This collection of “live” music recordings, ranging from 1967-2012, with universal significance and intercultural dimensions has no direct equal in the world. It reflects the impact of key musicians in the evolution of jazz, blues and rock and represents particular intellectual development in global music. This musical library traces a timeline of stylistic influences from the early styles of jazz to the present day.
5,000 groups and artists, 20,000 musicians, both established ones or newcomers, playing the same stage have created a page in the international heritage of music.
The ultimate value of the Montreux Jazz Festival archive is not to rate the performances of certain musicians, or judge their quality, but to document an event that is representative of specific eras and to provide a picture of the music and its development spanning 45 years thanks to the high quality and up-to-date recordings that make up the archive. At the time of the capture, nobody could have envisioned the future success of the performers and thus able to make accurate decisions on whether or not to record a concert. This collection is therefore unique precisely because it is not composed of a pre-defined set of recordings.
The Montreux Jazz Festival is a unique amalgamation of musical performances covering a 45 year time-frame by artists from all over the world, each bringing their own cultural and aesthetic influences to create a highly influential annual music event. The collection includes both well established artists and artists whose impact is as yet unknown, but whose participation to the event will greatly enhance their opportunity to make a significant contribution to world heritage. The synergy of this mixture makes it very difficult to cut out a sub-set of performers for UNESCO. Furthermore, decomposing the collection would be against the rules of what an archive stands for.
In the late 80’s, the 100th United States Congress designated jazz as “a rare and valuable national American treasure”, but today it belongs to the world. Later, in 2011, the designation by UNESCO of 30 April each year as the “International Jazz Day” would unite communities, schools and other groups all over the world to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz and how it has become part of their culture.
The Festivals in Montreux and some other European cities operated as an economic lifeline for musicians when other genres displaced jazz as the preeminent popular music in the United States. “Small as it is, the European jazz public has long played a significant role in jazz since it formed a much more stable body of support than the very volatile American public,” historian Eric Hobsbawm wrote in a 1994 essay. “This was to be important in the 1960s and 1970s, when the wave of rock swept jazz almost from sight in the USA, and American musicians, often actually based in Europe, came to rely largely on the European concert and festival circuit, as indeed many of them still do.”
Jazz receded further from the mainstream in later decades, and made those European jobs even more crucial for jazz musicians’ livelihoods. Festivals contributed mightily to the music’s history and have often been name-makers that later look like hinge events in artists’ lives.
This unique combination of jazz music, American artists, and Swiss sensibility has created the magic in Montreux since the beginning. Every year in July, Montreux transforms itself once again into the mecca of music.
In the meantime, the name of Montreux was attached to different cities over the world. The Festival shared its experience since 1980’s creating the Montreux Newport Jazz Festival, Montreux Atlanta, Montreux Tokyo, Montreux Singapore, Montreux Kawasaki festivals.
“Noting that jazz represents a very unique form of music which can be a unifying force for positive engagement among diverse groups worldwide.”
After apprenticing as a cook a the International Hotel School in Lausanne, Nobs worked at the UBS bank then the Tourism Office of Montreux. Starting in 1961, he promoted small blues concerts including John Lee Hooker.
Nobs was also responsible to organize live performances during the Montreux Golden Rose Television Festival and brought in 1964 for the first time on the continent the Rolling Stones then Errol Garner in 1966. He later went to New York, where he met Nesuhi Ertegün, the president of Atlantic Records. There he met Roberta Flack and invited her to the Montreux Golden Rose. Later, Aretha Franklin made her first visit to Europe thanks to him.
At the age of 31, while he was director of the Tourism Office of Montreux, he organized the first European jazz competition within a jazz festival featuring artists such as Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett, Ron McLure and Jack DeJohnette. This new festival was an immediate success, and gained a reputation far beyond Switzerland. Nobs quickly transformed his festival into an international gathering place for lovers of jazz.
In 1971, Deep Purple decided to produce and record their album Machine Head in Montreux. The group was also scheduled to record at the Montreux Casino, shortly after Frank Zappa performed. During Zappa's concert, the venue caught fire and reduced the Casino to ashes. Nobs saved several young people who had hidden in the casino, thinking they would be sheltered from the flames. This act earned him a mention (as Funky Claude in the line “Funky Claude was running in and out pulling kids out the ground”) in the song "Smoke on the Water," which is about the incident.
