Montreux Jazz Festival - 39 years of history


A history that involves music, of course, and not only jazz. But a history that is also marked by 39 posters, designed by artists from very different backgrounds.

This exhibition presents them all, as well as a few special editions. Only one year is missing – the first – as no poster was ever printed.

To guide you around this exhibition, here is a reminder of the high points and development of the Festival over the years.

A history that involves music, of course, and not only jazz. But a history that is also marked by 39 posters, designed by artists from very different backgrounds.

1967: The first Montreux Jazz Festival lasted 3 days. Participating artists: The Charles Lloyd Quartet with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette. Twelve jazz bands took part in the first European Jazz Group competition and Dusko Goykovic was among the winners. It was the beginning of a long story...

1968: The Festival took place from June 12 to 16. The Bill Evans Trio topped the bill and Nina Simone made a sensational debut. John Surman and Jan Garbarek were among the winners of the soloist competition.

1969: Five days (June 18-22) of rock, pop and jazz, with artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Kenny Burrell. Clark Terry conducted a big band composed of the competition winners.

1970: Santana played at the Festival for the first time. Sadao Watanabe represented Japan and gave a remarkable performance. Gerry Mulligan and Bill Evans came over from the United States.

1971: The 5th Festival was held from June 12 to 20. Over 300 musicians played, including Gary Burton, King Curtis (murdered two months later), Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin

1972: The Festival was held from June 16 to 29 at the Montreux Pavilion, as the Casino burned down in December 1971. The programme featured blues, gospel and soul with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Ray Bryant, Stan Getz, Jean-Luc Ponty and Les McCann.

1973: For the first time, the Newport and Montreux festivals were held simultaneously. The concerts took place at the Convention Centre. The “Kings” played (Freddie, Albert and Carole), in addition to Miles Davis, Teddy Wilson, Stéphane Grappelli, Canonball and Nat Adderley.

1974: The programme diversified. Africa was represented by Randy Weston and Brazil by Airto Moreira and Milton Nascimento. Other headlining acts were Earl Hines, Helen Humes, Jay McShann, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Sonny Rollins, Bill Wyman, Van Morrison, Larry Coryell, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Cecil Taylor.

1975: Fifteen days of music at the brand new Casino, with Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Charlie Mingus, Archie Shepp, Roland Kirk and Bill Evans.

1976: To date, over 100 albums recorded at the Festival had been released. Mountain Studios, permanently installed in the new Casino, offered 24-track recording facilities to the groups and attracted many bands, including the Rolling Stones, who recorded “Black and Blue” there.

1977: Europe’s biggest festival lasted even longer (23 days) and offered free jazz, Brazilian, South African and Indian music, jazz, rock and disco. The concerts of Don Ellis and his Big Band, Don Cherry, Etta James, Shakti, Don Pullen and the jam session conducted by Count Basie were enthusiastically applauded. Not to mention performances by Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson.

1978: A joint venture with the Sao Paulo Festival brought a Brazilian atmosphere to Montreux. Artists included Gilberto Gil, Airto Moreira, Ray Charles, Mary Lou Williams, Stan Getz, Miriam Makeba, Bill Evans and Kenny Burrell, John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham. Stan Getz's musicians gave an impromptu concert on the Casino terrace.

1979: For the first time, a whole night was devoted to reggae but the programme also included Brazilian, Japanese, country and rock music. Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock played as a duo. Hermeto Pascoal, Sir Charles Thompson, B.B. King and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown were present too.

1980: Montreux joined forces with the Detroit Jazz Festival and the programme included Elvis Costello, Jimmy Cliff, Marvin Gaye, Santana, Didier Lockwood, Toots Thielemans, Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach. A “drum summit” brought together Art Blakey, Amano-Kai, Gerry Brown, Billy Higgins and Chico Hamilton.

1981: The 15th Festival - 17 days - offered blues (Albert Collins, Taj Mahal, Magic Slim), pop and rock (The Blues Band, Mike Oldfield), reggae, soul (James Brown), gospel (The Staple Singers) and jazz (Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, McCoy Tyner, Chico Freeman, Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander and The Heath Brothers Band). The number of visitors exceeded 75,000.

1982: With a programme featuring Charles Lloyd, the Steve Miller Band, Mink De Ville Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Cliff and Jackson Browne, the Festival lived up to its reputation for eclecticism.

