Friday, January 11, 2013

Hommage to a Great Man: Claude Nobs

This post is a bit serious.

On May 1, 1962 this aircraft, a Swissair Convair 440 Metropolitan, landed early afternoon at Zurich-Kloten Airport in Switzerland.

I was then 20 years old. The passengers got down. There were 16 particular ones: Count Basie and the musicians of his Big Band. They came to give a concert in Zurich. We were about 50 welcoming them from the visitors balcony of the airport. Screaming: "Welcome to Zurich, Count Basie". A music reporter from the Swiss Radio had arranged something great. Whilst Count Basie and his men were looking at us, two luggage carts approached the aircraft. One one was a piano and on the other drums. And right there on the tarmac, the musicians made a jam session. An unforgettable moment.

Jazz has accompanied me throughout my life. I have a collection of about 700 records (vinyl and CD) and now all handy on my iPod, iPhone and iPad. Where I go, I have my jazz (and other music) with me.

In 1986, I moved to a small beautiful town on the shores of Lake Geneva: Montreux. To discover that this town during 2 weeks in July, every year and since almost 50 years, became THE world city. Because of the Montreux Jazz Festival. This festival is renowned in the whole world and attracts a huge crowd of visitors.

This man founded it:

Claude Nobs. During all these years he brought the great names to Montreux. Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Deep Purple, B.B. King, Manhattan Transfer, Tito Puente, Santana, the list is so long.

For me it was like being in Paradise during those two weeks. I was fully in it, not going home (10 minutes to walk from where the concerts took place) for nights and nights. Enjoying the concerts, having chats with the musicians. Wonderful moments of my life and the one of thousands of other people.

On 24th December 2012, Claude made a ski tour above Montreux. He feel and got hurt. Brought to the hospital for surgery, he did not wake up and fell into a coma. He passed away yesterday.

Montreux and the world music scene has lost a Great Man.

It is a moment where it is difficult to "Just Take It Easy, Man".

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