Montreux Jazz Academy 2017 +

The third Montreux Academy started last Friday in Lausanne, this year HEMU, the jazz school there, stepping in as the host of the week-long event. 10 young musicians participated this year – the 3 finalists from the Montreux piano, guitar and vocal competitions and one musician picked by the HEMU to represent them in the mix.


Guitar: from the UK Rob Luft and from Finland, but living in New York, Olli Hirvonen

Piano: Estaban Castro, from New York, is with 14 years the youngest Academy invitee so far; Guy MIntus, Israel-born but living as well in NYC now and Casimir Liberski from Belgium.

Vocals: Arta Jekabsone, Latvian who studied in New York; Cristina Tanase, Rumanian who studied law first before focusing on her singing career; Fabio Giacalone a global citizen being an Italian born in Brazil, who studies as well in NYC; German Erik Leuthäuser, the vocalise expert and Belgian Imelda Gabs, who was chosen by her university to participate in the Academy.

20170303_212228Fabio & Imelda

The event started with a lecture on film and TV music by John Altman – very interesting and captivating. After that it was all about setting up the jam session for after dinner and that where the musicians showcased their abilities and talent. Guy Mintus was selected to run the show and he did a great job to keep the music flowing, adding some really good moments on piano to the overall great mix. From all the talent displayed, in an environment that is not musically what they usually do on their own, Guy, Rob and the vocalists stood out, especially Imelda and Erik, who closed the session with a beautiful Body & Soul, just with Rob on guitar and a little help from Guy at the end.

20170303_233429 Erik & Rob

The following day I had with my colleagues to lecture these 10 young artists about the music business – in 4 hours we tried to cover all aspects of our industry, including rights issues, working with promoters, agents and clubs well as what to expect from labels. These young musicians were extremely well prepared and had great questions and I simply hope we could give them something on top for their future careers. It has been, as always, a pleasure and honour for me to be there.

20170303_215141  Guy

Over the coming days these young artists will have more lectures and do more session, as well as working with some great mentors on their musical development – they will be mentored by Trilok Gurtu, Yaron Herman, Elina Duni, Marcus Miller, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ziv Ravitz.


This year, as young as it is, already took from us a few people we will surely miss in the music world: Al Jarreau was not only one of the most amazing singers of our generation, but as well  one of the warmest human beings I ever encountered – he could lit up a room with his smile, brought good feelings to people and always had a good word for the ones around him. I worked with him on the GRP/Verve recordings he did around 2000 and met him several times then while either doing promo in Europe or when on tour. Unforgettable!

Larry Coryell and his band Eleventh House were an important part in my jazz education … a true master of his instrument and a visionary player.

I heard the drummer of Eleventh House, Alphone Mouzon, on the amazing live recording with Albert Mangelsdorff and Jaco Pastorius and from then on many times with various jazz greats in concert.

Violinist  Svend Asmussen I knew of, because my father liked him and I had a chance to see him in Denmark once as a special guest with Herbie Hancock. Being born in 1916, he was an early and important part of the 100 year jazz history.

Michael Naura was not only one of Germany’s leading pianists, but as well an educator, running a jazz series on radio for many years. His brilliance and wit and competent programs will be missed. May they all Rest In Peace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s