1983: Jazz and blues: George Benson, Art Blakey, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Freddie Hubbard, Gil Evans, James Blood Ulmer, Joanne Brackeen and Lew Tabackin. Keith Haring designed the poster for this 17th edition.

1984: Miles Davis gave the best concert of his summer tour, Stanley Jordan and Sade were among the Festival's revelations.

1985: Attendance records were broken. Artists included Leonard Cohen, Nina Hagen, Kid Creole and The Coconuts, Keith Jarrett, Astor Piazzola, Miles Davis, Johnny Otis, Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

1986: Keith Haring and Andy Warhol designed the poster for the 20th anniversary. All the concerts were sold out before the Festival due to an exceptional programme bringing together The Neville Brothers, Eric Clapton and Friends (with Phil Collins), Sade, David Sanborn, Michel Petrucciani, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and George Duke.

1987: Rock (Los Lobos, The Pretenders, Joe Cocker, Johnny Clegg) and jazz (Modern Jazz Quartet, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Stan Getz, Michael Brecker, John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, Monty Alexander) but also Paolo Conte, Tania Maria, Manhattan Transfer, B.B. King, Ben E. King, Hugh Masekela, Stanley Jordan and an outstanding performance by Dexter Gordon.

1988: Courtney Pine came to Montreux for the first time and Charles Lloyd returned 21 years after his first concert at the Festival. With artists as different as Steve Gadd, Gerry Mulligan, Bobby McFerrin, Johnny Halliday, George Benson, Miles Davis, Tracy Chapman, James Taylor and Wayne Shorter: Montreux really was opening its doors to music in general.

1989: More eclecticism: Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, The Ramsey Lewis Quartet, Etta James, B.B. King, Bireli Lagrene, Al Di Meola, Larry Coryell, Carmen McRae, Spyro Gyra, Lou Rawls, Miles Davis and Elvis Costello.

1990: The Festival welcomed back Miles Davis, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, John Lee Hooker, The Neville Brothers, George Benson, Michel Petrucciani, David Sanborn, Etta James, B.B. King, Al Jarreau, Van Morrison and Dizzy Gillespie with the United Nation Orchestra.

1991: The 25th anniversary was co-produced by Quincy Jones. It began with Sting’s acoustic concert and continued with Bootsy Collins, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Milton Nascimento, Rachelle Ferrelle, The Atlanta Superchoir, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Champion Jack Dupree, Allen Toussaint, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and many others. The highlight was, without a doubt, Miles Davis' concert with the Gil Evans Orchestra and the George Gruntz Concert Band, directed by Quincy Jones.

1992: A second co-production with Quincy Jones and another dazzling array of stars: Emmylou Harris, The Kronos Quartet, Tori Amos, Randy Crawford, Eric Clapton, Simply Red, Tracy Chapman, The Blues Brothers, Annie Lennox, Joe Cocker and a gospel night with The Atlanta Superchoir, Andrae and Sandra Crouch and Tramaine Hawkins.

1993: Still with Quincy Jones, the Festival moved from the Casino to the Convention Centre with its two halls: the brand new Auditorium Stravinski played host to Robert Plant, Gilberto Gil, Santana, Al Jarreau, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Al Green, Chaka Khan, Fats Domino, Dr. John, Etta James, James Brown and many, many others. The “small” hall - The New Q’s - opened its doors to Joe Henderson, Abdullah Ibrahim, Zap Mama, Michel Petrucciani, John Scofield, Incognito, Digable Planets and the Gangstarr Quartet.

1994: The second Festival at the Convention Centre drew around 68,000 spectators - a new record! A hot summer and an extraordinary programme attracted over 120,000 festival-goers, including spectators of the Festival Off concerts. The prestigious Verve label organised its official 50th anniversary celebration in which all the living jazz legends participated. The traditional weekend dedicated to Brazilian music saw the addition of a "Bahia Boat", offering a riotous cruise across Lake Geneva. The stars of this 28th Festival were Bob Dylan, Natalie Cole, the Stanley Clarke Trio, Jean-Luc Ponty and Al Di Meola, Johnny Cash, Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock, Betty Carter, Michel Petrucciani, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Marcus Miller, Van Morrison, Keziah Jones, Miguel Bosé and Angélique Kidjo

1995: Lower priced entrance tickets resulted in record attendance: 78,000 tickets sold and nearly 150,000 festival-goers in all! The reorganised workshops attracted more and more people. Highlights of the programme included some wonderful African Nights (Baba Maal, Salif Keita, Cheb Mami, Youssou N’Dour, Malcolm Braff & Farafina) and great moments of emotion and whackiness with the concerts of George Clinton, Olodum, James Taylor Quartet, Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Marianne Faithfull, Ice T, Morphine, Jamiroquai, James Brown, Chaka Khan, B.B. King, Lucky Peterson, Randy Weston, Dr. John, Wild Magnolias, Jacky Terrasson, All 4 One, Manhattan Transfer, James Carter and Joan Armatrading, among others.

