The first festival back in 1948, was the first Jazz festival of its kind in the world and it started right here in Nice! The inaugural festival was headlined by Louis Armstrong along with other big names, Claude Lutter, Stéphane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt.
The Nice jazz Festival continues attracts big names with this year’s line up including Kimberose, Aloe Blacc, Gregory Porter and the Kyle Eastwood Quintet. The festival is held in the Theatre De Verdure in Place Massena where there are two stages. Last year’s festival attracted around 43,000 people over the duration, an all time high.
Ahead of the festival [email protected] interviewed jazz singer and Nice resident, Julie Follis.
Tell us about your musical career? How did it all start?
I came to Nice in my mid twenties working on boats. I started singing with a street band, Contreband and soon after gave up my day job! I then got involved with The Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band. Danny Fitzgerald became my mentor and I spent a long time travelling around the States and Paris with them. It was through Danny that I struck up a relationship with Madeleine Peyroux - she’d joined The Lost Wandering as a run away teenager. I joined Madeleine on her UK tour as her support act.
How did you get involved with the Jazz festival
While I was singing with Contreband we were invited by the Mayor of Nice to participate in the Jazz Off. The Jazz Off is held in conjunction with The Nice Jazz Festival and aims to showcase the best of local bands.
How did it feel to be part of such a historic festival?
It was a huge honour to be asked by the Mayor and to be a part of what is an amazing event. It was also absolutely crazy - we did 15 gigs in 9 days!
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
On Monday 16th Gregory Porter is performing a tribute to Nat King Cole accompanied by the Orchestre Philharmonique of the Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur, which will be amazing. I’m also really looking forward to seeing Kyle Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood, who is an incredible Bass player.