July 18th > August 4th


of Jazz in Marciac


Marciac 2016 : Fleeting Phenomenon

Many will drive through the village of Marciac in winter oblivious. Unaware of the preparations underway in this little corner of southwest France: arrangements being made in more ways than one for an ephemeral yet all-encompassing aestival event. A fleeting phenomenon—now firmly ensconced in the annual L’Astrada programme—whose name makes clear the adoption of a musical genre: “Jazz in Marciac”.

The decision to embrace jazz defines Marciac in the existential sense evoked by Sartre. The village is happy to lead its double life. It has made its choice freely: Marciac has chosen jazz. Or perhaps it is the opposite. A single word is perhaps too simplistic to convey the reality of such a multifaceted phenomenon: the jazz in this 39th edition consecrates, anoints, explores. The marquee, large enough to pack in 6,000 of the faithful, will take on all the trappings of a temple this summer. Pianist Ahmad Jamal will give his only concert of the year under the big top, replete with vertiginous vamps and spaces suggestive of what is to come. This will be an event to remember. There will be the irrefutable voices, the ones that never disappoint. Dianne Reeves, diamantine and deep-rooted. Jamie Cullum, potent punch of jazz and pop. Hugh Coltman, able 21st century advocate for Nat King Cole. There will be Latin flavour—a fixture on the Marciac menu—in which the clave ingredients are sprinkled in an array of delicate combinations by artists such as David Sanchez, Michel Camilo, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Roberto Fonseca. Lips and fingers of gold. Yet jazz wouldn’t be jazz without those artful amalgams. What sort of concoction should we expect from Yaron Herman and M? And what about the sharp, potent sax of Stefano Di Battista buoyed by Kyle Eastwood’s rhythmic bass? Not to mention a sprinkling of stardust from recent Grammy winners guitarist John Scofield with non conformist collective Snarky Puppy. There will be another chance to catch up with John McLaughlin, a man synonymous with spiritual fusion, Lucky Peterson, back at the Hammond organ to pay tribute to Jimmy Smith, and Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker, the essence of funk and soul, both of whom first honed their talents to public plaudits alongside the late James Brown. Last but never least, there is that sense of eternal return from a man who is now a fixture and favourite in Marciac, mottled trumpet in hand, imbued with all the timeless sophistication of a gatekeeper to history that claims his share of the present: Wynton Marsalis. A man we can always count on to bring something special to the festival.

© Arkade, Marciac.

© Arkade, Marciac.