Jazz à Juan, from the 12th to 22nd of July 2012
The pianist Chucho Valdes during the Jazz à Juan festival © Y Seuret
The "Jazz à Juan" festival was created in 1960 at a mythical site, under the century old pine trees of the Gould pine forest, facing the Mediterranean, in homage to the famous jazzman Sidney Bechet, an adopted son of Antibes. It not only embodies the memory of European jazz, but also helps to build its future and retains the pulling power of authentic jazz so that everyone can see that jazz is still alive and well.
A revolutionary idea
The first "Jazz à Juan", created on the 7th of July by Jacques Souplet, was the idea at the origin of many festivals that followed in its wake. "If I had never been to Antibes, Montreux would not exist", acknowledged Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival. For the first time in Europe, the greatest artists in the adventure of jazz came to meet the public between the beach and the stars, and the gamble paid off handsomely.
A legendary place
In 1960, the public attended a concert by Charles Mingus, followed, in the succeeding years, by the "genius", Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald who improvised a memorable duet with a cricket (Cricket song)… After the shock of Coltrane, it was the period of Free Jazz, before the peaking of Jazz-Rock and fusion in 1976… The pianists Petrucciani, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett in 1981… Then it was, amongst others, the revelation of Al Jarreau, the duet between Sarah Vaughan and Michel Legrand, the music of Carlos Santana, Jessie Norman… The concert of the "saxophone colossus" Sonny Rollins in 1995…
A real jazz laboratory
With its mix of genres and varied programming, Jazz à Juan has remained a real jazz laboratory, with the "Off" free concerts, Brass Bands in the streets, a continuous flow of happenings that feature New Orleans, Gospel, Blues, Swing, Be-bop, Latin Jazz, Cool Jazz, Hard-Bop, Free Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Modern Jazz and Electro-Jazz, but also the recent appearances by de Roy Hargrove, Richard Bona, Thomas Dutronc, Norah Jones and Jamie Cullum…