During his career, Claude Nobs has received countless awards and honors, including the “International Honorary Citizenship” from the New Orleans City, the "European Hero" in Time Magazine, the “Prix du Rayonnement” by the County of Vaud in 2004, the academic title of Doctor Honoris Causa Award from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, the French cultural award 'Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres', the Honorary Citizenship of Atlanta in 2006 . Then in 2007, Nobs was elected “Man of the Year” at the Midem (Global Market for Music), “Patron for Music” for the UNESCO Benefit-Gala, “Bourgeois d’Honneur” from the City of Montreux and was also the first European to get the "Downbeat Lifetime Award" for his contribution to the development and recognition of Jazz. Lately in 2009, Nobs received the « Humanity in the Arts Peace » Award from Carlos Santana.
They played Montreux (to name a few):
Adele, Count Basie, Tony Bennet, George Benson, Chuck Berry, Black Eyed Peas, Art Blakey, James Blunt, David Bowie, James Brown, Dave Brubeck, Cab Calloway, Betty Carter, Johnny Cash, Tracy Chapman, Ray Charles, Chemical Brothers, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Cliff, George Clinton, Joe Cocker, Leonard Cohen, Phil Collins, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Deep Purple, Fats Domino, Don Ellis, Bob Dylan, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Bill Frisell, Errol Garner, Marvin Gaye, Stan Getz, Gilberto Gil, João Gilberto, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Stéphane Grappelli, Guru’s Jazzmattazz, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, Earl Hines, Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett, Antônio Carlos Jobim, J.J. Johnson, Norah Jones, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, B.B. King, Diana Krall, Lenny Kravitz, Miriam Makeba, Brandford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Massive Attack, Les McCann, Charles Mingus, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Gary Moore, Van Morrison, Muse, Youssou N’Dour, Oscar Peterson, Astor Piazzolla, The Pretenders, Prince, Radiohead, Lou Reed, Elis Regina, R.E.M., Lionel Richie, Nile Rodgers, Carlos Santana, David Sanborn, Seal, Paul Simon, Nina Simone, Ringo Starr, Sting, James Taylor, Sarah Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Caetano Veloso, Muddy Waters, Weather Report, Tony Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Yes, Neil Young, ZZ Top…
Form and style
This collection of “live” music recordings, ranging from 1967-2012” reflects the impact of key musicians in the evolution of jazz, blues and rock and traces a timeline of stylistic influences from the early styles of jazz to the present days (underlined artists played at the Festival) :
New Orleans, Dixieland:
Musical styles with important influence from Dixieland or Traditional Jazz include Swing music, some Rhythm & Blues and early Rock & Roll also show significant trad jazz influence, Fats Domino being an example. The contemporary New Orleans Brass Band styles, such as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band have combined traditional New Orleans brass band jazz with such influences as contemporary jazz, funk, hip hop, and rap.
Blues musical styles and melodies have influenced many other genres of music, such as rock and roll, jazz, and popular music. Prominent jazz, folk or rock performers, such as John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis, and Bob Dylan have performed significant blues recordings. Even in orchestral works such as George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Concerto in F". Gershwin's second "Prelude" for solo piano is an interesting example of a classical blues, maintaining the form with academic strictness. The blues scale is ubiquitous in modern popular rock music. Blues forms are used in the theme to country music (Jimmie Rodgers music, and guitarist/vocalist Tracy Chapman).
Also known as swing jazz or simply swing, is a form of jazz music that developed in the early 1930s and became a distinctive style by 1935 in the United States. Swing uses a strong rhythm section of double bass and drums as the anchor for a lead section of brass instruments such as trumpets and trombones, woodwinds including saxophones and clarinets, and sometimes stringed instruments such as violin and guitar, medium to fast tempos, and a "lilting" swing time rhythm. Swing bands usually featured soloists who would improvise on the melody over the arrangement. The danceable swing style of bandleaders such as Count Basie was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1945.
Big Bands :
As jazz evolved and expanded in new directions, major band performances of note did occur from the 1950s to the 1970s. Noteworthy performers included: Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Gil Evans, Sun Ra, Charles Mingus, Oliver Nelson, Carla Bley, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band, Sam Rivers, Don Ellis, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Anthony Braxton. Later bandleaders pioneered the performance of various Brazilian and Afro-Cuban styles with the traditional big band instrumentation, and big bands led by arranger Gil Evans, saxophonist John Coltrane and electric bassist Jaco Pastorius introduced cool jazz, free jazz and jazz fusion, respectively, to the big band domain. Modern big bands can be found playing all styles of jazz music. Some large contemporary European jazz ensembles play mostly avant-garde jazz using the instrumentation of the big bands. Examples include the Vienna Art Orchestra, founded in 1977, active in the 1990s. In the late 1990s, swing made a comeback in the US. The Lindy Hop has taken hold on both coasts, and many younger people took an interest in big band styles again. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is the resident orchestra of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC). The JALC Orchestra currently tours internationally, promoting the big band sound.
