOBBY FEW (1935-2021)

Cleveland-born pianist Bobby Few was a mainstay of the Paris scene since he made it his home in 1969. He touched the soul of many through his music, his warmth and humour. 

Bobby shared his unique style and spirit in many bands with players who embraced his whimsical sense of churchy swing and free playing, his wild lyricism and sophisticated simplicity. 

Musicians who have known Bobby have decided to honour his memory by playing for him.



Ichiro Onoe & Harry Swift + Jobic Le Masson, Jon Handelsman, Andrew Crocker, Gwen Sampé

Katy Roberts + Dominique Lemerle, Sangoma Everett, Rasul Siddik, Didier Haboyan

Alain Jean-MarieGilles Naturel, Philippe Soirat

Ricky Ford + Kirk Lightsey, Tom McKenzie, John Betsch

Jacques de Lignières + Hervé Czak (contrebasse), Jean-Pascal Molina (batterie)

Special guests : Adrien Varachaud, Chris Henderson, Raymond Doumbé, Mourad Benhammou, Michele Hendricks, Sylvia Howard, Steve Williams…



For information and booking, please click here 

Bobby Few is known for playing with  Booker Ervin, Albert Ayler, Brook Benton, Archie Shepp, Frank Wright, Alan Silva, Roland Kirk, Joe Lee Wilson, Steve Lacy… The stylistic openness of Bobby's music brings together the blues and all the possibilities of an organic approach to jazz.

His legacy will be celebrated at the SUNSIDE in Paris in a night devoted to the enduring spirit of true jazz and camaraderie.


A commander dans notre boutique en ligne


Préface de Ben Sidran


Avant propos de Pierre-André Taguieff


Un ouvrage consacré aux mots du jazz à travers la parole des musiciens pour en découvrir l'univers : le blues, le swing, l'église, la danse, la soulfood, l'engagement social… 

Voyage au coeur d'un vocabulaire vibrant de mystères étymologiques, pour explorer les thématiques culturelles cachées dans les replis de l'évidence musicale…

Présentation de Jazz Talk

Qu’est-ce que la soulfulness ? Pourquoi motherfucker est-il un compliment ? Êtes-vous hip ou hotchurchy ou corny ? Quel rapport entre le blues, la graisse de poulet et le swing ? Mangez-vous du gumbo ou du cornbread ? Qui sont les Ethiopians et Jim Crow ? Smoking ou burning, pourquoi le jazz est-il incendiaire ?

Et pourquoi, malgré la diffusion du jazz dans le monde entier, ces mots restent-ils des intraduisibles ? C’est que derrière les mots existe un univers de connotations et d’usages qui sont le fond culturel du jazz. Son vocabulaire révèle ainsi des strates de mémoire fondamentales et pourtant souvent inaperçues.

Cet ouvrage propose des clés pour comprendre les spécificités culturelles du jazz et de la musique afro-américaine grâce à une analyse linguistique soucieuse des contenus culturels et solidaire d’un horizon esthétique et historique. Sous la forme de regroupements thématiques abordant le rythme et le corps, la soulfood, la ségrégation, l’expressivité vocale, le blues et la ferveur religieuse, cet ouvrage tente une synthèse unique entre recherche sociolinguistique et critique musicale, lexicologie et analyse culturelle. L’étude sémantique et stylistique de chaque terme entre ainsi en interaction avec l’histoire et l’esthétique du jazz, apportant au passage une lumière nouvelle sur l’étymologie et la diffusion du mot jazz. 


Jean Szlamowicz est professeur des universités. Linguiste, traducteur, critique (pour Jazz Hot, puis Down Beat) et producteur (, il est membre de l’Académie du jazz. Spécialiste de l’anglais oral, d’analyse du discours, d’antisémitisme, de traductologie, il est notamment l’auteur de Le sexe et la langue (2018, Intervalles).


PRIX : 25.00 €

Format et nombre de pages : 16 × 24 cm - 392 p.