1996: The Festival’s 30th anniversary. From Vevey to Villeneuve the Swiss Riviera experienced 16 days of blues, samba and rock. Deep Purple came back to Montreux 25 years after writing ”Smoke on the Water” there. Also present were Stephan Eicher, Phil Collins, Quincy Jones (who conducted the WDR Big Band) and the mythical Brazilian singer Maria Bethânia. Apart from the three guitar heroes - Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin - performers included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, ZZ Top, Simply Red, Zucchero, Al Jarreau, and Cassandra Wilson.

1997: This edition was marked by an assembly of five legends for the opening concert: Marcus Miller, Eric Clapton, Steve Gadd, Joe Sample and David Sanborn. The programme also featured Carlinhos Brown, Roy Hargrove, Earth Wind and Fire, Charles Aznavour and his eight solo guests, the magical encounter of Gotthard and Montserrat Caballé, Goran Bregovic and the discovery of the pianist Brad Mehldau at the Montreux Palace’s Petit Théâtre in the context of “Montreux Acoustic”.

1998: Musical highlights included Bob Dylan’s excellent opening concert, Marisa Monte, Gilberto Gil, Antulio Madureira, Banda Eva, Buddy Guy and B.B. King, a Herbie Hancock and The Headhunters reunion, Carlos Santana’s marathon concert (over three hours long), Björk, a concert for children (a first) with Henri Dès, Joaquín Cortés, Phil Collins and his Big Band, Cassandra Wilson, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Michel Petrucciani, Bootsy Collins, Earth Wind and Fire, Candy Dulfer and Jorge Ben Jor. The Miles Davis Hall hosted many evenings featuring new musical trends: techno, electro rock, drum’n’bass, hip hop and acid jazz. Festival-goers applauded Pierre Henry, the virtual whackiness of Jaron Lanier and the world music performed on the “Detour” night. There were also some big names at the Festival’s “little” venue: Les McCann, Billy Cobham, George Duke and the Corrs.

1999: Attendance records were broken once again: over 16 days, more than 220,000 festival-goers enjoyed music on the two main stages, at the Festival Off, in the Montreux Jazz Café, aboard three musical boats and at acoustic concerts and workshops. Auditorium Stravinski high points included the performances of saxophonist Charles Lloyd, Rachelle Ferrell, a tribute to bluesman Jimmy Rogers, who had recently passed away, R.E.M., B.B. King, Pat Metheny, David Sanborn, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, James Taylor, Noa and Alanis Morissette. In addition to presenting new trends, the Miles Davis Hall stepped up its exploration of world music: reggae, Celtic, African, Greek, Lapp; Indian, Northern African and Turkish music were all performed in addition to jazz. This was also the year of the first jazz piano solo competition.

2000: The Festival maintained and developed a host of events and activities: the Montreux Jazz Café, Festival Off, four cruises, musical trains, workshops, acoustic concerts, jazz piano solo competitions, a Swiss jazz musician competition and the extension of lakeside activities into the town centre. On the main stages, new highlights were added to the Festival’s collective memory: Huey Lewis & The News, the new great soul vocalists (Macy Gray, Angie Stone), a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg, B.B. King, Suzanne Vega, D’Angelo, Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette Trio, George Benson and Diana Krall’s encounter, Lionel Richie, Brad Mehldau and Deep Purple. The Miles Davis Hall offered a musical journey around the planet: reggae, fado, flamenco, latino, hip hop jazz in all its forms, rock, drum’n’bass, funk and the vast universe of electronic music, with acts such as St Germain, Ryuichi, Sakamoto, Courtney Pine, Mos Def, Everything But The Girl, Keziah Jones, Nils Petter Molvær, Les Négresses Vertes and Gilles Peterson.

