42nd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland

The Montreux Jazz festival has become the most compelling musical event of the year. The festival attracts more and more great and upcoming talent than any other musical event in the world.With that being said, in 1967, the first Montreux Jazz Festival came to life. The festival was held at Montreux Casino. It lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists. The highlights of this era were Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Soft Machine, Weather Report, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Originally a jazz only festival, it opened up it’s genre venue in the 1970s and today presents artists of nearly every imaginable music style. Jazz remains an important part of the festival. Today’s festival lasts about two weeks and attracts more than 200,000 people.

In the 1970s, the festival began broadening its scope, including blues, soul, and rock artists. In December 1971, Montreux Casino burned down (memorialized in the Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water”). The festival was forced to move until the new Casino was ready in 1975.

Towards the end of the decade, the festival expanded even more, including music from all continents and lasting a full three weeks. Santana came to Montreux for the first time in 1970, Van Morrison played in 1974. Other artists included Weather Report, Camarn de la Isla, Soft Machine, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Stan Getz, Airto Moreira, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Charles Mingus, Etta James, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Gilberto Gil, Ray Charles, James Booker, Hermeto Pascoal, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elis Regina, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Pasadena Roof Orchestra, New Order, Jaco Pastorius, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band,and many more.
Incidentally, Stevie Ray Vaughan was booed while performing on stage in’83, the folks were not ready for the hi-energy string bending all out blues. He also won a Grammy for it. SRV at Montreux is one of, if not the best guitar DVD’s ever. Get it and love it.

Montreux, Distinguishes itself by its ambitious programming choices, for two weeks in 2008, from July 4th to July 19th the 42nd annual Montreux Jazz Festival 2008 offers an ideal platform for musicians in an intimate setting.

We can thank Claude Nobs (born in Montreux, Switzerland, 4 February 1936) as the founder and general manager of the famous Montreux Jazz Festival. …

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