N° ISBN : 978-2-8107-0645-7

Vous l’attendiez tous… voici DEEP BLUE LOVE, le nouvel album de la vocaliste Sarah Thorpe !!


Elle présente ses nouvelles compositions et quelques joyaux de Carmen Lundy, Randy Weston, Horace Silver ou Wayne Shorter…


Funky, latin, swing… un album ultra-mélodique porté par des grooves magnifiques ! 


Avec la participation du saxophoniste T.K. Blue (directeur musical de Randy Weston pendant 25 ans), du pianiste Olivier Hutman (qui a joué avec le gotha du jazz, de Clifford Jordan à Roy Hargrove en passant par Aznavour), de Ronald Baker et Josiah Woodson aux trompettes, de l’incroyable Darryl Hall à la contrebasse et du légendaire batteur John Betsch.


L’album est paru en janvier 2020 sur le label américain Dot Time Records (Catherine Russell, Joey Calderazzo…) et distribué par Socadisc. En commande sur Spirit of Jazz ! 


The Rhythms Continue, by T.K. Blue (Jaja Records)

This splendid album showcases the ability of T.K. Blue to give shape to a musical project with a strong character. Far from a blowing session and equally far from an overproduced artefact, it shows that leadership is a combination of musical vision, composing skills and instrumental personality. TK has played with Abdullah Ibrahim, taken part in the Jazzmobile programme and played with Yusef Lateef, Jimmy Heath and Roland Kirk. But a fascinating aspect of his music derives from his 25-year stint with Randy Weston. Blending his own Jamaican, Trinidadian and New York roots with his knowledge of African music, he produces a colourful, dynamic and above all lyrical concept, reminiscent of the piano master’s own take on his heritage. The emphasis on rhythms includes the use of the African thumb-piano and percussions and the extensive exploration of various musical ambiances. Interspersed with solos, duets and miniature moments of reflections, the album presents a varied journey through TK’s inventive world. His purity of tone on alto and soprano is fuelled by the drive of the percussive Alex Blake on bass, the impeccable Vince Ector on drums, the excellent Sharp Radway on piano, the essential Chief Baba Neil Clarke on percussions and the guest appearances of master Billy Harper. An album to celebrate the superb vitality of this specific jazz tradition building bridges with Africa while keeping its American roots. Jean Szlamowicz (Down Beat contributor)

This month we feature several major artists at the SUNSIDE in Paris!! On July 12th (2019), saxophonist RICKY FORD and drummer DOUG SIDES will set fire to the club with their Power Quartet for a live recording — be there to contribute to the burning spirit of jazz!!  On July 25th RONNIE LYNN PATTERSON, the pianist from Mississippi, will make a rare appearance with his trio, playing his own revamped version of  music by Earth Wind and Fire, George Benson, Eddie Palmieri and The Doors… Gorgeous music you can't do without!! We'll see you there!!

Sarah Thorpe & Talib Kibwe (TK BLUE) 6tet

feat. Darryl Hall, John Betsch.

Mercredi 20 mars : Cercle Suédois : 242 rue de Rivoli, Paris 1er. Concert à 19h30.

Samedi 23 mars : La Fontaine de Belleville : 31-33 rue Juliette Dodu, Paris 10e. Concert à 16h30.

Dimanche 24 mars: Lou Pascalou, 14 rue des Panoyaux, Paris 20e.Concert à 20h.

Le saxophoniste Talib KIBWE (alias TK Blue), arrangeur et complice de Randy Weston durant 25 ans, rencontre la vocaliste franco-britannique Sarah THORPE pour une série de concerts préparant leur prochain enregistrement commun.


Latin, funky, sensible, l'univers de Sarah THORPE et sa voix toujours mélodique prennent des couleurs avec TK Blue, à la flûte, au sax alto et soprano. Sarah présentera ses nouvelles compositions avec des arrangements de TK Blue et Olivier Hutman et des morceaux de Carmen Lundy, Wayne Shorter, Randy Weston, Horace Silver… Un univers composite mais ancré dans le jazz le plus sincère!

