The 32th edition of Cully Jazz Festival kicks off this Friday! Taking place by the beautiful Leman Lake, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage region of Lavaux, it presents about 100 concerts on a 9-day stretch. The jazz sounds of Israeli star Avishai Cohen, trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf and the duo of Randy Weston & Billy Harper, the avant-garde music of Medeski Martin & Wood and the R&B of Cody Chesnutt are some of the highlights of the event.
Last year, the Cully Jazz Festival welcomed some 50,000 excited patrons who joined one of Europe’s most appreciated spring happenings. The event will be back to celebrate its 32th anniversary from 4 to 12 April. Like always, it will take place in the gorgeous Lavaux region, a UNESCO World Heritage site located by the lovely Leman Lake, in the Western part of Switzerland.
A real beauty, as you can see from this image
About 100 concerts filled with European and international stars bring together a multitude of music genres that make Cully Jazz Festival a small paradise for thousands of music lovers.
Israeli bass maestro Avishai Cohen will be back to Cully Jazz with his Avishai Cohen Trio on opening night (4 April, 8:30 pm). Many international stars like Chick Corea (who called him “a genius musician”), Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock and Paquito D’Rivera have asked Cohen to join them for incredible collaborations.
The critically-acclaimed jazzman – hailed “jazz visionary of global proportions” by DownBeat and “one of the 100 Most Influential Bass Players of the 20th Century” by Bass Player Magazine, is without doubts one of the highlights of Cully Jazz Festival 2014.
On Saturday night, it will be time for the explosive mix of avant-garde jazz, funk and groove of the organ trio Medeski Martin & Wood (8:30 pm).
For over 20 years, this talented Brooklyn-based band has enjoyed moderate success both in the US and abroad due to performances with the likes of John Scofield and records released by the legendary Blue Note Records. At Cully Jazz 2014, they will be accompanied by a very special guest: Nels Cline, guitarist known for his work with Grammy award-winning indie rock band Wilco.
On 8 April, at Cully Jazz, the West Coast will meet the East Coast. From 8:30 pm, Oakland-born bebop saxophonist David Murray and his Infinity Quartet will be joined on stage by the blend of poet and alternative hip hop of singer, poet, writer and actor Saul Williams. An unmissable collaboration for all those interested in jazz and improvisation more in general.
On Friday 11 April, Cully Jazz will welcome two living legends of jazz music: Randy Weston & Billy Harper (8:30 pm). Friends since the 1970s, Weston and Harper are probably the best piano-sax duo that jazz has ever produced.
Born in 1926, Weston has enjoyed quite a successful career with collaborations with icons like Dizzy Gillespie and Pharoah Sanders and the release of about 50 records. In his journey across jazz, he has been accompanied, for decades, by Houston-born saxophonist Billy Harper, one of the most exciting Coltrane-influenced tenor saxophonists alive.
Not many jazz trumpeters have enjoyed the success Ibrahim Maalouf has been enjoying in his career. Originally from Beirut, but now based in Paris, Maalouf is undoubtedly one of the most in-demand European trumpet players.
The strong musical and cultural background – he is the son of two musicians (trumpeter Nassim and pianist Nada Maalouf), nephew of writer Amin Maalouf and grandchild of journalist, poet and musicologist Rushdi Maalouf – and his passion for music paved the way for Ibrahim Maalouf to establish himself as one of the most influential jazz trumpeters, despite his young age.
On the final night of Cully Jazz Festival 2014, Ibrahim Maalouf will be the star of the Fabulous Oriental Night (8:30 pm). The Cully Jazz audience will have the opportunity to enjoy his most famous compositions from both Wind and the new record Illusions.
Bluesy Cully, World Music and Urban Sounds
For its Sunday Blues (6 April), Cully Jazz will welcome American blues star Ruthie Foster (7:30 pm). A talented guitarist and excellent vocalist, with a strong gospel background alongside the iconic Blind Boys of Alabama, she is one of America’s best-kept musical secrets.
Winner of the 2013 Annual Living Blues Awards as Best Female Blues Artist, Foster makes a special appearance in Europe thanks to Cully Jazz Festival. Blues fans get ready, because you will fall in love with her music!
On Big Blues Night (7 April), it will be time for a very talented roster of bluesmen and women of blues. Guitarist Valerie June has been one of last year’s revelations of the international blues scene. With a sound that encompasses a mix of blues, folk, gospel, soul, country, bluegrass and Appalachian, she is one of the most promising and entertaining young blues artists.
When June is on stage, her talent is so evident that it’s really difficult to decide at which of her many talents – vocal skills, guitar, banjo, ukulele – she excels the most. On the same night, Cully Jazz will welcome the eclectic, charismatic, controversial and high-energetic bluesman Popa Chubby.
Cully Jazz Festival 2014 will also presents a series of incredible concerts that celebrate world music. Legendary singer, percussionist and Berklee College of Music professor Vinx, African rising star Aline Frazão, Cuncordu e Tenore de Orosei, Gasandji and Salif Keita are among those who will bring fascinating music from the four corners of the world on the stage of Cully Jazz.
Back to Cully after an amazing show in 1992, vocalist Vinx is a real icon. Involvement in cultural projects (he is also professor at the prestigious Berklee College of Music) and critically-acclaimed performances with Sting, Herbie Hancock and Branford Marsalis, just to name a few, make him one of the most popular singers that mix jazz, world sounds and soul. He will be back to Cully Jazz on 4 April (9 pm).
All the way from Angola, Aline Frazão is one of the most promising contemporary African singers. Her incredible mixture of bossa nova, jazz and fado, and catchy Portuguese lyrics, makes her a must for all those who want to take an imaginary journey to Africa (5 April, 7:30 pm).
The Italian vocal quintet Cuncordu e Tenore de Orosei will pay tribute to the beautiful Sardinia (8 April, 9 pm), while, on 9 April, Congo-born, France-based, star singer Gasandji will perform two shows to celebrate her native Africa (7:30 pm) and all the children attending Cully Jazz and around the world (2:30 pm).
Cully Jazz Festival 2014 will go from the world sounds of Africa and the Orient (with the show Soriana. Contemporary Music from the Orient 9 on April, 9 pm) to the urban rhythms of the city. From the R&B and neo-soul of Cody ChesnuTT (6 April, 6:30 pm), to the talented Grammy award-winning band Robert Glasper Experiment (7 April, 7:30 pm) – featuring Blue Note-signed bassist Derrick Hodge – and the hip hop of Akua Naru (11 April, 7:30 pm)…at Cully Jazz, music lovers will find some of the world’s best artist that make urban music what it is today.
For more information about the Cully Jazz Festival 2014 programme click here
We wish you a great time at Cully Jazz 2014! If you cannot make, you can still enjoy music by its performers with the playlist here below…enjoy!
4 – 12 April