This rhythms from African and Latin American countries, often played on instruments such as conga, timbales, güiro, and claves, with jazz and classical harmonies played on typical jazz instruments (piano, double bass, etc.). There are two main varieties: Afro-Cuban jazz was played in the US right after the bebop period, while became more popular in the 1960s. Afro-Cuban jazz began as a movement in the mid-1950s as bebop musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie started Afro-Cuban bands influenced by such Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians as Tito Puente and Arturo Sandoval. Brazilian jazz such as bossa nova is derived from samba, with influences from jazz and other 20th century classical and popular music styles. Bossa is generally moderately paced, with melodies sung in Portuguese or English. The style was pioneered by Brazilians João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim. The related term jazz-samba describes an adaptation of bossa nova compositions to the jazz idiom by American performers such as Stan Getz.
Post-bop jazz is a form of small-combo jazz derived from earlier bop styles. The genre's origins lie in seminal work by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock. Generally, the term post-bop is taken to mean jazz from the mid-sixties onward that assimilates influence from hard bop, modal jazz, the avant-garde, and free jazz, without necessarily being immediately identifiable as any of the above. Most post-bop artists worked in other genres as well, with a particularly strong overlap with later hard bop.
Soul jazz :
Soul jazz was a development of hard bop which incorporated strong influences from blues, gospel and rhythm and blues in music for small groups, often the organ trio, which partnered a Hammond organ player with a drummer and a tenor saxophonist. Unlike hard bop, soul jazz generally emphasized repetitive grooves and melodic hooks, and improvisations were often less complex than in other jazz styles. Horace Silver had a large influence on the soul jazz style, with songs that used funky and often gospel-based piano vamps. It often had a steadier "funk" style groove, different from the swing rhythms typical of much hard bop. Important soul jazz organists included Jimmy McGriff and Jimmy Smith and Johnny Hammond Smith, and influential tenor saxophone players included Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis.
Jazz fusion :
In the late 1960s and early 1970s the hybrid form of jazz-rock fusion was developed by combining jazz improvisation with rock rhythms, electric instruments and the highly amplified stage sound of rock musicians such as Jimi Hendrix. All Music Guide states that "..until around 1967, the worlds of jazz and rock were nearly completely separate." However, "...as rock became more creative and its musicianship improved, and as some in the jazz world became bored with hard bop and did not want to play strictly avant-garde music, the two different idioms began to trade ideas and occasionally combine forces."
Miles Davis made the breakthrough into fusion in 1970. Musicians who worked with Davis formed the four most influential fusion groups: Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra emerged in 1971 and were soon followed by Return to Forever and The Headhunters. Although jazz purists protested the blend of jazz and rock, some of jazz's significant innovators crossed over from the contemporary hard bop scene into fusion. Jazz fusion music often uses mixed meters, odd time signatures, syncopation, complex chords and harmonies.
In addition to using the electric instruments of rock, such as the electric guitar, electric bass, electric piano and synthesizer keyboards, fusion also used the powerful amplification, "fuzz" pedals, wah-wah pedals, and other effects used by 1970s-era rock bands. Notable performers of jazz fusion included Miles Davis, keyboardists Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, vibraphonist Gary Burton, drummer Tony Williams, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, guitarists Larry Coryell, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Frank Zappa, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and bassists Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke. Jazz fusion was also popular in Japan where the band Casiopea released over thirty fusion albums.
In the twenty-first century, almost all jazz has influences from other nations and styles of music, making jazz fusion as much a common practice as style.
Developed by the mid-1970s, is characterized by a strong back beat (groove), electrified sounds, and often, the presence of the first electronic analog synthesizers. The integration of Funk, Soul and R&B music and styles into jazz resulted in the creation of a genre whose spectrum is indeed quite wide and ranges from strong jazz improvisation to soul, funk or disco with jazz arrangements, jazz riffs and jazz solos, and sometimes soul vocals.
At the jazz end of the spectrum, jazz-funk characteristics include a departure from ternary rhythm (near-triplet), i.e. the "swing", to the more danceable and unfamiliar binary rhythm, known as the "groove". Jazz-funk also draws influences from traditional African music, Latin American rhythms and Jamaican reggae. A second characteristic of jazz-funk music is the use of electric instruments, and the first use of analogue electronic instruments notably by Herbie Hancock, whose jazz-funk period saw him surrounded on stage by several Moog synthesizers.
