Jazz That Transcends Borders Comes With the 39th Souillac Jazz Festival – 19-26 July 2014

The Souillac Jazz Festival which runs 19-26 July 2014 in the Lot, SW France, is an especially poignant cultural event this year — the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Festival de Jazz de Souillac – 19-26 July 2014  (Credit Festival website)

Festival de Jazz de Souillac – 19-26 July 2014 (Credit Festival website)

For among the American contingent in the Allied offensive of 1944 was one Sim Copans — who as a non-combatant in the US Army — travelled around Normandy in his sound truck during the weeks after D-Day, reassuring the population that it was “OK to come out now” and playing V-discs (mostly jazz records) to attract their attention.

He was later instrumental in helping spread the popularity of jazz in France. Copans (see this homage first published in French News Online in 2012) created the international jazz festival in 1976 in Souillac, a market town in a popular tourist region renowned for its unique natural and cultural heritage and lived at nearby Lanzac between 1980 and his death in 2000.

This year’s “Souillac en jazz” offers festival-goers numerous opportunities to break boundaries and pepper their visit with jazz:

  • Stroll alongside a marching band on the banks of the Dordogne River;
  • Attend a sizzling concert blending rock, funk, rap and jazz outside the quiet church of Pinsac;
  • Hear what a piano can do to the vibrant tunes of Brel, Trenet and Bécaud deep in an underground cave;
  • Enjoy local gastronomic fare accompanied by the festive sounds of jazz;
  • Watch Duke Ellington in rarely seen archival film footage;
  • Walk through the streets, sitting down from time to time, to listen to free concerts or visit an exhibition;
  • Let the flirtatious mix of rock and Thelonious Monk, as interpreted by the fiery Francesco Bearzatti quartet seduce you;
  • Experience the seething whirl of rhythms and melodies produced by the innovative American trio, The Bad Plus;
  • Succumb to the enchantment of Youn Sun Nah and her now-tender, now-strident vocals that cover the full gamut of emotions.

Programme highlights: Sat. 19 July: jazz walk with the Red Fish Quintet and the storyteller Clément Bouscarel Sun. 20 July: Picnic with the Red Fish Quintet; organ hour with the Tea for Two duo; free concert by Light Blazer in Pinsac Mon. 21 July: Projection of the films “Black and Tan Fantasy” (archive) and “Un Amour” (Richard Copans) Tues. 22 July: Solo piano concert by Philippe Léogé in the caves of Lacave Wed. 23 July: From the market to the table, a supper-concert performed by Fretswing Thur. 24 July: Francesco Bearzatti Tinissima Quartet, Monk’n’roll Fri. 25 July: The Bad Plus, Made possible Sat. 26 July: Youn Sun Nah Three weeklong exhibits: the cartoons of Albert Dubout, “Jazz landing”, and sketches of the festival, updated daily. Thurs.-Sat.: Free concerts in Souillac with Demonsant/Doumerc duo, Fretswing and Red Fish (Sat.-Tues.)

See the full programme of events on the Festival website. For more information: info@souillacenjazz.fr , or Robert Peyrillou, Artistic Director, robert.peyrillou@souillacenjazz.fr – Tel. + Online ticket sales.

Story: Ken Pottinger

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