July is all about Jazz in Antibes, starting with Les “Before” de Jazz-à-Juan in the beginning of the month, followed by Jazz-à-Juan taking center stage for ten days in the middle of the month, and ending with Les Nuits de Juan closing out the month of July. And that’s not to mention the parades of music in the streets throughout the month. Most notable in this category is the omnipresent Oscar Washington’s New Wave Brass Band, whose busy schedule has them marching all over the streets of Antibes and Juan-les-Pins in the warm summer sun, with their colorful parasol bobbing up and down and all around. Another important aspect of the Jazz Festival is the Festival “Off” de Jazz-à-Juan, better known as, simply, Jazz Off. These concerts are performed most evenings of the Jazz Festival under two different venues. The first, and more casual, venue is outside, under the small grove of pine trees known as the Petite Pinède, where different jazz bands perform most evenings at 6:30pm, free of charge to the jazz-loving public. The other Jazz Off concerts are performed in various hotels around town at different times in the evening, where, for a special price, you can enjoy the music along with an apéritif, or a buffet, or a full-fledged dinner.
We enjoyed three nights in front of the main stage of Jazz-à-Juan this year, starting with Tigran Hamasyan at the piano & the Jazz-à-Juan Révélations All Stars on the 14th, followed by a great night with The Ricky Ford Coltrane Project & Roy Hargrove Acoustic Quintet on the 17th, and ending with Richard Bona & Gilberto Gil on the 20th.
We also really enjoyed a couple of Jazz Off performances, including the Jef Neve Trio, who hail from Belgium, and, from our old neighborhood in California, we got to see the Stanford Jazz Orchestra, directed by the animated trumpet player, Fred Berry, and featuring another trumpet player & Californian, Jon Faddis, who has played with Charlie Mingus and the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Band.
The Stanford Jazz Orchestra featuring Jon Faddis