Jazz fest: Dessy Di Lauro and Ric’key Pageot's Harlem Renaissance

When Dessy Di Lauro and Ric’key Pageot headlined at Montreal’s Diese Onze in February, they packed the intimate jazz club for their first homecoming show in four years.

The musical Pageot family was out in full force, sharing the stage with Dessy and Ric’key — renowned Montreal drummer Anthony, flutist Steve and their father, Fritz, on bass. “Before that night, I had played music with all of my brothers, but Diese Onze was the first time we played together in public,” Ric’key Pageot said.

At Diese Onze, the audience knew they were witnessing something special, including Montreal International Jazz Festival programming VP Laurent Saulnier, who was in attendance. The jazz fest later booked Di Lauro and Pageot’s band, Parlor Social, to headline L’Astral on July 8.

”That was my purpose in booking that Diese Onze show,” Pageot said. “We invited Laurent Saulnier and he was like, ‘Cool, I’ll be there.'”

“I was kind of sore the jazz festival hadn’t invited us the past couple of years,” Di Lauro admitted. “I kind of felt like the Montreal scene had forgotten about us. So I am really happy we’re playing indoors and headlining.”

“That means the festival is confident we can sell tickets,” Pageot added.

A gifted piano and accordion player, Pageot is a true behind-the-scenes leader. At 28, the Vanier College and McGill University music grad (who majored in jazz performance) became the youngest musical director ever hired by the Cirque du Soleil, for their touring arena show, Delirium. Pageot’s band featured 11 musicians and six lead singers, including Di Lauro. “Cirque gave our careers a big boost,” Di Lauro said.

In December 2007, after two years with Delirium, the couple (who married in 2006) left the show. They moved to Los Angeles where Di Lauro — a veteran session singer who grew up singing in gospel choirs before singing backing vocals on Dubmatique’s landmark 1997 album, La force de comprendre — recorded backing vocals in L.A. studios for star performers such as Rocky Dawuni and Social Distortion.

Pageot, meanwhile, was hired by Madonna to be her keyboard player on three world tours — Sticky & Sweet, MDNA and Rebel Heart. “What I learned from Madonna was her attention to detail and showmanship,” Pageot said. “She is always looking at the big picture, has a strong work ethic, and I apply that day in, day out to what Dessy and I do.”

Parlor Social’s upcoming debut album is musically similar to Di Lauro’s 2013 solo album, which fused urban and hip-hop beats with a Harlem renaissance aesthetic to create a unique sound the couple calls “speakeasy-soul.”  Marisa Parisella

In between Madonna tours and Di Lauro’s session gigs, the couple released Di Lauro’s 2013 solo album, This Is Neo-Ragtime, which fused urban and hip-hop beats with a Harlem Renaissance aesthetic to create a unique sound the couple calls “speakeasy-soul.” 

Parlor Social’s upcoming debut album is musically similar and features such musical luminaries as Teddy Riley, the legendary architect of New Jack Swing. “We are getting very good interest from booking agencies and distributors,” Pageot said.

“No guts, no glory,” Di Lauro said about the duo pursuing their musical dreams. “We hustle, we work very hard.”

“We’ve thought about quitting Parlor Social many times,” Pageot added. “You look at your bank account and go, ‘I have to pay the rent, I have to pay the bills.’”

“But we love what we do,” Di Lauro chimed in.

“So we’re excited to be back at the jazz festival playing the new music we’ve been developing in L.A.,” Pageot said. “It’s always a huge treat for us to play for family and friends and our fans in Montreal because they have been rooting for us from the very beginning.”


Parlor Social performs Saturday, July 8 at 6 p.m. at L’Astral, 305 Ste-Catherine St. W., as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Tickets cost $33 to $36 and can be purchased at montrealjazzfest.com. To win a pair of tickets to the concert, visit parlorsocial.com. The draw will be held Friday, July 7 at 5 p.m.