MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – “We all came out to Montreux…” but this celebration was of a different kind, in homage to “Funky” Claude Nobs, the man who made the name Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) synonymous with musical innovation, new talent, and unhinged jam sessions.
This was the man Stephan Eicher and fellow artists took a bow to last night at Stravinsky Hall, as he sang “Je n’ai pas d’ami comme toi” – I have no friend like you – and finishing with a nod to “Smoke on the Water,” and the image of Nobs on the big screen.
The sheer range of acts on display last night itself was a testament to Nob’s gift for recognizing and promoting diverse talent spanning genre and age; Bastian Baker, in his teens when he first met Nobs in 2006, played alongside Swiss musical icons Pascal Auberson, Francois Lindeman, Dieter Meir and Eicher, all more than twice his age. Auberson shared an intimate dream sequence ending with “Thank you Claude,” while Lindeman’s bereaved piano playing was a sombre note to the evening.
Meier and his perfectly named band, Out of Chaos, made me think, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away…”
Other stand outs for me included Barbara Hendrick’s rendition of “Strange Fruit,” (with Ulf England’s haunting slide guitar), Andreas Vollenweider’s enchanting harp ensemble, and Paolo Nutini’s rhythm and growling alternately reminiscent of Al Green and James Brown.
The show will go on and the 47th MJF poster, by Oscar Oiwa was unveiled as the tribute to Nobs came to an end. But the absence of “Funky” Claude’s voice and persona was palpable last night in Stravinsky Hall; I think we all paused for an awkward moment as acts were introduced, fully expecting his funkiness to stroll out on stage.
Read more on the new MJF poster and the artist who created it on GenevaLunch.
MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – Boogy music producer Nile Rodgers “Freaked Out” the Montreux Jazz Festival last night, 13 July, with an evening of disco and dance music talent at Stravinsky Hall.
Last night’s call to booty was met by a fired up Montreux audience ready to shake it.
The closing night party line-up included performances by dance and techno hit makers Tavares (“Heaven Must be Missing an Angel”), Martha Wash (“It’s Rainin’ Men”), Taylor Dayne (“Tell it to My Heart”), Alison Moyet (Yazoo, ALF), and Grace Jones, in addition to Rodgers’ band Chic.
Regardless of what you may think of disco, it is the great dance equalizer, and for that I love it – I saw men, (straight, white men) in golf cardigans doing the Bow-Wow on their knees last night in Stravinsky Hall.
And Alison Moyet, what to say.
MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – Remember “It’s Rainin’ Men” and “Everybody Dance”? Well, Martha Wash got Stravinsky Hall going tonight, 13 July with her unforgettable dance standards, forever imprinted on our cerebral cortex.
Disco Daddy, Marc Cerrone and friends followed close behind, putting the hall into a tail – as in booty – spin.
It’s getting hot in Stravinsky Hall, and about to get hotter with Taylor Dayne, La Roux and more in the wings.
More coming …
See other MJF reviews on GenevaLunch.
MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – If you were lucky enough to catch the Rufus Wainwright show last night, 5 July at the Montreux Jazz Festival, you could have doubled your luck by catching the Pedrito Martinez Group performing shortly afterwards in the lounge at Miles Davis Hall.
The quartet with members from Cuba, Venezuela and Peru – they are based in New York – was the perfect nightcap to a stellar evening, with their conga driven Afro-Cuban rhythms.
My only regret is missing their four other shows at the festival. If you are reading this now (5:52 pm Friday) you have exactly 1 hour eight minutes to catch them at Parc Vernex in Montreux…for free.
Otherwise you’ll have to follow them to the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, or one of the other 20 venues they are playing in Europe.
See other MJF reviews on GenevaLunch.
MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – Novices and loyal subjects alike were treated on 5 July at the Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) to an audience with the king of ersatz funk, Rufus Wainwright.
I have been an armchair admirer of Wainwright’s genre and gender bending musical genius since I first heard “My Phone’s on Vibrate for You.”
Wainwright’s gift is his uncanny, or inherited ability – he is the son of Kate McGarrigle and Louden Wainwright III – to transform the mundane into soulful, sometimes sad, silly and occasionally sappy stories that resonate deep in your bones. Think Elton John meets Leonard Cohen (also the grandfather of Wainwright’s baby daughter).
Under Wainwright’s charismatic charm, I found myself singing along with the rest of Miles Davis Hall to such quirky choruses as “The church has run out of candles.”
MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – Gorgeous weather and fresh sounds made for a crowded scene on day two of the Montreux Jazz Festival.
MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – Scorching temperatures set the scene yesterday for the opening salvoes of the 46th Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF).
As with all great musical gatherings, it seems the festival has gotten a bit cushier, flashier – including Claude Nob’s newly inaugurated deck lounge – and maybe necessarily, more focused on crowd control, since I began going four short years ago.
That aside, the new and well seasoned talent on hand last night delivered the goods, with a few gems deserving special mention.
For me, the MJF opener was all about the Taj Mahal Trio show in Miles Davis Hall.
I grew up with the breezy blues of Mahal’s Giant Step playing on the turntable and still think summer, front porch and being exactly where I want to be, when I hear his smooth voice and playful guitar/banjo picking.
But he is every bit a “raw” bluesman as well with his baritone growl and stripped down imagery -”I’m makin’ tapioca for ya and I know yer all alone…” Read more…
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Three days and no rain for fête de la musique! – definitive proof of climate change.
The two groups worked the crowd at Reformateur Stage into a religious fervor worthy of Calvin himself with their harmonica infused blues and accordion laced cajun sounds.
Today at l’Observatoire stage, the Hudaki Village Band brought their brand of Ukrainian folk music to an enthralled festival audience.
Too bad for you if you missed this soulful performance – it’s 1,500 km to their hometown – though I did hear several spectators say this band would be worth the trip.
NYON, SWITZERLAND – Six days, 195 shows, record rainfall, and the death of a scheduled performer marked the 2011 Paleo festival which closed 24 July.
Concert goers enjoyed one of the few dry evenings of the festival Sunday night, all the better to soak up the classic Dominican Bachata sounds of Joaquin Diaz and his band.
Joaquin Diaz, Rey de la Bachata
NYON, SWITZERLAND – Who were those masked men performing last night at 20:45 on Paleo’s Grand Scene? Never mind, in a world of throw away covers, the acapello rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer,” was spot on and well received by the crowd enjoying one of the sunnier moments at this year’s festival.
It was with some trepidation that I made my way through the fields to the music venue yesterday evening, having had to wade through mud pools on Wednesday night.
Kudos to the Paleo staff are in order; the grounds on Friday night were heavily padded with straw making the going much kinder on the body (and the camera).