Belle du Berry - Vocals, Potzi - Guitar, Francois Jeannin - Drums/Vocals, David Lewis - Trumpet/Piano Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac – double bass (and occasionally featuring Rémy Kaprielan – percussion, vocals, sax)
Six albums and two decades spent criss-crossing the globe, playing to enthusiastic audiences from Sydney to San Francisco ...
Called “marvelously eclectic” by the LA Times, Paris Combo are returning to the US for their 20th tour in January 2019. The musically devious Parisians will be showcasing songs from their latest studio release Tako Tsubo, as well as favorites from their previous six albums, and their set will once again highlight their signature blend of swinging gypsy jazz, cabaret, French pop, Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms.
Featuring the vocals of charismatic chanteuse Belle du Berry, the line-up also includes founder-members, the Django-influenced guitarist Potzi, Australian-born trumpeter & pianist David Lewis, drummer-crooner François Jeannin, as well as virtuoso bassist, Benoit Dunoyer de Ségonzac. They are also joined by Rémy Kapriélan on percussion, vocals and sax for some dates.
Paris Combo's musical roots run deep and varied – Belle du Berry began her musical career in post-punk bands of the late eighties but also cites influences such as Arletty, the French singer-actress of the ’30s, the Surrealists and a panoply of more recent artists including the B-52’s. Potzi’s guitar has multiple influences including Django Reinhardt and his own North African heritage and this, along with François’ ska or Latin grooves creates a fascinating, toe-tapping blend.
Lewis, who previously played with a wide variety of Paris-based bands including Manu Dibango and Arthur H, attributes the group’s approach to Paris’ cosmopolitan atmosphere. Belle, Potzi and François first performed together in Paris as members of a quirky retro revue, “Les Champêtres de Joie” which went on to collaborate at the closing ceremony of the Albertville Winter Olympic Games in 1992. Du Berry and David Lewis met while performing together at the “Cabaret Sauvage” revue and in 1995 the group began to hone their sound playing in cafés and barges along the Seine under the name Paris Combo.
Paris Combo’s eponymous 1997 debut disc arrived as the swing revival was in full bloom, yet the band’s wide-ranging mix of musical influences instantly set them apart from other groups in the genre, winning critical praise and appealing to international audiences.
The mainstream success of their second album Living Room (1999) gave the group unique status as a French indie band capable of drawing crowds not only in France, where the album went gold, but also in Australia and the USA where they performed their songs – always in their native French - to growing audiences, culminating in 2004-5 with three concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.
Returning to performing in 2011 after a five-year hiatus, the group made their US comeback, again at the Hollywood Bowl with symphony orchestra, and went on to release their fifth album, simply entitled 5 on DRG Records. Media response was enthusiastic and in 2013-14, they sold out venues across the country with their first US tours in a decade and a triumphant return to Australia in 2015.
Following the 2017 release of their sixth album Tako Tsubo in the US on the DRG/eOne label, the group successfully toured the US, Australia / New Zealand and Europe. On their new record, the chanteuse Belle du Berry leads us through a deliciously varied collection of musical atmospheres, ranging from the intimacy of the live combo to more lush orchestral settings and beautiful 60's retro à la Bacharach with near-psychedelic overtones. The lyrical leitmotif of the album - suggested by the song titles, “Mon Anatomie,” “Spécimen,” “Anémiques Maracas,” “ID d'Heidi,” “Profil” - is the human physique and the way our emotional and physical beings interact. “Tako Tsubo,” the lounge-tinged title track, is inspired by a rare condition known also as “broken-heart syndrome." (Thank goodness Paris Combo have the cure!) Songwriter Belle du Berry indeed sees the human body as kind of « machine », capable of feeling, permuting and expressing an infinite gamut of emotions.
In April 2018 they released Remixed, an original collection remixes of their songs by some of France's most inspired DJ's to coincide with an electrifying, celebratory show at La Cigale in Paris. “After releasing 5 and Tako Tsubo, we gave some of our songs to remixers in our immediate entourage, giving them carte blanche so they could reinterpret them, and in particular, our best-known song “Living Room,” says David Lewis. “We loved the result.” Fans are sure to feel the same.