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Montreux Jazz Director on the 'soul' of the festival

Events // June 29, 2016

Montreux Jazz Director on the 'soul' of the festival

Mathieu Jaton, CEO of Montreux Jazz, caught up with WRS to look back over the years he's worked for one of the world's most iconic music festivals, both as CEO and when he first joined the festival as part-time staff, working under Claude Nobbs himself.

At the end of this week, the festival will kick off for its 50th edition and so we glance towards the future and let Mathieu guide us through the programme that spans the next few weeks before he finally gets a holiday (Portugal, since you asked), after these months of intense preparation.

There's some special events this year to also mark some of the phenomenal musicians that have played in Montreux that have sadly passed away in the last year, including Prince an David Bowie. As Mathieu explains to Katt on the Mid Morning Mix, he'll let the artists' work speak for itself.

Finally, he answers everybody's favourite question: "why's it called the Jazz Festival, when it's not just jazz?"

Hear the full interview with Mathieu Jaton on the above podcast.

This year the festival celebrates their Jubilee year and there are some pretty special events on the programme, whilst maintaining the spirit and roots of the festival.

Created in 1967 by Claude Nobs, René Langel, and Géo Voumard, Montreux Jazz Festival has become a landmark event. Not just because it draws more than 250,000 visitors, or because those two weeks in Montreux make up one of the best-known events in Europe and beyond, but also because the Festival has kept its soul intact throughout all this growth and this stays the essence of the festival, as Mathieu explains.

At Montreux, the intimacy that encourages improvisation remains a top priority. Proximity between the biggest artists and their audiences in concert halls of reasonable capacity, comfortable surroundings and a quality listening experience all combine to produce unique concerts and encourage memorable moments.

While jazz and blues are at the roots of this event, other styles of music quickly found their place as well, anchored by artistic encounters between generations of musicians and unique experiments. Montreux has seen historic performances by artists including Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and Stevie Wonder.

The three ticketed venues (Auditorium Stravinski, Montreux Jazz Club, Montreux Jazz Lab) showcase the Festival’s prestigious lineup of artists. However, from the very beginning Festival founder Claude Nobs wanted to offer access to music to everyone, and so a wide variety of free programming energizes the Festival site and provides opportunities for emerging artists to shine.

Artists set to perform this year include Lana Del Rey, Neil Young, Santana and many more!

Stay tuned in to the WRS over the coming weeks for a run-down on both free and ticketed events taking place throughout 1 - 16 July.

Image: © 2015 FFJM – Marc Ducrest

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