Sarah THORPE est la voix qui monte dans la scène jazz. Formée par Michele Hendricks, elle affirme une musique en constante évolution, au romantisme vivace porté par sa voix claire.


Ces concerts sont placés sous le signe des rencontres grâce au renfort cuivré de Hermon Mehari (tp) ou Ronald Baker (tp, voc) et à la puissance rythmique du grand John Betsch (dm).


Un groupe inédit, une musique toute fraîche, pleine de groove et de belles mélodies : il faudra être là!!!!


Le Cercle Suédois: Hermon Mehari, Olivier Hutman, Blaise Chevalier, John Betsch

La Fontaine de Belleville: Hermon Mehari, Olivier Hutman, Blaise Chevalier, John Betsch

Lou Pascalou: Ronald Baker, Olivier Hutman, Darryl Hall, John Betsch


Talib Kibwe & Kirk Lightsey


Mardi 2 avril, Le Marcounet, péniche amarrée au pied du Pont Marie,

Paris 4e.

Concert à 20h


Né à New York en 1953 d'une famille de Trinidad et de la Jamaïque, Talib Kibwe (TK Blue) s'est formé auprès de Billy Mitchell, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Ernie Wilkins ou Billy Taylor.

Plongé dans la richesse de cette tradition, il s'est forgé une personnalité origianle qui lui a valu de jouer avec Jaki Byard, Sam Rivers, Chico Hamilton, Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) et le Spirit of Life Ensemble.

Il s'est distingué comme directeur musical des groupes du légendaire Randy Weston et a construit une belle discographie dont le dernier opus s'intitule Amour (Dot Time Records).


Le pianiste Kirk Lightsey est un des grands stylistes du piano contemporain, entre McCoy Tyner et Herbie Hancock, il a trouvé une voix parfaitement originale, d'une vitalité rythmique incroyable.


Né en 1937 à Detroit, il a accompagné de Dexter Gordon, Roy Hagrove, Chet Baker, Gregory Porter, Ricky Ford… 

Représentant d'une époque sans oeillère stylistiques, Kirk Lightsey s'est exprimé dans une variété de styles qui dessine les contours d'un jazz authentique.

Sa musique est unique et d'une intensité permanente. Un grand monsieur du piano!

Sur la péniche du Marcounet, la rencontre avec Talib Kibwe sera explosive!


Ronnie Lynn Patterson & Peter Giron Duo

Dans le cadre du festival Jazz à la Cité, avec la Fondation des Etats-Unis

23 octobre 2018                                20h00                                      Entrée libre

Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris .

15 Boulevard Jourdan 75014

Né en 1958 à Wichita, l’extraordinaire coloriste Ronnie Lynn Patterson possède un parcours singulier. Parisien venu du Mississippi, il possède un univers éclectique où classique et blues se mêlent avec une cohérence qui lui est toute personnelle. Un musicien rare ! Dans son univers unique se mêlent Rachmaninov et Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner et Morton Feldman sous l’égide d’un blues ouvert et inventif. Ses rencontres avec Martial Solal ou Aldo Romano, Beñat Achiary ou Jeff Boudreaux témoignent de la curiosité enracinée d’un pianiste polyglotte (du basque au yiddish !) dont la musique est toujours surprenante.


L’énergique Peter Giron (né à New York, 1952) possède un monde tout aussi contrasté où l’on rencontre le blues de Luther Allison, celui de Charles Earland ou d’Archie Shepp ainsi que les belles rencontres avec Kurt Elling, Dave Liebman, Ted Curson, Rhoda Scott, Hal Singer ou Kirk Lightsey. Avec un instinct rythmique polyvalent, il inspire les solistes et nourrit de superbes interventions le trio qu’il anime avec Jobic Le Masson (p) et John Betsch (dm). Pédagogue et infatigable performer, il apporte à ce dialogue son expérience et un don pour l’écoute d’une réactivité lumineuse.

