34th edition of JazzAscona Time to fully immerse in jazz, blues & New Orleans on the shores of Lake Maggiore
Ascona is always worth the trip, but during the 10-day jazz festival it’s almosta must! Here one of the major world events dedicated to jazz and New Orleans Beat takes place - and JazzAscona proposes an enthusiastic New Orleans experience with over 180 concerts, jam sessions and events, the best musical productions from the delta city and a culinary taste of Louisiana specialities. The Mississippi on the shores of Lake Maggiore!
A true celebration of jazz to which Ascona invites you for the 34th time from 21 to 30 June 2018. Buzzing with excitement, the 2018 edition offers no fewer than 180 concerts, 40 bands, around 300 artists and a varied programme of quality entertainment, ranging from jazz to swing, blues, gospel, and from R&B to funk and bossa nova.
Some of the highlights
The festival opens with the popular Swiss bluesman Philipp Fankhauser, who will give a unique and long-awaited concert on Thursday 21 June - with the presentation of his latest album recorded at the legendary Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi. Entrance is free.
The following day, Friday 22 June, the Paolo Tomelleri Big Band recall the historic concert that Benny Goodman gave at the Carnegie Hall in New York in 1938; which largely contributed to having jazz viewed as a "respectable" kind of music.
Sunday 24 June sees another highlight, when the festival hosts the famous Ticino-born trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti, who will be awarded the Swiss Jazz Award 2018, in recognition of a career that from the 60s on saw him a world star. And with him on stage a quartet with Dado Moroni on the piano.
Friday 29 June the eagerly awaited gospel concert in the Church of Papio this year stars the English singer Denise Gordon; an artist who has established herself as one of the most popular female voices in European circles of classical and traditional jazz.
Saturday 30 June the Ascona Jazz Award 2018 - a coveted prize that the festival awards to grand personalities in the music world- will be awarded to the legendary American drummer Bernard Pretty Purdie; a master of the funk and soul drums who has worked together with the grandest of names from Louis Armstrong to Aretha Franklin, and from Miles Davis to James Brown. Bernard Purdie will be in Ascona with his group from 26 to 30 June.
The New Orleans musicians
As always, JazzAscona proposes a great selection of bands from New Orleans, featured exclusively at the festival for several days. And expected, amongst others, are Jeff Tyson & the Ka-Nection Band, the most popular and longest running Bourbon Street band; The Andrews Family Brass Band, largely formed by young members of the Andrews family, one of the leading musical dynasties of the delta city; the young singer Meschiya Lake who’s been repeatedly awarded best female vocalist at the "Best of the Beat Awards;the rising star of vocal jazz Quiana Lynell, 2017 winner of the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, and the band of the acclaimed bassist Roland Guerin consisting of young musicians from New Orleans, such as the trumpeter Ashlin Parker, the pianist Kyle Roussel and the Cuban percussionist Alexey Marti, who in turn bring alive diverse formations.
Two recording projects will be presented on June 29 and 30: the Swiss organist Frank Salis and Michael Watson, trombonist and singer from New Orleans, follow up thecollaboration born at last year’s festival with the presentation of an album recorded in NewOrleans yet to be released - "Frank Salis meets Michael Watson"; and the Apulia- born singer Serena Brancale presents "Serena", her second album still to be released, produced by the artistic director of JazzAscona, Nicolas Gilliet.
More notable appearances include the famous James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis (28 -30.6), the acoustic trio of the Brazilian guitarist and vocalist Luiz Meira (26-30.6) - an important bossa nova figure also known for his long collaboration with singer Gal Costa; the young New York band Bryan Carter & the Young Swangers, who with unrelenting energy and creative force are winning audiences with sold-out shows all over the world (23.6 -1.7); public award winner in 2017, the London-born singer Randolph Matthews, who returns to explore arrays of black music with his Afro Blues Project (22- 25.6).
Additional appearances include many Swiss and European bands. From Geneva for example, and not to be missed, a tribute to Fats Waller by the Fats Boys; from Italy the beloved Sugarpie & the Candymen and an homage to Joe Venuti and Stuff Smith by the duo Mauro Porro and Martino Pellegrini; from France the singer JJ Thames, and the amusing Austrian proposal by Marina & the Kats.
Among the special events to take note of are the jam sessions every night at the Cambüsa; an opportunity to see some of the best festival musicians at work in an informal setting, along with ever-returning JazzAscona guests: from guitarist David Blenkhorn to the clarinettist Thomas L’Etienne, trumpeter Patrick Artero and the inexhaustible David Paquette.
Concerts in the dark and graphic design by Paul Bacon
“Concerti al buio”- literally concerts in the dark, is a new proposal with the guitarist Sandro Schneebeli, saxophonist Max Pizio and various guest artists. And listening to music in a tent in the pitch-dark is both a novel and most out-of-the-ordinary experience for all the senses.
Another interesting 2018 novelty is the exhibition organised by the municipality of Ascona and the municipal museum of modern art in the Casa Serodine; with the presentation of around 200 vinyl record covers created between 1954 and 1964 by the renowned graphic designer Paul Bacon for the American Riverside record label.
And last but not least worth taking note of are again the many spots dotted along the Ascona lakeside where you can get a taste of typical Louisiana and Creole style cooking.
Finally, the RSI (Swiss radio & television in the Italian language) will ensure great coverage of the JazzAscona event with over 60 hours of interviews and live music moments on Rete Uno and Rete Due.
Tickets & Info
The evening concerts on the lakefront are free during weekdays, except on June 28 (pre festive). Paying nights Fr, Sa and June 28. Adults 20 CHF – Students and apprentices 10 CHF – Younger than 14 years old free. The tickets can be purchased directly at the box office from 6 p.m. or online on tickercorner.ch.
Gospel Concert June 29 at Collegio Papio Church -Admission fee 10 CHF. Tickets only available at the tourist office in Ascona.