"The Gould pine grove, a reference in living music" Francis Marmande (Le Monde)
The first «Jazz à Juan» festival, created as a tribute to a famous musician who loved Antibes, none other than Sidney Bechet, was the event that sparked off many other festivals which quickly spread across Europe. Claude Nobs, inventor of the great Montreux event, said himself: "If I hadn't passed through Antibes, Montreux wouldn't exist." The concept was revolutionary. For the first time, the general public could discover the main artists of the great saga which jazz had already become, with the heros on stage in person, and the most beautiful decor one could wish for under the hundered-year-old pine trees of pinède Gould facing the Mediterranean Sea. It was certainly a bit of a gamble, but one which more than lived up to its promises.
While welcoming the greatest jazz figures since 1960, the Antibes Juan-les-Pins festival retains a double attraction. Firstly through its rich line-up, true to authentic jazz, but also and above all because it remains a real laboratory where everyone can see that jazz is still a living musical style: high quality opening bands, (free) "Off" fringe concerts, hotel bars and streets carried away by Brass bands... There is plenty to be discovered: a musical style which is varied, pleasing and always at a human level, on a famous site between beach and stars. Performers throughout the world see the pinède Gould as the equivalent of what the Scala of Milan represents to opera singers: a confirmation and an exceptional opportunity to perform to the public, the ideal cocktail for a legendary place.
As early as 1960, the remarkable concert by Charles Mingus took place, then the start of the «Love Affair» between Ray Charles and the pine grove, the revelation of Miles Davis in 1963, the memorable duet between Ella Fitzgerald and a cicada... In 1968, after the Coltrane shock, while heated debate was raging back and forth, there was the irresistible free-style period, before Jazz Rock and fusion were at their height in 1976, then the impressive collection of pianists in 1981 (Petrucciani, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett), the revelation of Al Jarreau, the extraordinary duet between Stanley Clarke and Miroslav Vitous in 1984, another duet by Sarah Vaughan and Michel Legrand, the performances by Carlos Santana and the great Jessie Norman... Not forgetting, of course, the fabulous concerts by three of the most faithful returing artists: Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins.
«Jazz à Juan» represents a wide diversity of styles and programmes but also musicans: newcomers who have become famous names, trend-setting iconoclasts, classical and modern, all members of the great jazz family... No other festival has done more for the recognition of improvised and culturally mixed music from all over the world: in Juan, Africa has warmed the hearts of the audience, the "Som do brasil" has danced with Cuban Latin-Americans and Tito Puente converted France to the magic of mambo, then John McLaughlin and Shakti opened the Passage to India... There is a succession of permanent happenings, featuring at every opportunity New Orleans, Gospel, Blues, Swing, Be-bop, Latin Jazz, Cool Jazz, Hard-Bop, Free Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Modern Jazz and Electro-Jazz, during landmark concerts which now contribute to European jazz history while also building the future, as illustrated by the recent performances by Roy Hargrove, Richard Bona, Thomas Dutronc, Norah Jones and Jamie Cullum. Since 1960, the jazz saga has flourished in Juan thanks to the immense diversity of the artists: newcomers or famous names, innovators or iconoclasts, classical or modern.
Beyond divisions and fashions, it is essential for more than one reason:
• Essential thanks to the talent of those who have performed there.
• Essential through the diversity of musical styles performed.
• Essential too due to its exceptional influence, making it one of the most prestigious and effective vectors of communication for Antibes Juan-les-Pins at an international level.