Tribute to Wayne Dockery (1941-2018)


Wayne Dockery était un immense contrebassiste. Il a apporté sa pulsation et son phrasé inimitables à quantité de musiciens, au premier rang desquels George Benson, les Jazz Messengers, Archie Shepp, Sonny Fortune, Junior Cook, Hal Galper, Sunny Murray, Benny Golson…

Traversant toutes les frontières stylistiques pour ne reconnaître que celles de la sincérité du jazz, il possédait le don de savoir faire sonner n’importe quel groupe. Avec sa sonorité puissante et nerveuse, il imposait toujours sa voix avec vigueur.

Installé en France depuis le début des années 1990, il a contribué à la vitalité de la scène parisienne avec modestie, constance, inspiration.

Avec Spirit of Jazz, nous avions réussi — à une unique reprise, en 2010 — à vaincre sa modestie en le faisant jouer en leader pour évoquer la musique de McCoy Tyner.

Rejoignant l’initiative du saxophoniste Adrien Varachaud, il était logique que SOJ lui rende un hommage associant les musiciens qui l’avaient côtoyé.


La soirée débutera à 19h00 et verra se succéder divers musiciens, avec leur groupe et en jam session.

Nous pouvons annoncer la présence de Kirk Lightsey, Alain Jean-Marie, Darryl Hall, Glenn Ferris, Adrien Varachaud, Laurent de Wilde, Olivier Hutman, Steve Potts, Doug Sides, Steve McCraven, Katy Roberts, Vincent Bourgeyx, Joan Minor, Ronnie Lynn Paterson, Philippe Soirat, Ichiro Onoe, Rasul Siddik, Dominique Lemerle, Sylvia Howard, Mra Oma, Sam Coombes, David Prez, Emmanuel Bex, Franck Amsallem, Marie-Ange Martin, Jérôme Barde, Eddy Charni, Gilles Naturel, Harry Swift, Simon Goubert, Nicolas Sabato, Peter Giron, Matyas Szandai, Gildas Scouarnec, Jean-Philippe Viret…

C’est évidemment une liste susceptible d’improvisations et de variations diverses.


On lira aussi les témoignages de ceux qui ne peuvent être présents mais qui ont tenu à s’associer à cet hommage : George Benson, Sonny Fortune, Benny Golson…


On aura également une pensée pour le pianiste Tom McClung, son partenaire au sein du quartet d’Archie Shepp, disparu lui aussi un an auparavant, qui faisait partie de la même famille de musiciens inventifs, originaux, sans œillères.


Dans une belle interview, Wayne Dockery parle de la beauté et du swing. C'est ce dont il sera question le 30 septembre 2018 au Sunside à Paris.


Tickets: 10 euros, au bénéfice de la famille de Wayne Dockery. 

Spirit of Jazz partenaire du colloque Musique et Pouvoir à l'Université de Bourgogne


Avec le soutien de l'Ambassade des Etats-Unis d'Amérique

Table ronde sur le thème "Jazz, musiques actuelles et institutions en France", animée par Jean Szlamowicz avec Ricky Ford (saxophoniste, directeur du festival de Toucy), Yves Sportis (rédacteur en chef de Jazz Hot), Ludovic Florin (Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès), Xavier Felgeyrolles (Space Time Records ; Jazz en Tête). 

Interventions sur le jazz en Pologne, le jazz durant la Guerre Froide, etc.

Pour le programme complet : site de l'Université de Bourgogne

Infos pratiques: ici


TK Blue at the SUNSIDE in Paris, 25th Nov. 2017. Feat. Olivier Hutman, Nicola Sabato, John Betsch.

