1958 Jazz Festival de Cannes Compilation (Part I)

With Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, J. C. Heard, Roy Eldridge...

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Vic Dickenson — Trombonist

Lou Levy — Pianist

Arvell Shaw — Double bassist

J.C. Heard — Drummer

Sidney Bechet — Saxophonist

André Reweliotty — Clarinetist

Yannick Saint-Gery — Pianist

Roland Hug — Trumpeter

Jean-Louis Durand — Trombonist

Zozo D'Halluin — Double bassist

Poumy Arnaud — Drummer

Big Joe Turner — Pianist

Arvell Shaw — Double bassist

J.C. Heard — Drummer

Ella Fitzgerald — Singer

Program notes

The love affair between jazz and the French Riviera is now more than seven decades in the making. It began after World War Two, when Sidney Bechet and Duke Ellington fell in love with the region. From then on, there was a sense that jazz floated in the air each summer, with African-American icons arriving to play intimate shows to crowds that often gave them more reverence and respect than they received back home. In fact, jazz festivals are said to have been invented in the region, with lineups gathering the world’s most exciting acts from near and far. 

1958 was a marquee year, with the Festival de Cannes playing host to an all-star group of truly iconic artists. This compilation, expertly directed by Jean-Christophe Averty, begins by setting the scene: his camera drifts along the beaches, capturing bathers and boats, as well as musicians walking along the promenade. These shots are intercut with performance clips featuring history's best: Ella Fitzgerald gives a wonderful rendition of "How Long Has This Been Going On?" as well as "Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)." Elsewhere, Dizzy Gillespie is the epitome of cool on the trumpet, brilliantly accompanied by Martial Solal on piano and the fabulous J.C Heard on drums. This film also includes an interview with the immortal Coleman Hawkins, who expresses his surprise at how much the French public seem to love jazz and, alongside him, Roy Eldridge, who speaks of his impression of the nearby islands. Beautiful to watch!

A closer look: composers and works

George Gershwin

Ira Gershwin

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