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Review: France’s Nice Jazz Festival

Intimacy, connection and a relaxed energy

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Cécile McLorin Salvant, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Kris Bowers, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Kris Bowers, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Richard Galliano, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Richard Galliano, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Snarky Puppy, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Snarky Puppy, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Vincent Peirani & Emile Parisien, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Christian McBride, Nice Jazz Festival 2014
Ibrahim Maalouf, Nice Jazz Festival 2014

Of Europe’s extended family of summer jazz gatherings-large and small, long-running and relatively new-the new Nice Jazz Festival stands out as one of those that can proudly call itself world-class. It maintains a scale that invites intimacy, connection and a relaxed energy that offers a refreshing change from many multiple-stage events that find fans running from one corner of the festival to another in order to catch the more popular acts. Nice’s five-day event has but two, closely arranged stages and with only three acts per day on each-and yet, with the high quality of the music presented there this year, from European and American modern jazz to French neo-soul and electronic pop, and even a classic rock group for good measure (Deep Purple-with organ riffs and power chords still intact)-choices still had to be made.

That is to say that the 2014 version of the Nice Jazz Festival was a stirring and unqualified success of which the city can be proud-one that benefitted from the array of American jazz names circulating through Western Europe this time of year, yet including a large dose of talent that could only be heard in France.

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