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Montreux Jazz Festival


Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux Jazz Festival
1983 poster
Genre Jazz, rock, pop
Dates First fortnight of July
Location(s) Montreux Musique & Convention Centre
Grand-Rue 95
1820 Montreux
Years active 1967–present
Festival Website

The Montreux Jazz Festival (formerly Festival de Jazz Montreux and Festival International de Jazz Montreux) is a music festival in Switzerland, held annually in early July in Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline. It is the second largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada's Montreal International Jazz Festival.[1]


  • History 1
  • Venue 2
    • Venue History 2.1
  • Expansion 3
  • Competitions 4
  • Performances 5
  • Discography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Montreux Jazz Festival was founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs, Géo Voumard and René Langel[2] with considerable help from Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün of Atlantic Records. The festival was first held at Montreux Casino. It lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists. The highlights of this era were Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Soft Machine, Weather Report, The Fourth Way, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Originally a pure jazz festival, it opened up 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 an audience of more than 200,000 people.

In the 1970s, the festival began broadening its scope, including Parliament-Funkadelic, Eric Clapton, Luther Allison, Bo Diddley, Stan Getz, Airto Moreira, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Charles Mingus, Etta James, Sonny Rollins, Son House, Count Basie, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, 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, Toto, André Geraissati, Korni Grupa, Jan Akkerman, Joe Satriani, Status Quo, and many more.

The initiator and, until his tragic death in 2013, the head organizer, Quincy Jones.


The festival was originally held at the original Montreux Casino, which burned down in December 1971 during Frank Zappa's performance (as referenced in "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple). The festival was held then in other auditoriums in Montreux, until it could return to the rebuilt new Casino in 1975. The festival continued to grow, and in 1993, it moved to the larger Congress and Convention Centre Montreux. From 1995 through 2008, it occupied both the convention centre and the casino. Beginning with the 41st MJF in 2007, nightly performances of headliners were again moved mainly to the Montreux Musique & Convention Centre (though the Casino still hosts the odd one-off shows), owing mainly to logistics: the Casino is approximately 1 kilometre (1,100 yd) from the Convention Centre, making it difficult for crew, artists and technical personnel (as well as fans) to travel easily through crowded streets from one venue to the other. (This is exacerbated by the presence of a large number of streetside vendors and artisans – as well as strolling crowds of tourists – on the lakefront walk that connects the venues.) As of 2007, the Convention Centre hosts two main stages, Auditorium Stravinski (capacity 3,500) and Miles Davis Hall (capacity 1,800), as well as the smaller Montreux Jazz Cafe, and several smaller open-air stages around the Centre. Additional themed shows (Bahia, Blues, etc.) are held on boats cruising the lake and train cars traveling the region, and various workshops and competitions are held at the nearby Montreux Palais and Le Petit Palais.

