After years of complaints by residents of the Cimiez neighbourhood, the Nice Jazz Festival packed its stages and moved to the much more centrally located Jardins Albert 1er. There’s no question that the site is easier to access, especially by visitors. Naturally, parking is a nightmare but cyclists and walkers will have no problem getting to the venue from anywhere in downtown Nice. For those coming from further afield, there’s always the Noctambus to return you to your digs when the festival ends around midnight.
After several years of toying around with pop, R & B, soul and rock, the festival’s new shortened schedule puts the emphasis squarely on jazz in all its permutations from electro to blues to classic jazz. Last night, Michel Portal delivered a soaring performance of cuts from his new CD, Bailador, in the festival’s Teatre Verdure venue. Of the two venues, this is the one with seating– essential in order to relax and fully enter the music. Unfortunately, the mood was occasionally interrupted by the sounds drifting over from the other venue, the Scene Matisse.
The “festival seating” in the Scene Matisse was the only disappointment in this revamped Jazz Festival. The open field of Cimiez dotted by olive trees provided a certain romantic ambience. You could stand in a crowd in front of the stage or spread out a blanket in the field and gaze at the stars while listening to the music. Here, the only choice was to remain standing, mostly on concrete, for the duration of the concert. That’s fine for a pulsing rock concert that impels dancing, but it’s unnecessarily tiring for a jazz concert.
The solution is simple: install chairs!Follow me!