Since 1948, Nice has offered a stage to some of the world’s greatest jazz acts and musicians. It is almost 70 years since jazz titans such as Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhardt helped launch what has become an institution for the jazz genre, but the mission and message of the festival remains much the same: to celebrate jazz music of ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’, and to instil a love for the art in the heart’s of a new generation.
This year, from 16th to 20th July, Nice’s ethereal open air venues of Théâtre de Verdure and Place Masséna will welcome a medley of jazz stars from across the ages. Haitian-American Leyla McCalla will open the festival who precedes The James Hunter Six and other acts on the Saturday night. Sunday will see exemplary performances by artists such as the emotive London Community Gospel Choir, contemporary Tiggs Da Author and George Clinton - who holds the joint-title with James Brown as being the most sampled vocalist worldwide. The following night will see local Niçois quartet Hyphen Hyphen play to a home crowd as well as saxophonist Géraldine Laurent. Visitors may be surprised to learn that the voice of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, will be performing at this traditionally jazz-themed festival on the Monday night too alongside his blues-gospel-Africans inspired group, the Sensational Space Shifters. Tuesday’s headline acts are the indomitable Massive Attack and the much celebrated Scottish group The Cinematic Orchestra. The festival’s closing night explores all facets of the genre with performances by quirky group Deluxe, chic duo Brigitte, and jazz giant and human rights’ activist Abdullah Ibrahim AKA Dollar Brand.
Tickets are available online.