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A complete feast for the senses, The Montreux Jazz Festival is nothing but music divine, writes Srirekha Pillai
An ode to music. A feast for the senses. A rhythm divine. The Montreux Jazz Festival is all this and much more. A musical extravaganza, set against the picturesque backdrop of the Swiss Riviera, it is Europe’s ticket to the fine world of music.
Be it jazz, pop, rock or world music, the Montreux Jazz Festival has something for everybody. But it wasn’t always so. The first-ever edition of the Festival, way back in 1967, lasted for just three days and featured exclusively jazz artists. Along the way, as the Festival grew in popularity, it encompassed other genres of music as well.
Now, in its 44th year, the MJF, as it’s popularly known, is renowned for the variety and quality of the performers being presented. The festival attracts the likes of Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Santana, Wyclef Jean, Black Eyed Peas, Seal, Sting, Alicia Keys, Deep Purple, Norah Jones, Missy Elliot, Mark Knopfler, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Simple Red and Diana Krall, just to name a few.
The 44th edition opened on July 2, this year, with a phenomenal concert by Phil Collins, in what was billed as his ‘Only concert in Europe’. Collins’ rendition of the 60s Motown and Soul got the Festival into the groove for the rest of the rhythmical fortnight.
Parmigiani has been part of the Festival since 2005, making it one of their most important cultural associations. CEO Jean-Marc Jacot says, “The festival has gone from strength to strength in the last five years. In terms of both its programme, which has been much more consistent in its choice of headline acts, and its luxury areas reserved for the main sponsors, the Montreux Jazz Festival has demonstrated a genuine desire to distance itself from other more provincial festivals. This is great for the brand!”
The Parmigiani Workshops are one of the keynotes of the Festival and are as much of a talking point as the performances. Accessible to all, the workshops create the opportunity for close contact between the audience and artists. This year’s sessions included, Jessye Norman, Pat Metheny, ‘Musical expression: from brain to emotion’ and ‘Robodisco: do robots know how to dance?’ with a special workshop for 10 to 14 year-olds.