Venue History

Venue History
Date Venue
16–18 June 1967 Montreux Casino
12–16 June 1968
18–22 June 1969
17–21 June 1970
12–20 June 1971
16–29 June 1972 Pavillon Montreux
29 June – 15 July 1973 Montreux Convention Center
28 June – 7 July 1974
3–20 July 1975 Montreux Casino
25 June – 6 July 1976
1–24 July 1977
7–23 July 1978
6–22 July 1979
4–20 July 1980
3–20 July 1981
9–25 July 1982
8–24 July 1983
6–22 July 1984
5–20 July 1985
3–19 July 1986
3–17 July 1987
1–17 July 1988
7–22 July 1989
6–21 July 1990
9–29 July 1991
10–22 July 1992
2–17 July 1993 Congress and Convention Centre Montreux
(Auditorium Stravinski/The New Q's)
1–16 July 1994 Congress and Convention Centre Montreux
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
7–22 July 1995 Congress and Convention Centre Montreux
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
Montreux Casino
Montreux Jazz Café
5–20 July 1996
4–19 July 1997
3–18 July 1998
2–17 July 1999
7–22 July 2000
6–21 July 2001 Congress and Convention Centre Montreux
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
Montreux Casino
Montreux Jazz Café
Scène Bleu
5–20 July 2002 Congress and Convention Centre Montreux
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
Montreux Casino
Montreux Jazz Café
Montreux Jazz Young Planet
Montreux Jazz Club
4–19 July 2003 Congress and Convention Centre Montreux
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
Casino Barrière de Montreux
Montreux Jazz Café
Montreux Jazz Young Planet
Montreux Jazz Club
2–17 July 2004
1–16 July 2005
30 June – 15 July 2006
6–21 July 2007 Montreux Musique & Convention Centre
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
Montreux Jazz Café
Montreux Jazz Young Planet
Montreux Jazz Club
4–19 July 2008 Montreux Musique & Convention Centre
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
Montreux Jazz Café
Montreux Jazz Young Planet
Montreux Jazz Club
MDH Club
Studio 41
Music in the Park
3–18 July 2009
2–17 July 2010
1–16 July 2011
29 June – 14 July 2012
5–20 July 2013 Montreux Musique & Convention Centre
(Auditorium Stravinski/Miles Davis Hall)
Montreux Jazz Café
Montreux Jazz Young Planet
Montreux Jazz Club
MDH Club
Studio 41
Music in the Park
Montreux Jaxx Lab
4–19 July 2014


20th anniversary poster (1986) designed by Andy Warhol and Keith Haring

The festival changed in the 1980s: it grew dramatically and included an even wider variety of music styles. Jazz remained important, as did Brazilian music, but more and more rock and pop artists were also invited.

Parliament-Funkadelic, Wynton Marsalis, Art Blakey, John McLaughlin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Wayne Shorter, Al Di Meola, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, Mike Oldfield, Brian May, Marvin Gaye, Rory Gallagher, Leonard Cohen, Nina Hagen, Eric Clapton, Queen, Phil Collins, Joe Cocker, Los Lobos, The Manhattan Transfer, Tracy Chapman, and Van Morrison again .

The expansion that began in the 1980s has continued since then – Montreux transformed from a jazz festival into a world music festival. Quincy Jones co-produced the festival from 1991 to 1993. By 1993, the festival had outgrown the Casino and moved to the larger Convention Centre. The number of visitors rose from 75,000 in 1980 to 120,000 in 1994, and an "Off-festival" developed on the lakeshore promenades and in the cafés of Montreux.

Many "regulars" returned, but many new artists also appeared on stage: Jazzkantine, Alanis Morissette, David Bowie, Paul Simon... In 1999, the festival saw more than 220,000 visitors.

The festival has also played host to some well-known and talented student groups, including big bands and vocal ensembles. Young, talented musicians are encouraged to take part in several competitions.


Three international competitions are organised by the Montreux Jazz Festival Foundation 2 every year: Solo Piano, Guitar, and Voice. For each competition a jury composed of professionals and chaired by a world-renowned musician (in 2008: Fazil Say for the Piano Solo, Lee Ritenour for the Guitar, Patti Austin for the Voice competition) award the three prizes. In addition, a local competition, the Tremplin Lémanique, is aimed at jazz bands that are based in one of the regions of the Léman lake: the French departments of Ain and Haute Savoie and the Swiss cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais. All the information is available on: []. The yearly deadline to apply is 15 April.

The Montreux Competitions are part of the free events of the Festival, along with the workshops, the archives projections, the exhibitions and the free concerts in the park. All events are organised by the Montreux Jazz Foundation 2 –



Australian Youth All Star Big Band performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2004.

Albums recorded at the festival


  2. ^
  3. ^ [1] Archived 7 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Ronni Reich, October 21, 2012, Star-Ledger, Cyrille Aimee wins the first Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition, Retrieved February 22, 2015, ".. In 2007, she was named winner of the first and public prizes at the Montreux Jazz Festival Competition...
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

  • Montreux Jazz Festival
  • Claude Nobs Foundation
  • Live at Montreux on YouTube
  • Claude Nobs Revealed on International

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