Other trends :
There was a resurgence of interest in jazz and other forms of African American cultural expression during the Black Arts Movement and Black nationalist period of the early 1970s. Musicians such as Pharoah Sanders and Wayne Shorter began using African instruments such as kalimbas, cowbells, beaded gourds and other instruments not traditional to jazz. Musicians began improvising jazz tunes on unusual instruments, such as the jazz harp, electrically amplified and wah-wah pedaled jazz violin (Jean-Luc Ponty), and even bagpipes (Rufus Harley).
Jazz continued to expand and change, influenced by other types of music, such as world music, avant garde classical music, and rock and pop music. Guitarist John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra played a mix of rock and jazz infused with East Indian influences but also in the 1970s with artists including Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, the Pat Metheny Group, Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, John Surman and Eberhard Weber, establishing a new chamber music aesthetic, featuring mainly acoustic instruments, and sometimes incorporating elements of world music and folk music.
1980s, 1990s and 2000s in jazz :
In 1987, the US House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill proposed by Democratic Representative John Conyers, Jr. to define jazz as a unique form of American music stating, among other things, "...that jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated".
Traditionalist and Experimental divide.
In the 1980s, the jazz community shrank dramatically and split. A mainly older audience retained an interest in traditional and straight-ahead jazz styles. Wynton Marsalis strove to create music within what he believed was the tradition, creating extensions of small and large forms initially pioneered by such artists as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. In the 2000s, straight-ahead jazz continues to appeal to a core group of listeners. Well-established jazz musicians, such as Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Jessica Williams continue to perform and record. In the 1990s and 2000s, a number of young musicians emerged, including US pianists Brad Mehldau, Jason Moran, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, saxophonists Joshua Redman and bassist Christian McBride.
In the United States, several musicians and groups explored the more experimental end of the spectrum, including trumpeters Rob Mazurek, keyboardist Craig Taborn, guitarist John Scofield. Outside of the US, the Swedish group E.S.T. gained popularity with their progressive takes on jazz. A number of new vocalists have achieved popularity with a mix of traditional jazz and pop/rock forms, such as Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Kurt Elling and Jamie Cullum.
Smooth jazz :
In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called pop fusion or "smooth jazz" became successful and garnered significant radio airplay. Smooth jazz saxophonists include Grover Washington Jr., Kenny G, Kirk Whalum, Boney James and David Sanborn. Smooth jazz received frequent airplay with more straight-ahead jazz in "quiet storm" time slots at radio stations in urban markets across the U.S., helping to establish or bolster the careers of vocalists including Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan and Sade. In this same time period Chaka Khan released Echoes of an Era, which featured Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White.
In general, smooth jazz is downtempo (the most widely played tracks are in the 90–105 BPM range), layering a lead, melody-playing instrument (saxophones–especially soprano and tenor–are the most popular, with legato electric guitar playing a close second).
Acid jazz, nu jazz and jazz rap :
Acid jazz developed in the UK over the 1980s and 1990s and influenced by jazz-funk and electronic dance music. Jazz-funk musicians such as Roy Ayers and Donald Byrd are often credited as forerunners of acid jazz. While acid jazz often contains various types of electronic composition (sometimes including sampling or live DJ cutting and scratching), it is just as likely to be played live by musicians, who often showcase jazz interpretation as part of their performance. Nu jazz is influenced by jazz harmony and melodies, there are usually no improvisational aspects. It ranges from combining live instrumentation with beats of jazz house, exemplified by St Germain, to more band-based improvised jazz with electronic elements such as The Cinematic Orchestra and the Norwegian "future jazz" style pioneered by Bugge Wesseltoft, Jaga Jazzist, Nils Petter Molvær, and others. Nu jazz can be very experimental in nature and can vary widely in sound and concept.
Jazz rap developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and incorporates jazz influence into hip hop. In 1988, Gang Starr released "Words I Manifest", sampling Dizzy Gillespie's 1962 "Night in Tunisia ». Gang Starr's track "Jazz Thing" for the soundtrack of Mo' Better Blues, sampling Charlie Parker and Ramsey Lewis. Gang Starr also collaborated with Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard.Groups making up the collective known as the Native Tongues Posse tended towards jazzy releases; these include the Jungle Brothers' debut Straight Out the Jungle and A Tribe Called Quest's People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm and The Low End Theory.
