LAUSANNE: Elton John is the big draw at this summer’s Montreux Jazz Festival, part of an eclectic line-up packed with big names that also features Sting, Janet Jackson, Chick Corea and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.
Sting, the former The Police singer, will open the 53rd edition of one of Europe’s most celebrated summer music festivals on June 28, while veteran producer Quincy Jones will host the closing concert – an orchestral soundtrack of his 80s hits – on July 13.
In between, Sir Elton, Anita Baker and Joan Baez will appear as part of their respective farewell tours.
The English singer-songwriter was initially booked for two nights, but those appearances have been merged into single show for 15,000 fans on June 29 at Saussaz stadium, a new venue for Montreux.
It will be the first ever open-air performance at the festival, better known for the intimacy and superb sound quality of its concert hall settings.
Janet Jackson, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month, will perform days after the 10th anniversary of her brother Michael’s death from an overdose of an anesthetic he used as a sleep agent.
For jazz purists, multiple Grammy winner Corea brings a flamenco flavour with his Spanish Heart Band, while New Orleans trumpeters Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Terence Blanchard will open for drummer Billy Cobham, celebrating his 75th birthday.
“When you see the strong personalities booked at (the main) Stravinski Auditorium, maybe that is the guiding principle of this year … – all artists who marked a moment in music,” festival director Mathieu Jaton told Reuters.
“There is an equilibrium between legends, returning acts, (and) the young stars.”
The latter include Canadian Jessie Reyez and US rapper Lizzo, in the charts with her third single “Juice” and opening for actress and singer Janelle Monae – returning after a Grammy album of the year nomination for “Dirty Computer”.
Melody Gardot is making her first appearance in the cabaret 600-seat Club. “Shotgun” singer George Ezra, who won the British Male Solo Artist at the BRIT Awards in February, moves to the main stage.
Lauryn Hill is expected to revisit Nina Simone classics and her own R&B hits.