Montreux Academy 2

From October 5th to 11th for the second time the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation, under the leadership of artistic director Stephanie-Aloysia Moretti, organised a week of education for young jazz musicians, who were part of their annual competitions – all in all 10 musicians from the finals of the vocal, guitar and piano competitions gathered in Montreux for an intensive residential arts program.

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As the program of the event states: THE ACADEMY IS AT ONCE A PUBLIC AND A PRIVATE EVENT, AND HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE ENCOUNTERS, DISCOVERIES, AND THE TRANSMISSION OF KNOWLEDGE. THE ACADEMY PROVIDES NURTURE AND SUPPORT FOR A NEW GENERATION OF ARTISTS AT A KEY MOMENT IN THEIR MUSICAL CAREERS.

The Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation (MJAF) is committed to stimulating exchanges between generations and cultures, and seized on the challenges confronting young musicians as an area in which it could contribute to its core mission of nurturing the artists of tomorrow as they launch their careers. The participants are already virtuoso performers. However, the Academy will help them find their way in the vast world of music without losing their heads – or their souls – by providing them with a new set of tools as well as unique opportunities for exchanges, performances, and new perspectives. Their program: IMMERSION, MENTORING, AND THE CREATION OF TWO EXCEPTIONAL CONCERTS ALONGSIDE THEIR MENTORS, ALL OF WHOM ARE ESTABLISHED JAZZ ARTISTS. DEVELOPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL CAREER-ENHANCING SKILLS THROUGH WORKSHOPS FROM ACTORS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS. NIGHTLY THEMATIC JAM SESSIONS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

The Academy is first and foremost an intimate musical experience, both between the artists and as regards the public. For that reason, the MJAF has made it possible for the public to dive deeper into this environment where so much creativity is unleashed. The Academy is proud to offer free events that are open to the public: WORKSHOPS EACH EVENING AND JAM SESSIONS AT FUNKY CLAUDE’S BAR IN MONTREUX

This year’s participants were:

Guitar

Hector Quintana Ferreiro – Cuba    /     Pedro Martins   – Brazil    /   Sebastian Böhlen – Germany

Vocals

Alina Engibaryan – Russia   /   Yumi Ito – Japan/Poland/Switzerland   /   Vuyo Sotashe – South Africa   /   Amiyna Farouque – Sri Lanka

Piano

A Bu – China   /   Yakir Arbib – Israel   /   Krisztian Olah – Hungary

I went to see them on Saturday night performing at the Session in Funky Claude’s Bar and was positively surprised by the quality of what I heard – even so one has to have in mind that the music they performed was not what they might usually do, one could hear the individuality and quality of what they were doing – all three guitar players with great sound and technique, good expression and especially Sebastian with some surprising soli, full of unexpected twists and turns, while at the same time staying with the song. Same for the pianists – all three very good and interesting, but the show when I was there was stolen by a ten minute solo performance from Yakir Arbib – powerful and energetic and full of references and musical statements …. for once the noisy audience stopped talking and listened. The vocalists are more difficult to judge – great control from all of them and they performed the standards on display very well – Alina and Vuyo doing most of the work that night, Yumi sounded great to and so did Amiya when she did a very personal take on Feeling Good – I wonder what they sound like when they do their own material?

Their musical mentors during this week were Yaron Herman, Al Jarreau, Ziv Ravitz, Joe Sanders, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Nils Petter Molvaer. And beside the workshops and the jam sessions (and the final concert) they had lectures concerning matters such as Social Media Today, Composing and Arranging for Films, International Tax Aspects of Music, Branding Yourself and Understand the Music Business, in which I shared the panel with friends from festivals around Europe and TSF radio in Paris. A great panel and discussion which we ended talking through lunch in the garden of the villa where the musicians stayed for the week.

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A great event and I am sure of high value for the musicians who had been invited to participate.

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