“For those whose bag is funk or soul, Funky Ella should be squarely in their strike zone. Lewis is an excellent singer, Hagen likewise on piano, and the group goes about its funky business with finesse and flair.” - Jack Bowers
Equal Parts Ella & Aretha
"her beautiful tone and classy phrasing evoke the sound of the classic jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan” - Jazztimes
American jazz singer Leslie Lewis grew up with a love of equal parts Ella and Aretha and, together with husband-pianist-arranger Gerard Hagen, presents “Funky Ella” - a new project celebrating feel-good music.
Along with four in-demand musicians from the Parisian scene - Peter Giron (contrebasse) Nicolas Peslier (guitar) Mourad Benhammou (batterie) and Jean-Philippe Naeder (percussion) - they perform music that is steeped in jazz and R&B but is all about the groove.
Using arrangements that create a unique backdrop for Leslie who is a consummate storyteller, their audiences are engaged with a dynamic combination of jazz and R&B that communicates passion, beauty, honesty and humour.
Gerard and Leslie’s shared music journey began in 2005 when they met in Laguna Beach, California, and continued with their relocation to Paris in 2012. They’ve released six albums together and toured the world in various line-ups.
Now established in the French capital, they bring together some of their favourite players for the debut album - "I Put A Spell On You "- which was recorded at Studio de Meudon in Paris and mixed/mastered in Los Angeles.
Between them, the musicians have performed at many of the world’s great jazz festivals from Marciac to Melbourne and Ankara to Vienne and with jazz legends such as Kurt Elling, Dave Liebman, Rhoda Scott, Kirk Lightsey and Claude Bolling.
"A complete pleasure: Leslie Lewis’ deep, grainy Jazz voice with husband Gerard’s arrangements providing the inventive settings that frame her nuanced phrasing of some well chosen lyrics." - Cadence Magazine