Ha – made you look! Not that kind of swinger! Tch, you should be ashamed of yourselves! No, I mean swinging in the musical bebop-zabba-dabba-da-da-do sense of the word. I mean jazz, man, oh yeah. Ptah, ptah, ptah.
You don’t have to be a turtle necked cool cat to appreciate the odd bit of swinging live jazz music, nor, thankfully, particularly rich. Certainly, it will only cost you the price of drink (even non-alcoholic if you’re boring/cheap/tee-total). You’ll already know what I’m talking about if you’ve stumbled into l’Artichaut on Grande Rue of a Thursday night sometime in the past year or so. For there in the cellar in amongst the tightly packed bodies you will have discovered purveyors of some of the finest jazz music that the world can offer.
The title of the show is ‘It’s beef’ (lord only knows why, some sort of French jazz in-joke perhaps?) and it ‘goes down’ more or less every other Thursday under the very talented eye of Rick Hannah. Monsieur Hannah, as you’ve probably guessed, isn’t remotely French, but is an American citizen now settled in Strasbourg (coincidentally having emigrated almost at exactly the same time as us!). While his band, The Rick Hannah Trio (with bassist and drummer from Alsace) usually headline the evening, the format is pretty loose. Other local bands, singers and musicians are invited along to play a pre-arranged set, at the end of which they get together for a proper full-on jam session, which will often go on until past closing time (1am).
While I’m no expert, I have sat through some decent performances at the Purcell Room and made regular visits to the Soho Pizzeria to soak up the dulcet tones of the likes of Nicki Leighton-Thomas, and I can say with hand on heart that Rick Hannah’s set is right up there, I mean it’s jazz, man, the real deal, uh-huh.
Zeeba-dabba-didi-didi-didi-de-doo. Mais oui.