It’s been a while since my last visit to beautiful Montreux in Switzerland. For about 15 years, this prestigious festival had been on my calendar. I have met so many artists over there and saw outstanding and unique concerts, not to forget the numerous get-togethers at the chalet of founder and director Claude Nobs r.i.p.
This year, Montreux Jazz celebrates its 50th anniversary and for the first time in many years, I’m seriously thinking about visiting again. The festival will run from July 1st to the 16th with an opening night on June 30th which features Charles Lloyd with his New Quartet and Monty Alexander with a programme called Montreux Alexander, celebrating his 40-year long collaboration with the festival. Wayne Escoffery will be a special guest on this one.
I can’t name all of the artists here so please visit the website (see link below), but certainly worth a mention are the following shows: the Steps Ahead World Reunion Tour with the original members, new UK sensation GoGo Penguin (July 1st), Randy Weston African Rhythms Quintet feat. Billy Harper (July 2nd), Scofield Mehldau Guiliana, Al Jarreau Duo (July 3rd), French Quarter feat. Vincent Peirani, Hugh Coltman, Émile Parisien, and more (July 6th), Lisa Simone, Jamie Cullum, Grégoire Maret & the Inner Voice Ensemble, Chico Freeman Quintet (July 9th), Brazilian Dream feat. Ivan Lins, Joao Bosco, Maria Rita, Elba Ramalho, and more, Manu Katché (July 10th), Christian Scott (July 11th), Kenny Barron & Dave Holland, Iiro Rantala & Ulf Wakenius (July 12th), Marcus Miller, Curtis Stigers, Cécile McLorin Salvant (July 14th).
Quincy Jones is still associated with the festival and presents two nights: young sensation Jacob Collier (I saw him earlier this year in a brilliant showcase in New York), Alfredo Rodriguez, and Richard Bona (July 7th) and a 50th anniversary celebration with the Pepe Lienhard Big Band and friends (July 8th).
Make sure to check out the Montreux Jazz Lab as well with up and coming artists, the Montreux Jazz Train and Boats. All info can be found right here: www.montreuxjazzfestival.com