Montreux Jazz Festival

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Logo of the Montreux Jazz Festival
Claude Nobs with the Charlie Morris Band at the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival

The Montreux Jazz Festival is a music festival that takes place annually in July in Montreux (on Lake Geneva ) in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland . The festival is one of the most prestigious in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Mathieu Jaton has directed the festival since 2013.


The festival was founded in 1967 by the cultural manager Claude Nobs (1936–2013), the journalist René Langel and the pianist Géo Voumard . Under the direction of Claude Nobs, the then deputy director of the Tourist Association of Montreux, the Montreux Jazz Festival soon developed into a well-known music festival in Europe. Nobs directed the festival until his death in 2013.

Jazz musicians like Les McCann , Ella Fitzgerald , Aretha Franklin , Nina Simone , Count Basie , Charles Lloyd (whose quartet played with Keith Jarrett , Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette at the first festival in 1967), Art Blakey , Dexter Gordon , Oscar Peterson , Monty Alexander , Herbie Hancock , Lionel Hampton , Lester Bowie , Wynton Marsalis , Randy Brecker , Carmen McRae , Pat Metheny , Pasadena Roof Orchestra , Gil Evans (1974), Keith Jarrett and others. a. many summers made the pilgrimage to Montreux for their only European appearances.

Although the name indicates the programmatic focus on jazz , musicians from the rock and pop area also appeared, such as: Albert King , Audioslave , Carlos Santana , Deep Purple , Etta James , Frank Zappa , George Benson , Herbert Grönemeyer , James Brown , Jethro Tull , John Lee Hooker , Johnny Cash , Keziah Jones , Led Zeppelin , Leonard Cohen , Marianne Faithfull , Marvin Gaye , Mike Oldfield , Miss Kittin , Motörhead , Muse , Nina Corti , Ofra Haza , Paolo Conte , Peter Tosh , Phil Collins , Prince , Queens of the Stone Age , Radiohead , Ray Charles , Roberta Flack , Rory Gallagher , Simon & Garfunkel , Simply Red , Sonic Youth , Stevie Ray Vaughan , Talk Talk , The Busters , The Hacker , The Moody Blues , The New Power Generation , Toto and Van Morrison .

Norman Granz continued his earlier successes in the 1970s with the Jazz at the Philharmonic series by organizing Jazz at Montreux jam session- style concerts with Count Basie , Ella Fitzgerald , Oscar Peterson , Milt Jackson , Roy Eldridge , Benny Carter , Mary Lou Williams , Ray Bryant and Ray Brown .

Meanwhile, international jazz, rock and pop greats as well as regional and local musicians come to the official festival program or the extensive off-festival on a total of 17 stages, including the Stravinski Auditorium and the Miles Davis Hall .

The first festival lasted only three days. It grew year after year until it reached its record length of 23 days in 1977. In the meantime, the program, which attracts over 200,000 visitors to Montreux every year, has been established for around 16 days.

In 2006 the painter Burton Morris designed the official festival posters. The opening concert of the jazz festival on June 30, 2006 was held in honor of the Turkish jazz producer Nesuhi Ertegün and his brother, the founder of Atlantic Records , Ahmet Ertegün .

1980 to 1991 there was an exchange with the Detroit International Jazz Festival , then called the Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival.


The charm of the program, which is sometimes referred to as a supermarket by critics , lies in the abundance and parallelism of jazz, pop, rock and world music , especially from Brazil. The greater degrees of freedom in live performances in Montreux compared to conserved music and the festival director Claude Nobs' unifying joy in communicating also tempt stars to cross musical boundaries and cross-style jam sessions . Some are documented on recordings, such as Casino Lights - Live at Montreux ( Warner , 1982), or wrote musical history, such as the song Under Pressure, which Queen and David Bowie wrote together at a jam session .

The appearance of the Azerbaijani oil company SOCAR as one of the main sponsors aroused criticism in 2012 .

Recordings made in Montreux (selection)

All concerts of the Montreux Jazz Festival are recorded in full. This has resulted in a sound and film archive that includes recordings of over 4,000 bands that have performed in Montreux over the past 40 years. This collection of audio and video tapes was included in the World Document Heritage in 2013 . Among the published recordings are:

Web links

Commons : Montreux Jazz Festival  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Mathieu Jaton takes over from Claude Nobs
  2. The world of the festival | Montreux Jazz Festival. Retrieved September 25, 2018 .
  3. 50th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival: Musicians Mekka, Musicians Myth in Neue Zürcher Zeitung from June 28, 2016
  4. Sponsor Socar tarnishes the balance of the Montreux Jazz Festival , daily week of July 13, 2012
  5. ^ Claude Nobs' legacy as a Unesco World Heritage Site , Neue Zürcher Zeitung , June 19, 2013