As time goes by, the popular JazzAscona festival continues to grow and is getting ready for another decade of great success!
Taking place in one of the most beautiful settings you could ever see, by the romantic Maggiore Lake, it celebrates its 30th anniversary with the theme Hello Dolly! (20-28 June).
Today the Ascona Jazz Festival, or JazzAscona as it’s most commonly known, is one of the world’s premier jazz events dedicated to the music of New Orleans. Organized on a nine-day stretch in Ascona – in the Swiss Italian-speaking region of Ticino – and with a few shows in Cannobio (Italy), it celebrates its 30th birthday with over 240 concerts.
The lineup – which features a rich list of New Orleans jazz, swing and blues acts, as well as funk and R&B – includes international stars such as Stacey Kent, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Craig Adams & The Voices of New Orleans and the special event The Trumpet Summit for Louis Armstrong with trumpet maestros Nicholas Payton, Wendell Brunious, Leroy Jones, Gregg Stafford and Marcus Belgrave.
30 Summers of Great Music
The origins of JazzAscona date back to 1975, when designer Hannes Anrig organized the first edition of the Festa New Orleans (“New Orleans Fest” in English). Originally an event that presented amateur European jazz bands, the event took place in the city of Lugano and welcomed its first star – trombonist Louis Nelson – in 1983.
It wasn’t until 1985 that the festival, which had changed its name to Festa New Orleans Music ad Ascona, relocated to Ascona, by the shores of the beautiful Maggiore Lake. The first edition in Ascona, with 15,000 patrons in 3 days and admission-free entrance, was such a success, that the following year the festival became a 10-day event.
During the mid and late ’80s La Festa New Orleans Music Ascona became the European meeting ground for lovers of traditional jazz. In 1987 the festival welcomed a prestigious guest, New Orleans mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy for the very first time, while in 1990 prominent festival producer George Wein was another high-profile guest that attended the event.
“Festivals are established everywhere, they’re trendy” he told the press. “Despite all this, it’s difficult to find one with an international appeal. The organizers of La Festa New Orleans Music Ascona have managed to do it by creating an event that goes beyond music”.
During the ’90s, the festival continued to grow and it expanded the range of genres presented by introducing soul, funk and R&B.
As of today, JazzAscona is one of the world’s premier festivals dedicated to the vibrant music of New Orleans. Throughout the years, it has served a prestigious stage for internationally-acclaimed stars such as Jon Faddis, Lillian Boutté, Irma Thomas, Trombone Shorty, Irvin Mayfield, Shannon Powell, Catherine Russell and many others.
JazzAscona 2014: An Incredible Music Celebration
The theme of JazzAscona’s 30th anniversary is Hello Dolly!, song of the popular musical of the same name. 50 years ago, the composition earned legendary Louis Armstrong the top ranks of U.S. music charts – passing the Beatles – and two Grammy Awards.
Like always, the festival will revolve around the traditional music of New Orleans, with some the Crescent City’s most eclectic performers like Kermit Ruffins and explosive young bands such as New Breed Brass Band feat. Trumpet Black and The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jazz Band.
JazzAscona 2014 will also welcome world’s renowned performers like Stacey Kent, Al Copley and Gunhild Carling, and Italian popular acts Stefano Bollani, Irene Grandi, Gegè Telesforo and Renzo Arbore.
Overall, the festival will present something like 240+ incredible live jazz, swing, gospel, blues, funk and R&B shows – mixed between free and priced concerts – over nine incredible days!
During the years, JazzAscona has also handed out a series of prestigious awards to the likes of Irma Thomas, Gerald French, Rossano Sportiello and Uncle Lionel Baptiste. The tradition will continue this summer with the Ascona Jazz Award – awarded to a jazz artist who has particularly excelled during the year or during his/her career, the Swiss Jazz Award – that will go to one of the three nominated Swiss bands Blue Bolero, Nicole Herzon-Stewy von Wattenwyl Group and Y-Jazz – and the Audience Award. The latter is awarded by the patrons to the act that has impressed them the most during the festival.
The 2014 World’s Cup in Brazil may be the most important sports event of the summer, but for New Orleans lovers and jazz enthusiasts the highlight is undoubtedly JazzAscona 2014!
If you want to enjoy world-class music in a laid-back atmosphere and incredible sceneries, Ascona is the place to be from 20 to 28 June.
20-28 June, Ascona (Switzerland)