Talib Kibwe. AMOUR (Dot Time Records)
Freshness. Honesty. Inspiration. That’s all it takes in terms of aesthetic doctrine. T.K. demonstrates with his latest album that jazz can be kept alive without resorting to dubious recipes in synch with the taste of the pop merchants.
Born in New York in 1953, of Jamaican and Trinidadian descent, he learnt music with Billy Mitchell, Jimmy Heath and other Harlem Jazzmobile teachers such as Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Ernie Wilkins and Billy Taylor. This account for being steeped in the deepest jazz tradition.
Among his first major gigs, playing with Jaki Byard, Sam Rivers, Chico Hamilton, Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) whose band comprised Carlos Ward, Hamiett Bluiett, Roy Brooks, John Betsch and Johnny Dyani, probably accounts for the extent of his stylistic openness.
Unsurprisingly, his avid personality led him to play in a great variety of contexts. He went on to play with the Daoud-Davis Williams’ Spirit of Life Ensemble and never ceased to record and tour with Randy Weston. His initiatives as a leader or co-leader with James Weidman, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Santi Debriano, Guillherme Franco, Jayne Cortez have all proved immensely original.
A very idiosyncratic player, T.K. Blues displays the influence of Roland Kirk, Yusef Lateef, as well as well-rounded bebop phrasing and a tone reminiscent of Bobby Watson on alto.
This album is an accomplished example of jazz invention. Whether tackling the classic medium blues (“Dream Time” with some funky grooves thrown in) or a delightful jazz waltz (“Parisian Memoir”), he always manages to conjure arrangements that are complex and easy-flowing at the same time.
The Randy Weston influence is obvious (“Hi-Fly”) but the African, Brazilian, Cuban touches, so prominent here, were always part of T.K’s own music. Not only do the Latin and African influences stand out, but they’re soaked in swing and blues, with a constant melodic tenderness that is reflected in the title. His Latin reading of “Infant Eyes” on soprano is a gem.
It is not easy to be consistent when one mixes influences. It takes a tremendous personality to make them meaningful. T.K. Blue does that but also showcases the huge creative potential of all the jazz genres, exploring them with mastery and excitement on all his horns and bringing together beautiful musicians who all contribute to the lively poetry of this unique recording.
Titles. Banlieue Blue; Infant Eyes; Parisian Memoir; A Single Tear of Remembrance; Resolution; Dream Time; 204; Abdoulaye; Requiem for a Loved 1; Petite Fleur; Elvin Elpus
Personnel. T.K. Blue (as, ss, fl) + Warren Wolf (p, vib), Jeff Reed (b), Eric Kennedy (dm), Roland Guerrero (perc.); Zaccai Curtis (), Essiet Essiet (b), Winard Harper (dm), Grégoire Maret (hca), Etienne Charles (tp)
Recorded in May 2016, Dot Time Records

Tom Mc Clung


Pianist Tom McClung died during the night between Saturday 13rd and Sunday 14th May 2017.


His passing is not something that feels natural. He was so deeply rooted in the French scene that his demise is hardly believable at all. I’m afraid my first thought when I am going to need a pianist will still be to call him. Unfortunately, there will be no answer. Tom always answered. He was always ready to play.


I had first heard him in the late 1990s at Le Relais de l’Isle, a very small restaurant on the Ile St Louis in Paris, run by Christophe Lepelletier. After the regular hours he would continue to swing on that white upright piano, always ready to play if someone sat in. Next door, he often played at the Franc Pinot, run by Jean-Marc Verbois, with Hal Singer, Bob Demeo, Joe Lee Wilson…


With Jérôme Partage, I have been so fortunate to organise concerts where he shone so brightly : a duet at the Eglise de Bon Secours with ténor saxophonist Jean-Jacques Elangué ; a trio with Andy McKee on bass and John Betsch on drums at the Sorbonne ; a quartet with Ted Curson on trumpet, Nicola Sabato on bass and John Betsch in the gardens of the 11e arrondissement ; a memorable private concert at the US Embassy in Paris with Ted, Peter Giron and Doug Sides.




Tom with Doug Sides (dm) and Peter Giron at the US Embassy in 2008. With Jean-Jacques Elangué (ts) at Eglise du Bon Secours, Oct. 2013.

