Summertime Jazz in Europe.

Summer’s here and if you’re in Europe and are a jazz fan, you’re in for a treat. There are quite a few jazz festivals going on during the summer, especially the month of July (which is in a few days!). I’ve been to a few of them while traveling in Europe – here’s a quick glimpse:

Montreux. the Montreux Jazz Festival. July 6-21.

montreux jazz festival, montreux, switzerland.

2007 marks the 41st anniversary of this well-known jazz festival. Many of jazz’s greats have played here including Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn Trio and more. The festival itself it set in the town of Montreux, on the eastern end of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Tickets are normally sold out far in advance for major acts, but sometimes there are last-minute tickets available, but rare. For those on tight budgets, there are also free concerts throughout the day at different outdoor performance venues along the lake – where you can enjoy music for free and take in the beautiful lake view and the Swiss Alps. This is compared to other performances being indoors, so definitely not a bad deal.

This year, some of the major acts are as follows: Van Morrison, Beastie Boys, Norah Jones, Seal, The Chemical Brothers, George Benson & Al Jarreau, Tori Amos, Les Rita Mitsouko. Check out the jazz fest website here, or refer to the links at the end of this post.

Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival. July 6-15.

Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark.

I actually ‘ran’ into this jazz fest completely by accident. I happened to be in Copenhagen at the time and was in my hotel reading about what’s happening this week and heard music playing outside – and realized that it was the last day of the festival. I quickly ran out and found my way through to the indoor and outdoor venues around town. It’s quite navigable, so not to worry there. This city of Tivoli Gardens and the little mermaid has more to offer than you think.

This year, find the Joshua Redman Trio, McCoy Tyner, Joe Zawinul, Jan Garbarek, Mavis Staples, John Scofield, Tomasz Stanko, Maceo Parker and more (as listed on the festival’s official website). Check out the site here for more information.

Vienne (France). The Vienne Jazz Festival. June 28 – July 13.

Vienne Jazz Festival in Vienne, France.

This jazz festival is probably the largest festival of its kind in France. This year, find Pat Metheny & the Brad Mehldau Quartet, George Benson & Al Jarreau (also at the Montreux Jazz Festival) and Mitch Woods’ Big Easy Boogie. One of the best things about this festival is that you can enjoy some of the events at the Roman Theatre of Vienne, which was built between 40 to 50 A.D. and restored in 1938. There just aren’t many opportunities like this.