Nice Jazz Festival 2015

The Roots

The Roots

Ask and ye shall receive. Last year I bemoaned the fact that the Nice Jazz Festival was relying too much on regulars. Sponsored by singer/pianist Jamie Cullum, this year’s program presents several rarely-seen-in-Nice artists such as Brad Mehldau, The Roots, Jason Moran and Roberto Fonseca. In addition to up-and-coming artists, look out for jazz legends Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Barron and Charles Lloyd as well as soul artists Lauryn Hill and Kool and the Gang.

The price has not gone up (yay!), remaining at €35 (€31 if purchased before 15 May) with a variety of reductions available. Check out the Nice Jazz Festival site (in French) for all prices and booking and to this page for English language info, tips and explanations on the infrastructure.

Here’s the Nice Jazz Festival Calendar:

Tuesday 7 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Fred D’Oelsnitz Trio

20h45 – Omer Klein Trio

22h30 – Cassandra Wilson, “Coming Forth By Day”

Scene Massena

20h00 Too Many Zooz “Brasshouse”

21h15 – Caravan Palace

23h00 – Jamie Cullum

Wednesday 8 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Indra Rios Moore

20h45 Kenny Barron

22h30 – Charles Lloyd Quartet

Scene Massena

20h00 – Benjamin Clementine

21h15 – Jungle

23h00 – Asaf Avidan

Thursday 9 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Grégory Privat & Sonny Troupé, “Luminiescence”

20h45 – Brad Mehldau Trio

22h30 – Kurt Elling, “Passion World”

Scene Massena

20h00 – Ibeyi

24h15 Hiatus Coyote

23h00 – Lauryn Hill

Friday 10 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Hugh Coltman, “Shadows – Songs of Nat King Cole ”

20h45- Eric Legnini, “What’d I Say” feat. Sandra Nkaké & Kellylee Evans

22h30 – Yael Naim

Scene Massena

20h00 Liv Warfield

21.15 Hindi Zahra

23h00 – Cerrone

Saturday July 11

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Andrea Motis & Joan Chamorro

20h45 – Jason Moran, “Fats Waller Dance Party”

22h30 – Roberto Fonseca and Fatoumata Diawara ,”At Home”

Scene Massena

20h00 – Monophonics

21H15 – Larry Graham & Graham Central Station

23h00 The Roots

Sunday 12 July

Scene Massena

11h Free Concert London Gospel Choir

20h30 Soul Rebels

23h00 Kool and the Gang

Nice Jazz Festival 2014

Joshua Redman at the Nice Jazz Festival

Joshua Redman at the Nice Jazz Festival

Well that was a big improvement! Last year’s festival was marred by the not-quite-finished construction of the Coulée Verte, the stretch of park and promenade that extends the Jardins Albert 1er where the festival is held. The festival space is much more attractive now that the landscaping is finished. Winding walkways lined with trees and flowering bushes open onto a new and spacious dining area, the Place Yitzhak Rabin, with food stalls and picnic tables. It’s a pleasant place to nibble and listen to the sounds coming from the Masséna stage. In fact, the music from the Masséna stage can be enjoyed from the bordering streets for those wishing to save €35 for a ticket! The ambiance is not the same though.

The other stage is the Théâtre de Verdure, a more traditional venue, where seats are arranged in a semi-circle around the stage. The two stages are set far apart in an effort to keep the sounds from the larger Masséna which hosts the more blockbuster acts, from bleeding onto the Verdure crowd. Much progress had been made on that front mainly because the acts start at different times.

Truly blockbuster acts were in short supply this year. (See the program here) The headliners at the Scene Masséna drew niche crowds: Deep Purple for nostalgic oldsters; Metronomy and Electro Deluxe for youngsters; Gipsy Kings and Ibrahim Maalouf for World Music fans. There was no major pop star either on the way down or on the way up to pull in the crowds. That may be one reason why

article/nice-jazz-festival-frequentation-en-nette-baisse-15-20140715-54939">attendance has slipped 15% since last year. 

On the other hand, more people stuffed into the standing space of Scene Masséna is not a devoutly wished for pleasure. The space still seems much too crowded and reaching the back in search of more room seemed like an all night project.

The Théâtre de Verdure was much more comfortable and I had no problem finding a seat this year. Nice for the audience but not so nice for the festival’s bottom line. In addition to the usual reasons for this year’s relatively weak numbers–capricious weather, the World Cup, a gloomy economy–the festival could also use some new acts. By new, I mean new to the region. Artists such as Dr John, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Richard Galliano, Nikki Yanofsky have made regular appearances here and at the Jazz a Juan festival in nearby Juan-les-Pins over the last few years. Although they are great artists, there are others out there to enliven the program.

It was a great pleasure to hear Christian McBride once again however. His group was dynamic, especially Christian Sands on the piano and his set was beautifully balanced and emotional.

The word is that next year there will be an extra night of music which should bring some welcome surprises.