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Nice Jazz Festival

Nice Jazz Festival poster What better way to celebrate the warm days of summer on the Côte d’Azur than through music. The programme for the upcoming Nice Jazz Festival has now been published and the historic event is inviting some exciting artists from all over the world to play on the Place Masséna stage from 17th to 21st July.

Surprisingly enough, Nice was the first town to introduce a jazz festival in 1948 and, over the years, the city has brought together jazz musicians from all eras and nationalities, such as Louis Armstrong, American jazz trumpeter from New Orleans.

By 1974, La Grande Parade du Jazz (as it was known then) has experienced a sort of renaissance in the gardens of the Arena of Cimiez and, since then, Nice has invited dozens of bands and more than 200 musicians - big names like the recently passed Chuck Berry as well as Miles Davis and Carlos Santana – to its summer shores.

American pianist Herbie Hancock is among the names due to play this summer as well as MIAM, Ibrahim Maalouf, De la Soul, Mary J. Blige, Chinese Man and Deluxe.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Passion and Light’, which echoes the colourful paintings of Matisse who came numerous times in Nice. This desire to combine visual art and music was suggested by Nice counsellor for art in public areas, Robert Roux.

Becca Stevens and the 100 Feminine Project will be opening the festival followed by the fascinating voice of Youn Sun Nah, a Korean singer who performed at Jazz à Juan in 2005.

For younger generations, 18th July will see a combination of French and American hip-pop genre with Jay Z protégé Sir the Baptist as well as Chinese Man, a collective of French hip-hop artists created in 2004. The festival’s closing night, 21st July, will see performances by Kadhja Bonet, M, Fatoumata Diawara, Pierre Marcus Quartet and Kamasi Washington.

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Claire Davis