I was visiting the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival regularly starting in the late 80s all through the 90s and the early part of the new century. The people I have met during those years, the interviews, walks, parties, get-togethers at the chalet of founder Claude Nobs watching footage of the festival from the 70s, countless memories and cherished meetings that I will never forget. Crying backstage together with Terry Callier, seeing Patti Austin during soundcheck in a second, having Leon Ware giving me advice and tons of words of wisdom what should have been an interview, spending chilling time with George Benson, Andrae Crouch, Ashford & Simpson at one of those loose barbecues up in the hills (always with an amazingly attractive staff), witnessing Keith Jarrett and his unbelievable solo excursions several times, seeing Miles Davis there shortly before his untimely passing, all those Quincy Jones and George Duke nights, dancing the night away until the early hours while Chaka Khan is letting it loose in one of the hotel bars…Ah the stories are endless. And priceless.
I keep checking all things Montreux and maybe I’ll be back there for a visit again soon. For an appetizer to this year’s festival, the poster for the 54th edition has been revealed. It’s by the French contemporary artist JR, famous for his monumental collages, having covered the Louvre pyramid in Paris last year with an optical illusion installation.
So far, only Lionel Richie and Lenny Kravitz have been confirmed for this year’s run (July 3rd-18th). The full programme will be published on March 26th.