It’s gonna be a July of Jazz! The top three summer Jazz Festival line-ups have all been unveiled, so here’s what to look forward to…
Nice Jazz Festival, July 8-12
The 5-night festival is splitting its musical focus in two: the more initmate Theatre de Verdure stage will be devoted exclusively to jazz, and the massive Massena stage will have a bit broader scope, including rock, pop, soul and funk to attract a more mainstream audience. Jazz lovers can groove to the greats, like Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal, Ron Carter and Dee Dee Bridgewater, while across the park the choices include Balkan punk with Emir Kusturica, R&B with Selah Sue, blues-rock-soul with Texas, funk with the Jimi Brown Experience, and the eclectic Dr John, just to name a few.
Quite happy with last year’s new easy-access in-town location, the Nice Jazz Festival is making even parking easier this year with a free tram pass for ticket-holders using the three Parc Azur park-and-ride lots.
Tickets are 35€ a night, only 31€ if you buy before May 31, and 2-night passes are available for 55€ and 5-night passes for 120€. Not a bad deal for 6 concerts a night!
…Then the night that the Nice Jazz Festival ends… Jazz à Juan and Nuits du Sud both begin!
Jazz à Juan, July 12-22
Eleven solid nights of amazing concerts on the most beautiful sunset sea-view stage on the Riviera. This is the festival for jazz purists featuring the top-of-the-top like Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Charlie Winston, Sonny Rollins, Mike Stern, Richard Bona, and ’80′s jazz icons The Crusaders, Joe Sample, Bobby McFerrin and the Yellowjackets. Non-purists are not left out, as the line-up is peppered with nights devoted to bluesy Gospel, ’80′s disco-funk with Chic and Kool and the Gang, and even a night with ageless hipster Tom Jones.
Tickets are 13-72€, and there are three free nights: the 12th (Revelations of “Off”), the soiree Gospel on July 22, and July 14 for Big Band…but for this night you need a free ticket available from the Antibes and Juan les Pins tourist office, given out starting in June.
Vence Nuits du Sud, weekends from July 12th to August 11
This super-fun (and super-affordable) Latin jazz fest that takes over the town square in Vence for 5 consecutive weekends, with such diverse acts as Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Earth Wind and Fire, and Catherine Ringer (from ’80 eclectic punk-disco Les Rita Mitsukos). This festival has the added advantage of good eats: dining opportunities abound at the many restaurant terraces surrounding the seating as well as a nice variety of interesting snack stands.
Tickets are just 12€ if purchased before May 13, 20€ at the door, and a 6-night pass is available for 100€.