JAZZ IN MARCIAC

40th FESTIVAL

40 summers young this summer

What are forty birthday candles compared with the fireworks that light up Marciac every summer? If you drew the equation with the true length of the festival over four decades of thrills, then you would have 600 nights at the least, plus as many days of jubilation and, for good measure, almost 6,000 raised curtains, enough to wear out more than one national theatre… By way of a ruby anniversary marking its fidelity to a genre in music that recognizes how much it owes to the Gers village, Jazz in Marciac is rewriting its pastoral symphony in rhythm this year. Everyone — Mayor, godfathers, maids of honour, best men, bridesmaids and witnesses — will be raining confetti over the finest parade ever held.  First in line, in terms of protocol, are those that we listen to come rain or come shine: Norah Jones, the priestess with the voice of a healer, returns to jazz; George Benson is synonymous with scat and guitar in unison; Herbie Hancock is a keyboard geek and the vehicle for 60 years of jazz, all trends combined… In the seats reserved for the faithful we have: Roy Hargrove, the worthy narrator of forms inherited from bebop; Stanley Clarke, at the summit of his virtuoso double bass (and his brazen slap electric instrument); Biréli Lagrène, the expert climber roping down from every peak of inspiration that takes his fancy… And Joshua Redman, whose civilized manners hide a sense of freedom and purpose that his father would certainly have endorsed. And then we naturally come to our close family, gathered together under the protective wings of Wynton Marsalis, every one of whose contributions to Marciac has been duly notarized as authentic. The Latin cousins are coming too, bringing their dances and that Afro-Cuban legitimacy without which the festival would have to relinquish its exotic, heterogeneous and xenophile share in culture: Chucho Valdès and Roberto Fonseca feel at home there. Turbulent youngsters rightfully have their seats too: Emile Parisien (who has improvised a second birthplace for himself right here in Marciac on the benches of a school); Vincent Peirani, an accordionist whose intriguing ubiquity speaks volumes for him; Electro Deluxe and Panam Panic, retro and modern at the same time, they are seekers and finders of groove. Finally, all anniversaries have surprises: what statements are the Labèque Sisters going to make from behind a piano peppered with Basque percussion? Or Henri Texier, a totem of the double bass, lyrical and libertarian, giving Manu Katché the keys of the metronome? Today more than ever, the festival has taken up its summer quarters in every corner of the village: in Town Hall square to set the jazz tempo for the day; at the Astrada, the cosy concourse where established artists (and promises already kept) will be showing the most intimate aspects of their talents. And here and there, in the back of a bar, jazz will be spreading its ephemeral eternity. Forty candles. And the flame is still there. Forty young summers making this particular summer worth the wait for everyone… 

28 July to 15 August 2017

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