France only became truly appealing to international Jazz artists during World War II. At that time musicians ventured down south to escape the occupied northern regions of France, and soon discovered the French Riviera’s potential as an ideal place to perform and celebrate their music. In 1948, the Country’s first major jazz event took place in Nice and has been occurring annually ever since. In the industry, this festival is referred to as the most prestigious jazz festival in Europe. The Nice Jazz Festival has undergone a few changes over the years, with world music and pop being introduced in 1994, but the focus still remains firmly on Jazz.
The Riviera Jazz fever continued and in the late 60’s another world famous Jazz a Juan Festival in Juan les Pins (Antibes) began, and the host city was declared the International Sister City to New Orleans (USA).
Both festivals have drawn famous performers throughout the years including Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, B B King, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Sidney Bechet, Sarah Vaughan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diana Krall, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock , the Avishai Cohen Quartet, Wayne Shorter, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Branford Marsalis, Norah Jones and many more.
Here are a few 2014 Jazz dates to put in your diary…
Nice Jazz Festival (from July 08, 2014 to July 12, 2014)
For a few days in July over 75 concerts with international musicians will fill the city of Nice with music.
Jazz à Juan Festival (from July 11 to July 20, 2014)
Three separate stages which overlook the Mediterranean Sea.
Line-up includes: George Benson, Gregory Porter, Stacey Kent, Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack Dejohnette, Sting, Diana Krall.
The Riviera’s permanent subtle Jazz scene can be experienced at the following addresses: