• Switzerland's news in English
Jazz icons kick off Montreux's 50th birthday
The Stravinski auditorium. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Jazz icons kick off Montreux's 50th birthday

AFP · 1 Jul 2016, 08:06

Published: 01 Jul 2016 08:06 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Legendary American jazz musician Charles Lloyd, who headlined the first festival in the Swiss town of Montreux in 1967, kicked off the two-week celebration of music alongside fabled jazz pianist Monty Alexander, who first played Montreux in 1976.
"It's very emotional, because those two guys are part of the history of the music and to have those two guys loving Montreux, helping us celebrating the 50th, it is certainly one of the most beautiful gifts that I could expect," festival chief Mathieu Jaton told AFP ahead of the concerts, as all around him staff rushed to make the final preparations for the annual influx of music lovers.
Earlier on Thursday, with the sun glimmering on nearby Lake Geneva, Alexander and his band gathered for a sound check in the dark interior of Montreux's old Casino, the festival's original home and around a kilometre from the current main concert venues.
With a broad smile, the Jamaican-born musician sat down at his grand piano and let his fingers fly.
"I will be bringing it. Not just the straight ahead so-called classic version, but I'm going to bring in some, as we say in Jamaica, yard roots rhythm and get people to groove too," the 72-year-old told AFP.
Lloyd, 78, who primarily plays tenor saxophone and flute, also said he was looking forward to Thursday's concert.
"I'm doing this because I love it, and it gives me something, and it is about inspiration and consolation, and the world we live in I feel could use that, so I want to share that with others," he told AFP.

 A-list line-up

While the opening night was all about jazz, the Montreux festival long ago drastically expanded it repertoire, becoming a magnet for prominent names and rising stars across music genres.
This year's main attraction is perhaps folk rock icon Neil Young. The Canadian singer-songwriter will hit the main stage on July 12th, 15 years after his only previous appearance at the festival.
He will be joined by a seemingly endless list of stars, including British experimental rocker PJ Harvey and US punk legend Patti Smith.
The 2016 edition will also feature US rock band ZZ Top, with their recognisable long beards, and Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, US singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey and archetypal guitar hero Carlos Santana.
Also included in the line-up is legendary American producer and composer Quincy Jones, considered one of the greatest supporters of the festival, as well as British soul and pop band Simply Red.
British rock band Muse will be there too, playing "in a little hall of 4,000 capacity, which is just amazing," Jaton said.
Also on the ticket is influential English hard rock band Deep Purple, who have a deep connection with Montreux.
The band's iconic "Smoke on the Water" tells the story of a fire that took place during a Frank Zappa concert here in 1971.
Festival founder Claude Nobs, who died in 2013, rescued a number of people from the flames and was immortalised in the song as "Funky Claude".

"Every night is a headline," Jaton insisted. "I could name all of them because to me all of them are stars."
Jaton, who worked closely with Nobs for two decades, hailed his "crazy idea" that half a century on has morphed into "a brand travelling all over the world."
"I'm so proud to be part of it, so honoured and so happy every day to wake up and say: I'm running one of the most amazing events in the world."

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Report: Swiss progress slows on gender equality
File photo: David Soulivet

Globally, it will take 170 years to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available