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    Best jazz festivals in the world

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    Marta Antelo
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    If jazz music is one of your passions, you won't want to miss the opportunity to listen to it live. For this, from TopFestivals we bring you a selection of the best jazz festivals in the world. You won't want to miss this list.


    Top jazz music festivals in the world

    Despite being born in the mid-19th century, the jazz genre is still going strong. Trombones and saxophones continue to play despite having been mixed with other styles over the years. In this way variants have been created that have preserved and renewed jazz music.

    All fans of this genre know that, for maximum enjoyment, there is nothing like attending concerts. The best thing about jazz music is being able to share it with all the other attendees while the music envelops you live.

    Nowadays, there are a large number of jazz festivals. Many cities host days dedicated to the genre, which help to preserve and position it. Here are six of the best music festivals in the world.


    The best jazz festivals in the world are:

    • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
    • Montreál International Jazz Festival
    • Copenhagen Jazz Festival
    • Montreux Jazz Festival
    • Nice Jazz Festival

    New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

    It goes without saying that one of the best jazz festivals in the world is held in New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana. The cradle of the genre is, without a doubt, the ideal location to host this festival.

    It was born in 1970 and the main sponsor is Shell Oil Company. Initially it was created with the intention of raising money to later distribute it in the area. The goal was to preserve and promote the heritage, music and culture of Louisiana.

    Each year it has a large number of different stages. The artists invited to this festival are distributed according to the subgenre of jazz they are dedicated to. Thus, attendees can approach the stage they like the most or vary between a few.


    The festival welcomes a large number of artists edition after edition. In addition, many of the names are encouraged to repeat annually. Among them we find DR. John, Ellis Marsalis, the Neville Brothers or The Radiators.

    Artists from other genres have also participated, performing iconic jazz songs, such as Bruce Springsteen.


    Montréal International Jazz Festival

    This festival, held in Canada, is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest jazz festival in the world. Each year it welcomes a whopping two million visitors, who find themselves in front of one of the greatest jazz tributes of the moment.

    Each year, the festival features more than 3,000 artists. They are spread over 20 different stages, some of them indoors and others outdoors. For this, traffic is cut off in most areas of the city center. In this way, attendees can move freely through the spaces set up to host the festival.


    The Montreal International Jazz Festival had its first edition in 1980. Such was the success of this first edition that it has been growing year after year, to become the massive event it is today.

    Within the festival program, a competition is also organized. This brings together Canadian jazz groups that perform original songs. The competition prize is one of the most prestigious in the world of jazz.


    Copenhagen Jazz Festival

    Another of the best jazz festivals in the world is the one held in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. The first edition took place in 1979 and, since then, it has been one of the jazz festivals of reference at international level.

    In 2006, the festival hosted around 850 concerts, but in 2010 it exceeded 1000. This makes the festival one of the main musical events on the continent.

    The creation of the festival is derived from the passion for jazz in Denmark, as Copenhagen served as the cradle in Europe of the American trends of the genre. In addition, this geographical mix has benefited musicians from both locations, as they inspire each other.

    Some of the artists who have performed at this multitudinous event are Chick Corea, Blind Boys of Alabama, Lizz Wright, Simone, Sonny Rollins, Marcus Miller or Spanish Harlem Orchestra, among many others.


    Montreux Jazz Festival

    One of the best known festivals in Switzerland is the Montreux Festival, which focuses on the jazz genre. It is held in a privileged location, in front of Lake Geneva.

    This musical event was born in 1967 by the hand of Claude Nobs, with the help of workers of the Atlantic Records label. Initially, the festival was held at the Montreux Casino and featured names such as Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald.

    However, from 1970 onwards, it began to integrate other genres and sub-genres. Since then, artists and groups such as Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Carlos Santana have attended this event.

    Later on, other great performers have visited the festival. Among them Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Crossfire, Chick Corea, Rory Gallagher, Ringo Starr or Status Quo.

    The festival has its own discography. This is made up of recordings of live performances by guest artists.


    Nice Jazz Festival

    One of the most historic jazz festivals on the international scene is the Nice Jazz Festival. The first edition took place in 1948 and in it, the headliner was Louis Armstrong with his band.

    Today it is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in Europe. Great artists of the genre such as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Ray Charles or Lionel Hampton have performed on the stages of the Nice Jazz Festival.

    Edition after edition, the festival has been increasing the number of attendees. The last edition held, in 2019, had nearly 43,000 spectators.


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