Jazz in Toulon strikes a big blow with the return of Irakere

Jazz in Toulon strikes a big blow with the return of Irakere
Jazz in Toulon strikes a big blow with the return of Irakere

A thirty-fourth edition that is playing extra time. With the arrival of the newcomer Le Son by Toulon (from July 16 to 25), the Jazz à Toulon festival will extend over two weeks instead of the usual six days (from July 12 to 26). A small exception that does not weigh down the program. On the contrary. This year, the Toulon event will make a big splash with a final evening at the Mourillon that will be a landmark event (July 26).

“The greatest Cuban jazz group” reformed in Toulon

The group Irakere, led by Chucho Valdés, will take the stage with the iconic Arturo Sandoval. A first since the band disbanded in 2005. And above all, there will only be two dates in France in this version. The one in Toulon and in Marciac. “We’ve been working on it for a long time. In 2023, we had programmed Arturo Sandoval. He loved this city of Toulon and he told me: ”I’m going to reform the group Irakere with Chucho Valdès”. It matured over time and, one day, I received a call telling me that the first date in France was for us”dissects Robert Albergucci, head of Toulon Métropole events and congresses, in charge of the organization.

For those who are not initiated into jazz, the specialist returns to what this training represents. “They are the greatest Cuban jazz group ever created according to all specialists. They left their mark on this musical movement, especially under certain political pressure in the 1970s in Cuba.”

To set the tone for the Cuban theme, the first concert (July 12 at Place de la Liberté) will see virtuoso pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa demonstrate all his talent.

Confirmed and emerging stars

Before this grand finale, the edition promises to be rich, eclectic and open to all. Sometimes, the festival was a little too specific, we wanted to open it up to as many people as possible. We looked for great artists. The festival was internationally renowned. After a lull, we managed to get some great artists back. Jazz à Toulon is talked about a lot in the industry, especially since it is one of the only festivals of its kind to be free.”rejoices Robert Albergucci.

So, this year, Cécile McLorin Salvant, “an exceptional singer”will be on stage at Place de la Liberté (Saturday, July 13). Born to a Haitian father and a Guadeloupean mother, after growing up in Miami, Cécile McLorin Salvant also learned her trade at the Aix-en-Provence Conservatory. A clever mix that can be found in her performances, she who has already won, at 34, three Grammy Awards, the Django Reinhardt Prize from the Jazz Academy and a Victoire du Jazz in 2022.

Another highlight was the presence of Candy Dulfer (July 18, Place Vincent-Raspail) “and his magic sax”, Robert Albergucci specifies. And to continue “she accompanied Michael Jackson but also Sting”The Dutch saxophonist oscillates between jazz, smooth, pop and funk and knows how to set the stage on fire like rarely before.

In building its programming, Jazz à Toulon also likes to highlight established talents like Robin McKelle, and future talents like Veronica Swift, Christian Sands, “Big names in the United States, soon to be nominated for the Jazz Grammy Awards”.

The “off” also aims to bring out local and regional gems. During each evening, from 7 p.m., regional groups will take over the city’s squares. We will notably find Alejandra Burgos, one of the rising stars. Originally from Argentina, the singer, guitarist and composer has her habits in the Var, she who has already played as an opening act for concerts by artists such as Bryan Adams, The Foreigner or Anastacia.

> From July 12 to 26 at 9:30 p.m. Free concerts. Information and complete program on www.jazzatoulon.com

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