Nice, early July - mid July
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|Earth Wind and Fire||George Benson|
|Manu Katché||Ben Harper|
Having moved from its traditional setting of Cimiez in 2011 to its current more central location by Nice’s Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena, NJF is still as popular and as impressive as ever. The festival has been running since 1948 and is now regarded amongst some of Europe's major jazz events, along with Montreux, Marciac and Umbria Jazz.
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.
The Nice Jazz Festival has been fortunate enough to play host to many musical legends, of all genres, over the years including Miles Davis, 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.
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. Indeed this year’s line-up includes a diverse mix ranging from local hero DJs C2C to jazz festival staple Maceo Parker.
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 setting just yards away from the Mediterranean Sea.
The 2 main stages of the festival, ‘Theatre de Verdure’ and ‘Place Massena’ open for performances which generally run from 6.30 in the evening and they are just a minute’s walk apart so audiences can easily roam freely between the two. Aside from the big stars on these two stages, several other free ‘Nice Jazz Off’ satellite events are organised during the period of the festival, where local talent may be enjoyed throughout the day.
After hours, you can mingle with the performers and catch some informal jam sessions at venues such as the B-Spot on Rue Biscarra or simply wander into the nearby Old Town for plenty of other live music bars and venues.
Some of this year’s highlights include Ben Harper, The Manu Katché Quartet and soul singer John Legend. Nice Jazz Festival tickets can usually be purchased through Fnac's ticket line and range from €35 for an adult day ticket to €120 for a full 5-day pass.
|Earth Wind & Fire||Kristofferson|
The 2013 line up for Nice Jazz festival has been announced and it is truly an eclectic mix. For a full list of perfrormances, click on this link:
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.