Beginning in 1993, rapper Guru's Jazzmatazz series used jazz musicians during the studio recordings. Though jazz rap had achieved little mainstream success, jazz legend Miles Davis' final album (released posthumously in 1992), Doo-Bop, was based around hip hop beats and collaborations with producer Easy Mo Bee. Davis' ex-bandmate Herbie Hancock returned to hip hop influences in the mid-nineties, releasing the album Dis Is Da Drum in 1994.
20th and 21st century music
With 20th century music, there was a vast increase in music listening as the radio gained popularity and phonographs were used to replay and distribute music. The focus of art music was characterized by exploration of new rhythms, styles, and sounds.
Jazz evolved and became an important genre of music over the course of the 20th century, and during the second half of that century, rock music did the same. Jazz is an American musical artform that originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style's West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note. From its early development until the present, jazz has also incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music. Jazz has, from its early 20th century inception, spawned a variety of subgenres, ranging from New Orleans Dixieland (1910s) to 1970s and 1980s-era jazz-rock fusion.
Many types of music, such as traditional blues and folk music were originally preserved in the memory of performers, and the songs were handed down orally, or aurally (by ear). When the composer of music is no longer known, this music is often classified as "traditional." Different musical traditions have different attitudes towards how and where to make changes to the original source material, from quite strict, to those that demand improvisation or modification to the music. A culture's history may also be passed by ear through song.
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed in the 1960s from 1950s rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, and country music. The sound of rock often revolves around the electric guitar or acoustic guitar, and it uses a strong back beat laid down by a rhythm section of electric bass guitar, drums, and keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, or, since the 1970s, analog synthesizers and digital ones and computers since the 1990s. Along with the guitar or keyboards, saxophone and blues-style harmonica are used as soloing instruments. In its "purest form," it "has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody." In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it branched out into different subgenres, ranging from blues-rock and jazz-rock fusion to heavy metal and punk rock, as well as the more classical influenced genre of progressive rock and several types of experimental rock genres.
Social/ spiritual/ community significance:
Over time, music fully demonstrated its aptitude to interpret and to influence people’s feelings, in addition to being a powerful means of communication. Because of its history and development throughout the years, jazz, more than other forms of artistic expression, embodies the synthesis of different cultures in a harmonious ensemble.
“International Jazz Day” would be a cross-sectoral project which would engage the expertise of the Culture, Education and Communications / Information sectors. It would also be a Day for all ages since jazz knows no generation gap. Outreach to youth would be an important component. “Jazz in the Classroom” programs have already been successful in helping students in the inner-city and rural areas to develop creativity, a positive self-image and appreciation for their own and others’ cultural heritage. Herbie Hancock, a jazz legend who was recently named as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue, has been featured in an interactive satellite television for music education program as part of “Jazz in the Classroom”.
This collection contains many of the greatest names in middle and mainstream Jazz, including Errol Garner, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, or Oscar Peterson. Most of them composed great number of improvised jam sessions extremely rare.
For instance, in 1969, the whole set of Les McCann and Eddie Harris was totally improvised. They added the sobriquet, “Swiss Movement” to the record and within six months of its release, became the biggest selling jazz album of all time!
Miles Davis played differently in Montreux ten times until his last performance conducted by Quincy Jones in 1991 in which Davis performed the repertoire from his 1940s and 1950s recordings for the first time in decades.
There are also recordings of eminent voices such as Aretha Franklin (first appearance in Europe), the exceptional Nina Simone or Ella Fitzgerald.
In the meantime, the famous jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock produced twenty different instrumental performances over thirty years to finally play the “Rhapsody in Blue” with Lang-Lang in 2009.
Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the most acclaimed composer and performer, and Elis Regina, to cite a few, brought the music of Brazil in Montreux in the late 70’s.
Last but not least, for many artists, it is in Montreux that their performance was recorded for the first and only time for television: the only complete live recording of Marvin Gaye in the world is part of this musical treasure.
A distinction is often drawn between music performed for the benefit of a live audience, which made each performance unique, and music that is performed in a studio for the purpose of being distributed through the music retail or the broadcasting systems (CDs, MP3s, music video clips).
Jazz works as an inclusive process by allowing each musician to develop a unique, individual style. Improvisation and interpretation are essential components that help make jazz an ever-renewing art form, which continues attracting new generations. Jazz music is synonymous with freedom, both for its players that are free to invent and create each time they play a tune, and for its listeners.
The Montreux Jazz Festival has often been name-makers that later look like hinge events in artists’ lives.
To cite a few : Bill Evans, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Anita Baker, Simply Red, Tracy Chapman, Wynton Marsalis and more recently Adele.