Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival was in town tonight. He officially opened the first “Montreux Jazz Cafe and boutique” on the third floor of Harrods. Harrods, it turns out, is packed with restaurants… Nobs also played a blues chorus on harmonica with teenage guitar sensation Andreas Varady and his dad Bandy Varady, who then played on. In the audience, Boris Becker….
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The Swedish cafe manager told me that the plan is to have a couple of musical events in the cafe each month. Claude Nobs also announced a joint project with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, three concerts scheduled for July 2013.
It’s all part of a plan to make the Montreux Jazz Festival more visible. It has cafes at the airports in Geneva and Zurich (one in Sydney was tried but closed) and the next project will be a gourmet restaurant in the Gare de Lyon in Paris, opening next year. Montreux is also in the process of digitizing its extensive video archive, in collaboration with the EFPL University in Lausanne (MORE ON THIS PROJECT HERE).
There is also a Montreux Jazz Festival Japan, in Kawasaki, with the second edition due next month. There are also luxury brand tie-ups, with Chateau Haut-Brion and artisan luxury watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier from canton Neuchâtel both represented – “not that we’re trying to sell you anything”, said Claude Nobs….with his characteristic, broad smile.
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This is great news. Exactly what jazz needs! Can we officially say that jazz is now out of the ghetto! No more the image of (smoky) sleezy hard to find dives in challenging neighbourhoods! At least this will help the image of jazz as many people see it. It may even encourage commercial sponsorship!
From the Ghetto to the gâteau……..
I stick with the Cully Jazz Festival, since many many years. Best little jazz fest on Lake Geneva. http://www.cullyjazz.ch/en/2012/