CAUX, Switzerland (Reuters Life!) - Phil Collins will play an exclusive pre-festival concert before the 2010 Montreux Jazz Festival featuring Roxy Music, Massive Attack and a host of big jazz acts, festival organizers said on Thursday.
Former Genesis singer and drummer Collins will delve into 1960s Motown and soul before hundreds of musicians from the worlds of pop, rock, blues, and jazz come together in the lakeside town from July 2 to 17 for one of Europe’s most prestigious summer music events.
“Phil Collins is the typical example of an old friend because he played at the festival thirty years ago with his band Brand X by the swimming pool in a free show,” festival founder Claude Nobs told Reuters.
British art rockers Roxy Music, making their first appearance at Montreux since 1973, are first up in the main hall when the 44th edition of the festival gets under way properly.
Other crowd pleasers are set to be multi-instrumentalist Norah Jones, ranked top jazz recording artist of the past decade by Billboard magazine, on July 3, an evening of rock from Billy Idol and Gary Moore on July 6, U.S. singer-songwriter Ben Harper on July 7 and UK trip-hoppers Massive Attack on July 8.
“The spectrum of music has become very wide and if you look at the program you can think ‘should the name jazz be mentioned?’. But this year we are very lucky,” Nobs said. “We have all the major jazz acts that would draw a crowd.”
These include a quintet of great North American jazz keyboardists, starting with Brad Mehldau at the gala night on July 4, which also features soprano Jessye Norman breaking down the barriers between jazz, classical music and gospel.
Keith Jarrett, who played the first festival in 1967, is next to take his seat at the piano on July 11, before making way for jazz fusion pioneer Chick Corea the following night.
Pianist-vocalist Diana Krall, who last year released an album of bossa nova-inspired music, shares a bill with husband Elvis Costello playing with country outfit The Sugarcanes on July 13.
Herbie Hancock rounds off the feast of jazz piano on July 16 with a record 26th Montreux appearance.
“If I book a musician twice in a row it’s because he’s going to bring something fresh. Herbie played through all these years and it’s never the same musicians and never the same tunes,” said Nobs.
More than half of this year’s artists are new to the festival, including former Dire Straits guitar hero Mark Knopfler and French singers Vanessa Paradis and Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nobs said.
Guitar aficionados can also catch jazz virtuoso Pat Metheny and flamenco ground-breaker Paco de Lucia on July 7 an 8, respectively, before Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa — artists from very different backgrounds and generations — give a blues master class on July 13.
Guy, who influenced British bluesman Eric Clapton, was born a sharecropper’s son in the segregated Deep South and first learned to play using a makeshift guitar. Bonamassa, still in his early 30s but with ten studio albums already to his name, was a child prodigy who opened for B.B. King when still a boy.
Fans of African music can look forward to Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour showcasing his foray into reggae, Dakar-Kingston, on July 9, when Beninese Angelique Kidjo also leads an all-star tribute to her idol, Miriam Makeba, who died in late 2008.
Makeba, known affectionately to fans as “Mama Africa,” spent three decades exiled from her homeland, South Africa, after becoming a prominent voice against Apartheid.
Editing by Paul Casciato