Montreux Jazz Festival 2022 – VIVA GLAM MAGAZINE™

By Sandrine Pellassy

After a long break of 18 months due to the pandemic, the mythical Montreux Jazz Festival is back in force in 2022 with 250,000 people present at the 56e edition of the event. The magic began again at the Stravinsky Auditorium where an incredible line-up of 2022 icons drew a full audience. This year’s festival took place during the first two weeks of July with various genres including pure rock, Rhythm & Blues and alternative rock. As a photographer, it was an unforgettable experience, creating unique opportunities to share stunning photography inspired by great performances, interactions with top musicians from around the world, and dazzling after-parties in beautiful surroundings. Audiences of over a quarter of a million were enthused upon hearing the music and witnessing the creation first conceived in 1967 by a genius, Claude Nobs. Current CEO Mathieu Jaton could be seen enjoying the all-night vibe after parties centered around jam sessions at the Belvédère bar. There was magic in the air and I felt it everywhere, from the Lab to the main stage of the Stravinsky Auditorium, where a unique intimate atmosphere was created due to the proximity of the audience to the stage. In this context, I was overwhelmed by the presence of the most emblematic artists of a line-up of 100 artists. I am going to relive with you some highlights of the festival which left us with good memories of a Montreux Jazz Festival which is coming back better than ever.

It all started on July 2n/a with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It was a “full” show full of energy, and the dark and cold mood typical of Nick Cave’s style captivated the audience. Playing tracks like “Red Right Hand” or “Oh Children”, legendary rock icon Nick Cave has proven himself to be one of Stravinsky’s finest performers. Nick was playing at his best with the Bad Seeds, displaying great authenticity as they played old and new tracks from his recent album “Seven Spams”.

Dressed in his retro stripes, Nick Cave has never let his audience down or changed his style, as the black poet maintains a strong bond with his audience by connecting with hands and heart at all times. Cave is a perfectionist as a performer, writer and composer, conveying a mix of emotions of rage, pity, love, death and sex, with his poetry. The Aussie electrifies crowds, and is a master performer on stage as well as a guru, connecting to poetry, ballads, intense 90s rock, and staying the same as he did at his first “Birthday Party” gig. . Cave will always have an internal “rocking Gothic Poet” charisma.

Bjork gave us a powerful, new and dramatic stage number. Her unique voice with the classical orchestra of Lausanne brought us a new perspective and a real classical experience with this singer. Everyone had to get used to the classic version of Bork with his beautiful magical voice and his classic orchestra, which was very different from the original Bjork we loved so much in the 90s.

John Legend and Gregory Porter were both a moving and incredible presence on stage, making the festival a bit more jazzy with some cool Latin American tunes.

French legend Jacques Dutronc and his son Thomas Dutronc were the perfect match on stage. Starting off the show, the iconic Jacques Dutronc performed better than ever with his set of 60s tunes, sounding vibrant and sensational. Although very different, Jacques and his son had a great mix of songs, culminating in an impressive performance.

Maneskin turned out to be the latest hottest rock band to come straight from Rome, which captured the hearts of the US and UK, as well as Eurovision 2016. Since then, the songwriter Damiano David has managed to mesmerize the Montreux Jazz Festival with an Iggy Pop likes cover as well as a set of their own planet-rocking Italian rock tracks. They are currently touring all over the world and commanding a lot of respect on the American and British rock scene. I had the opportunity to speak with them before the show, and listening to them, I was amazed by their thirst for life and music, their love of being on the road and sharing the same passion, and their excitement to show the world their Italian blend. of tracks, displaying great energy on stage and providing an outlet for a new generation of Rock`n Roll. They totally connected with the Montreux audience, and the whole crowd sang along when they performed “Supermodel” and “I Wanna Be Our Slave.” The Italian Pop Rock band is electrifying and together with bassist Victoria de Angelis brings extra energy to the four members who have captured the hearts of Pop and Rock`n Roll fans around the world. Maneskin is a leading force without a doubt.

The Montreux Jazz Festival would not have been the same without Led Zeppelin’s iconic Robert Plant. Plant returned with a set of inspired “root” songs, including a 1950s Doo wop sound. The duo Plant and Alisson Krauss sang a decade of Led Zeppelin covers and a dozen other songs. With his diabolical Rock’n Roll mysticism, Plant changed both culturally and spiritually with Alisson Krauss on fiddle and vocals, the two winning platinum album of the year 2008. created by the new duo was incredible to experience, as they combined tracks from the 2008 album “Raising Sand.” They displayed perfect harmony playing Blue Grass-style tracks such as “Where the Lonely Go” or “Somebody Was Watching Over Me” as part of Alisson’s 12-cover collection. Krauss on vocals and Plant form the perfect classic rock’n roll duo as they perform with a band reminiscent of the 50s with riffs of guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin, mesmerizing the Montreux Jazz Festival audience . Led Zeppelin factory performance the tracks are more powerful than ever; while as a magnetic duo, Plant and Krauss, with their limitless range of voices, are deeply influenced by Southern Blues and Folk music. These themes are captured in the re-emerging plant’s songbook, giving us rare glimpses of the past.

Thom York brought his new band, The Smile, to the Lab, creating a dark, atmospheric underground gig with some very unique vocals. Bassist York, as always, managed to control his audience with hypnotic tunes.

Diana Ross, known for her Pop songs since the 60s, was the Diva of the Montreux Jazz Festival. His disco sound made the perfect comeback after four decades of pure soul and funky melodies. She still has her winning smile, her freshness and her voice, as well as the disco queen style.

At the end of the two weeks, rock legend Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp as a duo put on the ultimate cool, old school rock performance. Depp created a revival of the dark rock style of the 80s, playing repertoire ranging from four of Hendrix’s covers to The Velvet Underground’s “Shiny Leather”. Depp showed the public in Montreux his darker side and his passion for performing live with great guitar riffs.

Van Morrison entertained with his classic tunes such as “Gloria”, with the whole audience singing along, and his old blues and jazz tunes. As always, Morrison kept it cool and classic. The closing concert with Herbie Hancock performing a very cool classic psychedelic jazz, followed by Jamie Cullum, was the perfect way to end the Montreux Jazz Festival.

After the jam session, we all went to Stravinsky’s Belvédère bar where we mingled with artists and DJs from all over the world who had participated in the Montreux Jazz Festival 2022. An unforgettable experience.

The good memories of the Festival will always remain with us. Since 1967, this legendary event has brought people together to experience live performances from icons.

The tradition continues stronger than ever, as the show goes on with CEO Mathieu Jaton and his team providing a great forum for true music lovers. Exceptional performances and jam sessions in a unique setting have made the Montreux Jazz Festival a memorable place.

Willie J. Johnson