The smallest of the big jazz festivals
Started more than 30 years ago by a couple of young dreamers, the springtime Cully jazz festival is now a well-established international jazz event, the first on the yearly calendar. Unlike the neighboring Montreux jazz festival that takes place three months later, Cully jazz shuns pop extravaganzas and pursues discoveries in new areas of jazz. The result of the jazz/ethno/acoustic panorama is that there is something for everyone, from the adventurous to the conventional, including 70 free OFF festival concerts.
The 2015 edition has its usual fare of headliners: pianist Brad Meldau, saxophonist Joshua Redman, New Orleans guitarist John Scofield and Swiss singer Stephan Eicher on the main marquee stage, but more intimate concerts take place in other venues, including in the village temple.
The more adventuresome will look for prize-winning GoGo Penguin that hails from Manchester with a surprising blend of jazz and electronica, Swiss Nik Baertsch who brings melody to serial music and Dan Tefpfer who adds a touch of jazz to Bach.
A stellar selection of some of the loveliest women’s voices tin jazz today completes the picture: Yilian Canizares from Cuba, Mayra Andrade from Cape Verde, Elina Duni from Albania, the Caribean touch of FM Laeti, not to mention Lisa Simone (Nina’s daughter). And for those who like Swiss zaniness, Erika Stucky is just the ticket.
The setting is a medieval village at the heart of the Lavaux UNESCO world heritage site and is best reached by train, although shuttle buses are organized for those who come by car and don’t mind parking miles away. Cully is also renowned for the great beer and food served under tents, good wine in the cellars where many of the concerts take place and the beauty of the lakeside, especially when the weather is fine.