2001: The Festival celebrated its 35th anniversary! The poster was designed by the up-and-coming Bernese artist Mathias Winkler. The programme lived up to everybody’s expectations: Basement Jaxx, Fontella Bass, Beck, Calexico, George Clinton, David Gray, Alanis Morrissette, Tricky... The Festival returned to the Montreux Casino for four nights, thereby inaugurating a third stage with an admission fee. Performers included Jimmy Scott, the Jazz Expressions, Randy Weston and the Joshua Redman Quartet. The popular workshops continued to attract music-lovers (with, among others, Saul Williams, B.B. King, Jorge Ben Jor, Bobby McFerrin and Patti Smith), along with master classes intended for experienced musicians. A new stage, "Scène Bleue" was devoted to under 18s and later became the Young Planet.

2002: The 36th Montreux Jazz Festival included many new features: the Montreux Jazz Club offered Auditorium Stravinski ticket-holders acoustic concerts and jam sessions. Several artists from the Auditorium and the Casino made appearances (Mohair, Erykah Badu's musicians, Joe Sample). The International Sax Competition was created. A boxed set bringing together all of Miles Davis’ Montreux concerts was released. In terms of the programme, 2002 was the year of David Bowie. Other headliners included Paul Simon, Keith Jarrett and his trio, Jamiroquai, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Cocker, Isaac Hayes, Garbage and Marianne Faithfull. The Miles Davis Hall offered an eclectic and innovative programme with Michael Franti, Slayer, Muse, Gemma Hayes, Cake, Soul Designer, Air…

2003: The Auditorium Stravinski hosted a multitude of memorable performances: Morcheeba, George Benson, Bonnie Raitt, Tom McRae, Craig David, Chico César, Herbert Grönemeyer, Joao Gilberto, Lisa Stansfield, ZZ Top, Krokus, Jethro Tull, Yes, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Natalie Cole, Noa, The Crusaders, Randy Crawford, Van Morrisson, The Pretenders, Simply Red and Jamiroquai. That year's highlight was, without a doubt, Radiohead. The Miles Davis Hall provided another audacious programme, with Cypress Hill, The Rapture, The Streets, Appliance, Echoboy, Goldfrapp, Laurent Garnier & Bugge Wesseltoft, David Holmes Free Association, Jaga Jazzist, Jimi Tenor, Nada Surf, Stereophonics, Tricky, Flaming Lips, Susheela Raman, Mercan Dede, the Orchestre National de Barbès, King Crimson, Joe Jackson Band, Roy Ayers, Dwele, The Roots, Ellen Allien, Richie Hawtin, 2 Many DJ’s and many others. The new hall at the Casino Barrière opened its doors for seven exceptional evenings, with Michel Jonasz, Tony Benett, Charles Lloyd, John Abercrombie, Pierre Audétat, Jean-François Bovard, Soweto Kinch, Cassandra Wilson, Richard Galliano and Biréli Lagrène, to name but a few. The Montreux Jazz Club offered memorable jam sessions, with, for example, the unexpected appearance of Keziah Jones. A new voice competition was launched, attracting many spectators.

2004: The Auditorium Stravinski played host to Alicia Keys, KoRn, The Corrs, Sean Paul, Dido, Seal, BB King, Dr John, Solomon Burke, Van Morrison, Patti LaBelle, Jorge Ben Jor, Buddy Guy, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick and Chic. Carlos Santana presented an exceptional project entitled "Hymns for Peace". The Miles Davis Hall saw performances by PJ Harvey, Black Rebel Motor Cycle, Archive, Gentleman, Yami Bolo, Avril, Blonde Redhead, Black Eyed Peas, Roots, George Clinton, Manuva, Ty, Tha Alkaholiks, Mark Ronson, Joss Stone, Tony Allen, Scissor Sisters, Michael Franti, Doctor L. Amp Fiddler, Suzanne Vega, Kings of Convenience and many others. Jazz featured prominently at the Casino Barrière, in a new, more intimate hall. Artists included Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Cornelle Dupree, Les McCann, Bobby McFerrin and James Taylor. For the first time, the competitions awarded prizes to the best guitarists. The Montreux Under The Sky (the new concept of the Festival Off) won over a great many spectators despite the bad weather.

2005: The 39th Festival is taking place from July 1-16 and promises to live up to its reputation. The complete programme can be found on the Festival website.

You can obtain reproductions of most of the posters presented in this exhibition at the Chillon Castle kiosk, at the Festival shop in Territet, as well as on the Festival website, where you can also discover the 2005 program.

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