Traveling Noir: Deep Jazz Roots in the Heart of Paris’ Montmartre (via NBC)

At the foot of 15 narrow wooden steps, a lounge barely bigger than a bedroom holds an enthusiastic multicultural crowd grooving to the jazz stylings of Christian Lauretta and the George-Edouard Nouel Trio.

It’s a Friday night on a holiday weekend in May, and the performers’ Caribbean-influenced, Creole-flavored jazz has packed the Le Bab-Ilo bar. Clad in black tuxedo tails and a broad-brimmed hat, Lauretta is a captivating showman, dancing and engaging the audience as he sings in French and Creole. Along with pianist Nouel, bassist St. Aime Prosper and drummer Serge Marne, Christian leads a two-hour set featuring modern jazz tunes and American classics such as “Tutu,” “Take Five” and “Moonlight in Vermont.”

 The 15th annual Festival Jazz a Saint Germain-Des-Pres is underway in Paris, but tonight some choose to gather at this family-owned, 31-year-old spot in Montmartre, where jazz first came to the city of love.

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