NICE JAZZ FESTIVAL 2010
Cimiez, mid July - late July
Nearly 50,000 spectators, aficionados and vacationers annually converge on the salubrious neighbourhood of Cimiez in Nice for the 8-day long Nice Jazz Festival. The festival has been running since 1948 and is now regarded amongst some of Europe's major jazz events, such as the Montreux jazz festival and Umbria Jazz festival held in Switzerland and Italy.
Jazz became popular in France in the early 20th century having been brought here originally, in particular to Nice, by United States servicemen following World War I. In February 1948, Nice's Comité established a jazz festival in the city as part of a wider project to help garner some of the limelight that had been shone on neighbouring Cannes for its creation of the Cannes Film Festival a couple of years earlier.
Unfortunately, for the event organisers, the event wasn't much lauded by the French media despite attracting such greats as Louis Armstrong and other famous American jazz musicians. As a result, there was no follow up Nice Jazz Festival the following year and it would take a few years longer to establish this event, as it is now, on the Nice calendar.
Making up part of France's jazz history, jazz legend Miles Davis famously travelled to the country as his career was blossoming in the late 40's and performed to an enthusiastic crowd at the Paris Jazz Festival before returning again in the 50's to compose the score to Ascenseur pour l'Chafaud.
The Nice Jazz Festival has been fortunate enough to play host to many musical legends, of all genres, over the years including, as mentioned previously, Miles Davis, as well as Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Cliff, B.B. King (2001), Peter Gabriel (2004), Eagle-Eye Cherry (2001), Jamiroquai (2003) and Joe Jackson (2003) to name but a few.
Previously held in the theatre de Verdure in Nice, the Nice Jazz Festival has evolved since its inception. Initially a strictly jazz event it has expanded, to its current day format, to include many artistic styles and many artists from the hip hop of Kanye West to the disco beats of Chic. You'll find musical styles from classical to African funk as well as the multitude of aspects of jazz itself.
Given the name of the event, the shift away from jazz in recent years is quite pronounced but many artists performing at the festival tend to incorporate an element of jazz into their style. The resultant mood is one of calm and happiness very much reflecting the picturesque surroundings of the ancient village of Cimiez.
The concerts are billed as "jazz picnics" and the current open air setting at the Gallo-Roman Arenes et Jardins de Cimiez (Arenas and Gardens of Cimiez) certainly enforces this. Les Arenes adjoins magnificent olive gardens and, as well as having a sprinkling of olive trees within the grounds, contains busts of jazz legends from across the eras. Les Arenes in Nice is not the subject of Van Gogh's painting of the same name but the arena in Arles, which is the subject, is similar.
The gardens house three stages and performances generally run from 7 in the evening through to midnight and often beyond. Over this period, as many as ten major artists can be seen in a single day on the various stages, made possible as visitors to the festival are encouraged to roam freely around the setting. In between a wander from stage to stage, festival-goers can avail of traditional local favourites including socca and pissaladiere as well as select international cuisine including authentic creole food, imported beer and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
After hours, you can mingle with the performers and catch some informal jam sessions at the Hotel Beach Regency's "Round Midnight" bar (a tribute to the jazz standard by Thelonious Monk) located at 223, Promenade des Anglais, Nice. The event office is also operated out of this hotel.
Nice Jazz Festival tickets can usually be purchased through Fnac's ticket line and range from €180 for an 8-day adult pass. The 8-day experience may be too long for some visitors to the festival so, thankfully, 1-day and 3-day tickets are also available which is an ideal way to get a lot out of the jazz festival while affording you plenty of time to explore the other attractions of the fabulous setting of Cimiez in Nice.
The 2010 line up for Nice Jazz festival has been announced. This years week long 'jazz picnics' will play host to a variety of international music stars. The complete line up for all dates is as follows.
Saturday 17th July 2010
Diego El Cigala
Ornette Coleman Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Earth Wind & Fire
Tineke Postma Quartet
Sunday 18July 2010
Richard Bona Band
Monday 19th July 2010
Onj around Robert Wyatt with Erik truffaz
Dweezil Zappa plays Zappa
Tuesday 20th July 2010
Wednesday 21st July 2010
Bela Fleck & Edgar Meyer with Zakir Hussain
Bojan Z Tetraband
The Stanley Clarke Band with Hiromi
Eric Legnini Trio
Thursday 22nd July 2010
Tigran Hamasyan - Aratta Rebirth Quintet Red Hail
The Freedom Band
Friday 23rd July 2010
Asaf Avidan & the Mojo's
Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Chris Potter Underground
Saturday 24th July 2010
Andre Ceccarelli- Le Coq et la Pendule
Maurane Chante Nougaro
Pat Metheny Group - The Songbook Tour
Jean Marc JafetAgora Quintet
To book accommodation suitable for the Nice Jazz Festival please look through our holiday rentals in Nice or call our local representative who will help you find the right accommodation for you.
Recommended Holiday RentalsFor the Nice Jazz Festival
A modern, luxury, garden-level apartment in Mont Boron, bordering the city of Nice. This quirky, offbeat apartment, with its mix of contemporary and vintage styles is exciting, warm and in a spectacular location in the hills overlooking the bay of Nice.
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