The English abroad- Picking a European Jazz Festival

In the past few days there have been a couple of stories in the UK press about jazz festivals in Europe.

-The Guardian covered a range of FRENCH jazz festivals

-Jazzwise Magazine’s website gave an excelent preview of the North Sea Jazz Festival , pointing out the British names.

I took further soundings from a couple of old European festival hands.

One tells me he’s been to two:
Montreux (July 3-18) , where he tells me to watch out that very basic food costs a lot.

Marciac,where he tells me there’s plenty of good, free music at lunchtime while you sip the local wine in the town square. There’s even a jazz museum and a bronze statue of Wynton Marsalis. But also tells me that the entire crowd feels often impelled to clap on the beat…

My second source mentioned:

North Sea Festival (July 11-13) because it’s absolutely vast…. and

Umbria because of the setting. But he soon started to get more animated as he talked about a couple more…First, a festival which has the loot to hire anyone in the world, in Norway: it’s the VERY impressive

Molde(July 13-18)

His out-of the way tip was

Clusone, north of Bergamo in Italy (19th June – 2nd August/ main weekend 25th-26th July). Check out these pictures of a very sleepy town being kicked into life.

But I’m getting sorely tempted by the programme to try to check out…the NDR Big Band, Maria Schneider, Joe Lovano…. in Krakow (July 16th-19th)….

Any more thoughts or recommendations????

Categories: miscellaneous

4 replies »

  1. Last year, I saw an amazing concert by the Brad Mehldau Trio in Sète, which has a small festival at the beginning of July, held in an amphitheatre at the top of a tower, overlooking the Mediterranean. This year, there's nothing quite so appealing as the Brad Mehldau Trio (a double bill with Baptiste Trotignon and Eric Legnini, anyone?).

    Two years ago, I saw the last concert I'll ever see by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio as part of Jazz à Juan in Antibes. Another amazing venue, with a spectacular view of the Med. K. Jarrett, G. Peacock and J. DeJohnette have been a regular fixture there for about a decade; this year, unfortunately, they're the only act that I'd be interested in seeing.

    This year, I was tempted by the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, where the John Taylor Trio (with Palle Danielsson and Martin France) are playing; instead, I opted to go to Umbria that weekend to see Chick Corea and Stefano Bollani play in a duo, as well as the Enrico Pieranunzi Quintet and Joe Locke playing with Dado Moroni and Rosario Giulani. I must check out Clusone.

    I've missed Marciac in previous years and thought I might go this year but there isn't anybody playing that I particularly want to see. My advice would be not necessarily to go back to somewhere where you previously had an enjoyable time, but to find out where the acts that you really want to see are playing, and go there. (I hate the fact that I'm going to be missing the John Taylor Trio in Rotterdam!)

  2. WOW – if I wasn't busy the weekend of 16th and 18th July – I think the jazz festival in Krakow sounds fabulous…… look forward to hearing all about it….

  3. Oliver Weindling has added a few more festivals:

    Try looking at some of the festivals on europejazz.net
    such as Tampere in Finland
    Also: zjft.nl (Bicycle festival in Groningen)
    Moers in Germany
    Gaume Jazz in Belgium
    Muenster (every 2 years)

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