A few years ago, a friend of mine turned me on to “gypsy jazz,” or “jazz manouche” as the Parisians say. Since then I’d become entranced by the intricate harmonies, driving rhythms, and virtuosic guitar solos.
So when planning my recent trip to Paris, I put gypsy jazz at the top of my agenda. With the help of some web research–most notably, this 2010 article from The Guardian–I was able to track down two gypsy jazz performances while I was there in April 2012.
Bouquet Du Nord
This is by no means a smoky, dark jazz club. By day, and six nights per week, it’s a casual café/brasserie; Friday nights, they clear a few chairs out of the way and host a house jazz band that’s joined by occasional guest musicians.
If you’re not familiar with your modern Chinese history, well, you should be, since the monumental events of the 20th century that transformed China and its 1 billion+ people still resonate with us today in major ways. And that history is also essential for understanding the significance of Taipei’s most significant tourist sites, the memorials for Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek.
First, let’s visit Dr. Sun:
I love this building’s fusion of modern Western architecture and traditional Chinese architecture. I haven’t seen many examples of this style in my travels in Korea and Japan, so I take note whenever I see them.
After reading about Longshan Temple on the Senseitions blog (a fantastic journal of East Asian adventures by my globetrotting teacher friends), I made sure to add Longshan Temple to my Taipei itinerary. Good thing I did: not only is it an impressive structure, the place was positively swarming with activity due to the Lunar New Year holiday.