Famous jazzmen and the French Riviera – A host of great names have helped jazz up the history of the French Riviera.
The French Riviera’s love affair with jazz has lasted for 70 years already… the tradition goes back to the end of the Second World War. When great names such as Duke Ellington, Sidney Bechet and Ray Charles played at Juan-les-Pins for the first time, a true passion was born. Jazz is in the air when you come to the French Riviera…
As you may know, jazz festivals were invented by the French Riviera. It’s sometimes said that the festivals around here are to jazz what the festival at Avignon is to the theatre. The world’s first jazz festival took place in Nice in 1948. But the story started in the early 1950s when Duke Ellington and Sidney Bechet came to play at the Vieux-Colombier in Paris and also in Juan-les-Pins. Sidney Bechet fell in love with Antibes… it’s not hard to understand why! He was the man who introduced Antibes to jazz. The Juan-les-Pins Festival, established in 1960, gradually began to host prestigious headline acts… Ray Charles in particular was one of the golden boys of La Pinède. Since then, all the jazz greats have played at the French Riviera, during the summer season.
Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Count Basie, they all came to the French Riviera to make their sweetest music. From that time on the various jazz festivals held each year have become a source of great pride for region. Summers here are filled with sunshine and music!
The Jazz at Juan festival is undoubtedly the most famous. From July 14 to 23, the town will be in party mode with the 57th Jazz Festival, providing superb entertainment for residents and visitors alike. The anticipated line-up includes Buddy Guy, Luke Elliot, Macy Gray, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Archie Sheep, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Sting and even the legendary Tom Jones.
A few kilometres away, the Nice Jazz Festival, held from July 17 to 23, features Herbie Hancock, Ibrahim Maalouf, De La Soul, Mary J. Blige and local band IAM from neighbouring Marseilles. Then from August 3 to 6, the Jazz at Domergue festival comes to Cannes. In the wonderful setting of the gardens of Villa Domergue, this event is your opportunity to discover Malia 4Tet, the Dmitry Baevsky Trio and the Eric Seva Quartet…
From music legends to young talents, a French Riviera summer is a jazz summer!
For the Jazz at Juan festival we suggest you stay at the Astoria hotel, ideally located in Juan-les-Pins