In 2010, in Sarcelles, he took part in a concert led by bassist Wayne Dockery with John Betsch on drums dedicated to the music of McCoy Tyner. With very little rehearsal time, he turned in an incredible performance, letting his incredibly sprightly inspiration speak for him.

The climax for me was undeniably the night he played at the Improviste, a boat in Paris in July 2014, with Ricky Ford, Peter Giron and Doug Sides. The music was wild and fiery. He was really smoking that night, in the full embrace of the music he was creating collectively.

 Sadly, these « bright moments » went undocumented.

Fortunately, his concert with Ted Curson and Ricky Ford at the Sorbonne was recorded. I remember he had just flown in from a tour and had joined the band effortlessly, delivering some magnificent solos and beautiful comping. You can hear his superb contribution on Ted Curson Plays the Music of Charles Mingus, Live in Paris (2008).

Tom with the Spirit of Life Ensemble; feat. Joe Lee Wilson (voc), Rob Henke (tp) and Ray Blue (ts), April 2008

Tom was a driving force on the Paris scene. He constantly sat in with the Spirit of Life Ensemble when they were in town. He had a band with Ronald Baker and Nicola Sabato playing the music of Frank Sinatra ; and also beautiful trio with Mourad Benhammou and Mathias Szandai… He played alongside Archie Shepp for many years and also with Marion Brown, Yusef Lateef, Gildas Scouarnec and Steve McCraven. Before his time in Paris, he had played with Thomas Chapin, Attila Zoller, Ray Copeland, Jimmy Knepper, Benny Waters, Al Cohn, Arthur Blythe…



Obviously, Tom simply soaked in all that, building his own jazz vocabulary. He has so much music in him. My feeling was that he had reached a point where he had his own musical world, a fascinating balance between straight and quirky lines. He reminded me of Kirk Lightey in that respect, of Mal Waldron and Monk too, and Kenny Barron and John Hicks. His world was very diverse. Swing with enigmatic angles and blues undertones—even when he played classical music. He was always extremely musical in his playing  and he never let formalism get in the way—his musical intelligence remained based on an emotional approach. Big-hearted and soulful, his music was witty and full of unexpected twists and turns. A stylistic oddity, he generously spiced up his expression with unpredictable phrases. There was always something happening when he played.


Born in 1957 in New York, Tom McClung had spent his childhood in Amherst, Massachussets and no doubt you will read his complete obituary in Jazz Hot, with a list of all his accomplishments. But what I remember is of course the most elusive part of the man, the one that can never get written down—his demeanour, his façon d’être, his dry humour, his quiet charm, his gentle smile.


We miss him already. And I already know I’ll still want to call him for a gig.


Jean Szlamowicz 

Our deepest sympathy goes to his wife Anne.

With Wayne Dockery and John Betsch; with Nicola Sabato (b), Ted Curson (tp) and Vincent Frade (dm); at the Sorbonne (©Ph. Chagnon); with Peter Giron (b)

Spirit of Jazz présente…

Ricky Ford's Power Quartet au Sunside, vendredi 7 octobre 2016!!

Ricky Ford has played with Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner, Abdullah Ibrahim, Roy Hargrove, Milt Hinton, Jaki Byard and many more. He has been developing his own musical world for years in duets, big band, sextet, quartet, tackling swing, sacred music, standards and creating a very rich universe all his own. Based on his larger-than-life sound rooted in furious swing, his music is an engulfing cascade of tenor madness.

Here and now with his Power Quartet !!!!   Be there, y’all!!

Tarif préférentiel 20€ au lieu de 25 € avec le code promo 20RF7 sur le site


21h00 au Sunside, 60 rue des Lombards, 75001


On piano, the extraordinary colourful Ronnie Lynn Patterson brings a special sonic background to the quartet.

On bass, Darryl Hall is a groove-maker like no other. Hailing from Philadelphia he has played with Ravi Coltrane, Carmen Lundy, Kenny Barron, Regina Carter, Dianne Reeves… One of the most melodic and swinging bassists today. Logically one of the most sought-after.

