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What did it feel like in Paris on Friday, November 13?
From my point of view, it started with a lot of positive energy. I walked into the Sunset jazz club in the Chatelet area, where I was performing with my dad’s quartet, and said hello to some friends who had come to see the show. It was a good crowd, a full house on a Friday night and people were out to have a good time.
We played the first set and took our first break. One audience member said something to me about an event that had happened in a soccer stadium in Paris. I didn’t think too much about it.
The second set began. When we finished it was around 11:30pm. My cell phone was starting to fill up with text messages from abroad – something was happening in Paris. I looked at the audience and noticed that everyone was glued to their cell phones, following the news. We still had one more set of music to play.
Finally we saw a news alert that some shootings were happening not far from us. I felt an intense need to get out of there.
I felt a strong awareness of my own mortality and a feeling of vulnerability that I don’t think I ever felt before.
Within a short time, we all came to the conclusion that it would be better to end early than to play the third set.
The streets of Paris had already started to clear out. An eerie stillness came over the city, and there was nothing but the sound of sirens in the distance, all night long.
This is my conversation with my father, Ben, about our impressions of that night.