Doug Wamble, Janet LaBelle
622 Degraw st.
Brooklyn, NY, 11217
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
Four albums and a decade spent touring the globe playing to enthusiastic audiences from Sydney to San Francisco and Berlin to Beirut have enabled Paris Combo to create its own unique world, establishing itself as one of the most piquant, intriguing groups on the international music scene. Fronted by the mischievous vocals of chanteuse Belle du Berry, the combo has struck a positive chord with critics and audiences for their fun-loving mix of jazz, French pop, cabaret, gypsy, Latino and Middle Eastern rhythms.
In the early '90s, du Berry, Potzi and François Jeannin first performed together as members of the offbeat retro revue Champêtres de Joie, playing acoustically in the historic Berry Zèbre cinema in Paris' Belleville district. Together they collaborated with French choreographer Philippe Decouflé at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Albertville. Du Berry met Australian musician David Lewis in 1994 when both were performers at the inaugural Cabaret Sauvage revue (now a popular venue in Paris) and it was not long before he joined the trio. They were then joined by bassist Mano Razanajato, forming what was to become Paris Combo.
From 1995-97, the group honed their unique style playing in cafés and on barges moored along the Seine. Du Berry, whose musical roots go back to post-punk bands, often cites influences such as Arletty, the French singer-actress of the '30s, but also the Surrealists and a panoply of more recent artists including the B-52's. Potzi's Django-influenced guitar often mixes with François' ska or Latin grooves to create a fascinating blend. Lewis, who had previously played with a wide variety of French bands including Manu Dibango and Arthur H, attributes the group's approach to Paris' cosmopolitan atmosphere.
In 1997, Paris Combo released their eponymous first album on the now-historic indie label, Boucherie (Butchery), and began touring intensively in France. The band's popularity may have coincided with a swing revival in the mid-1990s, but Paris Combo played a more varied set than the retro swing bands. Los Angeles Times' critic Don Heckman declared, "The group's music fits into the swing revival category occupied by such bands as the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, but their range of styles is far too eclectic to be bunched into a single category." Most critics agreed, attributing to the group such wide-ranging characteristics as French cabaret, rumba, flamenco, Gypsy swing, cool jazz, African, Latin and Middle Eastern styles.
On the heels of the success of their debut CD, Paris Combo released "Living Room" in Europe in 1999 and in the United States the following year. One of the last Boucherie releases, the album was soon re-licensed to Universal in France where it was a gold record with 100,000 albums sold by the end of 2000. The group performed at the iconic Parisian venue l'Olympia to cap-off the year's 120 concerts. This was followed by the release of "Attraction" in 2001, a live album in 2002 and extensive touring in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia.
In late 2004, Paris Combo released "Motifs" produced by respected American sound engineer Oz Fritz. As a prelude to the CD's U.S. release, the group performed symphonic arrangements of their set with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Anastasia Tsioulcas declared in Billboard that "Motifs" is "a required cocktail party soundtrack" emphasizing the mainstream appeal of the band, but Paris Combo still refused to be classified, nor did their mainstream appeal diminish their carefully crafted sound. Washington Post critic Mike Joyce wrote "Engaging, clever and cutting by turns, it doesn't take long for ‘Motifs’ to prove once again that Paris Combo has carved out a truly distinctive niche for itself..."
In 2010, after an extended sabbatical, the group starting writing and rehearsing again. Belle, Potzi, François and David worked together for over a year composing and arranging new songs and re-discovering their own distinctive group sound, allowing Belle's lyrics to explore the crazy extremes of love - from total obsession ("Je te vois partout") to total forgiveness ("Tout excusé").
At the end of 2011, joined by newcomer Emmanuel Chabbey on bass, Paris Combo made an exclusive comeback appearance at the Hollywood Bowl and began performing their new songs as well as favorites such as "Living Room" and "Señor" in France, Europe and the Middle East. At the same time, they began to record at Labomatic Studios in Paris with star producers Dominique Blanc-Francard and Bénédicte Schmitt (Gainsbourg, Françoise Hardy, Camille). Before the album was finished, rough mixes of songs had started making their way onto radio playlists and compilations in Europe and Australia.
The quintet is back with their fifth studio recording simply titled "5." which has now been released in the US.
As a child of Memphis, TN, Doug Wamble has always been surrounded by a vast musical and cultural landscape. From listening to his mother play piano in their Baptist church to his grandfather singing cowboy songs, murder ballads and old time gospel favorites while strumming his guitar, Doug has been immersed in music for his entire life.
After completing two music degrees, Doug decided to head to New York to seek a career as a guitarist and composer. Appearing on bandstands and recordings with such jazz greats as Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson and Branford Marsalis, and pop artists such as Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux and Courtney Love, Doug was making a name for himself as a guitarist when he was signed to Branford Marsalis’ label, Marsalis Music/Rounder Records. Doug released two critically acclaimed records “Country Libations” and “Bluestate,” which focused not only on his guitar abilities, but on his compositions and soulful vocals. Touring all over the world, Doug has performed as a bandleader at festivals and clubs, and opened for acts such as Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Branford Marsalis, and the Indigo Girls. As a composer, Doug has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Chamber Music America and has recently composed portions of the original scores for renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on his films “The Tenth Inning” and “Prohibition.” Doug composed the entire score for “The Central Park Five” co-directed by Burns and his daughter Sarah. This film will be released in 2012.
Becoming a singer/songwriter was never something Wamble had considered, but upon delving into this new direction, he found that something resonated with him. “I had self-identified as a jazz musician for so long that it was strange at first to put that aesthetic aside and refocus my energies into music that did not draw from that tradition.” But doing so has led Wamble to reconnect with the roots of Memphis music, gospel, and Delta blues in a whole new way. “It’s not like an either/or situation,” Wamble says. “I’ve spent far too much of my life listening to and playing jazz music. But it’s merely one part of what I do. I enjoy delving into the craft of songwriting and finding ways to still keep my influences intact without detracting from the song. And if it helps the song to have some blazing guitar solos, that’s OK, too!”
Doug’s first effort in this new direction was released in 2010, simply titled Doug Wamble. Produced by acclaimed producer Lee Townsend and featuring guest appearances by Charlie Hunter, Steven Bernstein, and Jonah Smith, Doug wrote a stunning collection of songs that drew from his expansive palette of American musical traditions, and closed with a stirring cover of Fiona Apple’s “I Know.”
2011 brings even more new things from Doug Wamble. For the first time, he is producing his own record, Fast as Years, Slow as Days. Aside from a few drum tracks, Doug is playing all the instruments himself, and it will be released in 2012.
LaBelle's songwriting has been described as "top-notch" according to Aquarian Weekly and "full of neat, unexpected flourishes" by New York Music Daily. On her latest EP, "Blossom & Blue, " LaBelle demonstrates that her range of influences is limitless, but her unique voice emerges as entirely her own.
Growing up in a small town in New Jersey, LaBelle fronted one of the few female-led bands on the indie-rock scene. She has since taken her songwriting and musicianship to new heights, learning new instruments and exploring a range of styles from '60s French pop to alternative country. In addition to her solo project, she has recently toured as a singer and multi-instrumentalist with Jimmy Destri of Blondie.
LaBelle is currently living in Brooklyn where she performs regularly with her band. She is working on her fourth album release with tour dates soon to be announced.
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