With veteran drummer John Betsch (Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy, Jim Pepper, Ted Curson) providing the pulse, the music is sure to soar to incredible heights of artistic engagement. 




Sarah Thorpe, Tribute to Nina Simone, Festival Jazz Vocal, le 2 juillet 2016 au Sunset !

Sarah Thorpe Sings Nina Simone

Dans la foulée de son premier album, Never Leave Me, Sarah Thorpe a choisi d’évoquer l’univers de Nina Simone, entre swing et soul, sensibilité et hardiesse, de "Feeling Good" à "Don't Let me Be Misunderstood". Grâce à une voix touchante, pleine de feeling, un répertoire entre rhythm and blues funky et ballades sensuelles, valse jazz et swing moderne, Sarah Thorpe montre une conviction énergique qui parvient à un équilibre entre émotion et vigueur. Au carrefour de la métamorphose et de l'hommage bluesy, entre finesse et ferveur, une découverte immanquable !


Sarah Thorpe (voc), Olivier Hutman (piano), Michel Rosciglione (contrebasse), Philippe Soirat (batterie)

Sunside, 60 rue des Lombards, 75001, Paris

Réduction de 5 € avec le code promo 20ST1

Réservation des places :

Retrouvez les vidéos de Sarah Thorpe et de son sextet sur le titre de Nina Simone "I'm Gonna Leave You"



Nouvelle production Spirit of Jazz Records !


Premier album !

Sarah Thorpe, la nouvelle voix de la scène parisienne, est entourée de musiciens d'élite ayant accompagné Dianne Reeves, Michel Legrand, Anne Ducros ou Kenny Barron… Avec sa voix touchante, pleine de feeling, entre fragilité et puissance, elle revisite  un répertoire de joyaux mélodiques, entre rhythm and blues funky et ballades sensuelles.

Vivifié par le groove, Never Leave Me raconte de nombreuses histoires d’amour, de la rencontre à la rupture en passant par d’énigmatiques entre-deux.

Attentive au sens des mots, Sarah Thorpe donne corps à toutes ces histoires : la pop jazzifiée de « Jive », le standard transfiguré « Mack the Knife », la véhémence bluesy de « Gonna Leave You », la nostalgie de « The End of the Line »… du groove à la tendresse, Sarah Thorpe dévoile toutes les facettes de son expression.
Un premier album d’une rare maturité!

Spirit of Jazz Booking

Pour les festivals, clubs de jazz et autres programmateurs, Spirit of Jazz propose de belles affiches dans des styles variés.

De grands noms du jazz comme Ricky Ford et son Power Quartet consacré à Monk et Mingus ou de nouveaux noms de la scène jazz comme la très élégante et funky Sarah Thorpe …

 L’enthousiasme du swing est porté par le nouveau quartet de Nicola Sabato avec le vibraphoniste Jacques di Costanzo pour une musique débordante d’un groove rafraîchissant ou par le quintet du trompettiste et chanteur Ronald Baker avec un beau programme autour de Nat King Cole.

Le trio du pianiste Olivier Hutman avec Darryl Hall et Steve Williams est emblématique d’un jazz raffiné, moderne et inspiré. L’art du trio célébré avec un très grande classe !

 L’esprit d’un jazz international explorant des couleurs variées est exalté par le Spirit of Life Ensemble de Daoud-David Williams et ses rythmes latins, ainsi que par l’Afro-Semitic Experience de David Chevan et Warren Byrd unis par le gospel et la musique de synagogue.

De nombreuses autres affiches sont possibles car nous travaillons régulièrement avec des artistes de renoms comme Kirk Lightsey, Harry Allen, Michel Pastre, Sean Gourley, Aurore Quartet, William Chabbey, Sylvia Howard…

De nombreuses autres affiches sont possibles car nous travaillons régulièrement avec des artistes de renoms comme Kirk Lightsey, Harry Allen, Michel Pastre, Sean Gourley, Aurore Quartet, William Chabbey, Sylvia Howard…