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Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival is back to its best rhythms

The exclusive sound was back to Monaco within one of the most anticipated festival of the Season. The only place in the Riviera where one of the dearest American musical style goes on a first-class princely stage. The Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival went back to play live from the 23rd November until the 4th December 2021 to covey unforgettable sensations in the outstanding Belle Epoque hall of Monaco Opera House by Charles Garnier.

The best performers in the finest golden light, what a combination! Since its creation by the smart idea of Jean-René Palacio, jazz music lover, in early 2000’s the Opera Garnier stage has been welcoming intriguing groove and blues melodies enhancing their tunes thanks to the perfect acoustics of the Monaco’s popular lyric temple. This memorial environment classically celebrating the greatest composers of all time, opens its arms to this revolutionary musical genre of modern times, under the High Patronage of the Sovereign Prince and the will of the well-established Société des Bains de Mer (SBM).

Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival
Jamie Cullum performing at the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival (Monaco Opera House, 24th November 2021).© Philip Ducap / Monte-Carlo SBM

The 2021 edition represented a real rebirth of the live show proposing a pageant of artists of true talent, both legends and promising performers, coming from the international panorama. HelloMonaco had the privilege to attend Jamie Cullum’s memorable concert on the 24th November 2021. Back to Monaco after his recent brilliant participation to the Monaco Red Cross summer concert (16th July 2021) on the Casino square, the award-winning British artist, offered a crackling show. His light-hearted charisma spread out from the very beginning of the show to involve the audience in an amazing line dancing for the grand finale to celebrate his newest album, Taller. His blues version of ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’, in partnership with incredible musicians and acrobatic vocalists, enchanted the many spectators as well as the acoustic version of ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ where he showed his eclecticism and ear for music. ‘Hang Your Lights’, a recent Christmas-mood project, born during 2020 pandemic lockdown and inspired by the American Song Book, was a real musical revelation.

It is a miracle to be in a room, anywhere, and play music with people… and I did not realise how much I missed it.  Being with the audience as well as playing music is like being one thing together and this is more of a gift than ever before” – pointed out Jamie Cullum within his Monaco’s concert – “I would like to express my sincere thanks to you for coming to see us tonight to celebrate my twenty-one-year singing”, he added in an ovation of applause.

Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival
David Hallyday performing at the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival (Monaco Opera House, 4th December 2021).© Maurizio Abbati HelloMonaco 2021

The festival ended with the sparkling performance of the most popular French singer and songwriter, David Hallyday, son of two legends of the pop music panorama of the Sixties, Sylvie Vartan and Johnny Hallyday. The concert held on the 4th December 2021 at Monaco Opera Garnier fascinated for the multi-instrumental sounds and special effects thanks to an innovative scenography making the large audience start a true journey into the artist’s musical repertoire and philosophy of life. Inspired by his Buddhist belief, Hallyday’s latest piece of music, ‘Imagine un monde’ (Imagine one world) is sending messages of hope without leaning on the serious environmental, social and economic problems of the present.

Accompanied by four fantastic players, Hallyday moved easily on the stage playing rock drums and melodic piano within a unique show, performed for the first time in Monaco, made of stunning images, shades of colours, powerful and expressive sounds inspired by the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, David Bowe and Elton John, all Hallyday’s inspirers. The performance of ‘Un Paradis, Un Enfer’ (A Paradise, A Hell) and ‘Ma dernière lettre’ (My last letter) was particularly moving in his strong ecological message as the interpretation of “Sang pour Sang” (Blood for Blood) dedicated to his father deceased in 2017. “Music has always been part of my life and its capacity to make people get emotional and join together is something magical”, he stated during the concert.

Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival
Steve Hackett performing at the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival (Monaco Opera House, 25th November 2021).© Philip Ducap / Monte-Carlo SBM

But each concert of the Jazz Festival was a special moment to share that transported the audience with every artist’s melody. Avishai Cohen Trio (23rd November 2021) offered the public an opening soirée full of life and good vibrations in the best tradition of this self-taught Israeli bassist and composer who had the chance to be trained by true talents like Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. His natural musical predisposition,family gift, creates interesting virtuosity in his latest album, Two Roses (2021). In the footsteps of the most impactful British rock, Steve Hackett (25th November 2021), author, composer and interpreter, leading guitarist from 1971 until 1977 of Genesis Band, presented an innovative music concert with poetic and oneiric sounds mixed up with electronic effects without forgetting the unmistakable British touch through his most recent project, Genesis Revisited.

Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival
Gregory Porter performing at the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival (Monaco Opera House, 29th November 2021).© Philip Ducap / Monte-Carlo SBM

The multi-awarded Californian talent Gregory Porter (29th November 2021) performed his sixth album, All Rise, where his warm baritone voice made the hearts raise to the highest level of jazz, soul, blues and gospel nuances. ‘Being glorified by love’, that is the true spirit of this amazing artist.

Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival
Chucho Valdés performing at the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival (Monaco Opera House, 30th November 2021).© Darrasse / Carte Blanche / Monte-Carlo SBM

Chucho Valdés and his Quartet (30th November 2021), from Cuba, gave the best of themselves led by the greatest living pianists, able to mix black and white sounds with the utmost familiarity. Bop, Pop, Mambo sounds perfectly matched with Classic and Contemporary music made the audience be part of this selfness world. Monaco Opera’s scene was the right place to discover the talent of an emerging star, Yilian Cañizares, violinist, singer and composer whose out-of-ordinary voice perfectly combines jazz, classic and Afro-Cuban sonorities. Rock sounds, strong sensations, warm atmosphere. These are the ingredients of Paul Personne’s show (3rd December 2021). Considered a master of the electric guitar and drums, the French performer is a true bluesman with a special focus on melody and the French rock style by Eddy Mitchell and Johnny Hallyday. His new album, Funambule (ou tentative de survivre en milieu hostile) [Wirewalker (or attempt to survive in a hostile environment)], embodies his essence that emerged clearly on the stage.

Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival
Paul Personne performing at the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival (Monaco Opera House, 3rd December 2021).© Darrasse / Carte Blanche / Monte-Carlo SBM

The 2021 Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival brought immense satisfaction and plenty of thrills to Monaco’s jazz amateurs providing strong emotions and excitement which proves how music can overcome the hardest moments through its vital sound. Are you ready for the 2022 edition of Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival?

To get further information about the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival please visit their website.

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