Souillac Jazz Festival releases program details for its upcoming 40th edition event.
Souillac Jazz Festival – 18-25 July 2015
Souillac, France, 4 May 2015––The 40th Souillac Jazz Festival takes place this year in the same spirit that has guided it since 1976: jazz, great jazz, and nothing but jazz.
The 40th edition of the festival promises to be a major event, marking 40 years of jazz – from Memphis Slim to Kenny Garrett – in a small town in the centre of France. It is the fourth oldest jazz festival in France, after Jazz à Juan, in Juan-les-Pins; Jazz en Liberté, in Andernos; and Nancy Jazz Pulsations, in Nancy.
This year’s programme is truly an event: over the course of a single week, it will feature one of the orchestras that performed in 1976, the Swing Machine Big Band of Cahors, with the voice of Sara Lazarus; a new duo of female musicians in a cave, Isabelle Olivier and Lisa Cat-Berro; the music of Sun Ra, revived by Thomas de Pourquery; the hybrid melodies of the pianist Jerry Leonide; the creative Factory of the Moutin Brothers; and the genius of Kenny Garrett. Pure, exciting jazz.
How has a small town in the French countryside managed to bring together so many jazz greats?
The spirit of the festival, as conceived by Sim Copans and his co-founders, has been lovingly preserved; it promises jazz, great jazz, and nothing but jazz. No kiosks or products for sale – only the participation of local tradespeople; no screens – simply a direct exchange between musicians and the public; no concessions to more commercial music – but rather a selection of the best contemporary jazz; no financial dependence, but partnerships with local cultural organizations, with a view to providing ever more jazz.
The budget – relatively modest compared to that of similar festivals – covers free daily concerts, a large stage with a high-quality sound system, and daytime jazz-related activities throughout the week.
Souillac en jazz is the oldest jazz festival in France to function solely through the efforts of an association of volunteers. Some of them have departed, leaving their mark, and new ones have taken their place, with bold new ideas. Each year, the association takes up the challenge of putting together an even finer festival, ever richer in music, and with ever more jazz.
The festival’s ability to adapt and evolve is a major factor behind its longevity. Hybrid music like jazz, anchored as it is in both Africa and America, cannot be defined by a strict formula. The festival is proud that its communication materials are produced solely by volunteers.
The 40th festival venerates jazz as music of reconciliation; a mixture of cultures and peoples; living music that constantly welcomes new influences. In the words of Kenny Garrett: “And I’m definitely conscious that the music is bigger than us. We’re like the messengers and the music is coming through us” (interview with David M. Greenberg for the webzine Something Else!, 10 Nov. 2014).
The programme in brief: