Zoot and trumpeter Jon Eardley were in Paris in 1956 as part of the Gerry Mulligan Sextet which performed at the Olympia. They took time off to record on their own in the studios. Tracks 1-4 released on French 10 inch LP were actually a rehearsal with the Henri Renaud trio which was deemed good enough to release. The rest of this Jazz In Paris CD features a Live set by the Henri Renaud ensemble complete with vibes and guitar dwarfing the saxes, and a loud but not unruly audience.
The two 1957 sessions that make up this CD featuring Earl Hines with a pickup rhythm section in Paris were recorded originally for Phillips, with bassist Guy Pedersen and drummer Gus Wallez. The pianist is in top form, including just a little of the Dixieland repertoire ("Royal Garden Blues" and "Muskrat Ramble") that typically dominated most of his recordings made in the U.S. during this period, and spending more time exploring favorite warhorses like "Hallelujah" and "Makin' Whoopee," as well as already classic jazz compositions such as "If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight" and "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)." While the tracks are generally brief, the music is consistently swinging at a high level and four bonus tracks have been added to the CD reissue, so it should be considered an essential purchase for fans of Earl "Fatha" Hines.
Trumpeter Donald Byrd spent a few months in France in 1958, and a Paris concert resulted in two LPs' worth of material. Byrd's quintet at the time included Bobby Jaspar (on tenor and flute), pianist Walter Davis, Jr., bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor. Byrd was just beginning to find his own sound in the late '50s and he is in excellent form on "Dear Old Stockholm," Sonny Rollins' "Paul's Pal," Jaspar's "Flute Blues," "Ray's Idea," and "The Blues Walk." This is a fine all-around hard bop session.
The title Paris Days, Berlin Nights is a little misleading. One might expect French songs about morning-after regrets and German ones about living cynically hedonistically, but this collection goes way beyond that. It includes songs about war, abandonment, the indifference of time to human suffering, and gritty street life, with music by Piazzolla and Polish-Jewish composer Chava Alberstein in addition to the expected Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, and Jacques Brel.