“I thank Mr. Hitler,” says a droll Martial Solal, a French-Algerian Jew and France’s foremost jazz pianist. “Because of him I discover music. Without him, I wouldn’t be here-and neither would you.”
“Here” is Juan-Les-Pins, a tiny swath of Mediterranean beachfront in the south of France that hosts the historic Festival de Jazz d’Antibes Juan-Les-Pins. We’re in Hôtel Le Méridien, sitting in Solal’s seaside room. The vast blue panorama before us is the same one that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald as he wrote Tender Is the Night, which was set in this once-sleepy fishing village that now lives up to the “constant carnival” appellation that the American expat writer bestowed upon it.