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JazzAscona 2010, A Festival That Reinvents Tradition, With A Mix Of Culture And Fun

United States
ASCONA, Switzerland, 15.3 – JazzAscona is one of the principal events worldwide devoted to historical styles of jazz and in particular to the music of New Orleans. The festival takes place in the picturesque town of Ascona, on the Swiss shores of Lake Maggiore, and offers a rich program featuring great names in jazz alongside emerging musicians. This year’s 26th edition will take place from June 24 to July 4, 2010. The festival will open on June 24 with a concert featuring the SWR Big Band and singer Paula Morelenbaum, who will perform together in a much anticipated show of bossanova and Brazilian standards.

The star of this year’s edition will be renowned French guitar player Biréli Lagrène, who will give two concerts, on July 2 & 3, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Django Reinhardt’s birth.

Other tributes include an homage to Louis Prima by the incomparable Ray Gelato’s Giants, on June 25, and to the legendary Rosemary Clooney by New York vocalist and bassist Nicki Parrott and renowned trombonist Warren Vaché, on June 28. New Orleans will be represented by its two greatest drummers, Herlin Riley and Shannon Powell, who on June 26 will receive the 2010 Ascona Jazz Award 2010, given for the fourth time.

Great names of classic jazz will be arriving from the United States, including guitar player Howard Alden, trombonists Bill and John Allred, bass player Jay Leonhart, and legendary drummer Mickey Roker.

This year’s festival will feature a number of talented vocalists, including Catherine Russell, an emerging voice in traditional jazz; Susie Arioli, an accomplished Canadian artist out to conquer Europe; and China Moses, daughter of Dee Dee Bridgewater and a remarkable interpreter of Dinah Washington’s music. Beloved Niki Haris will also return to Ascona, accompanied by one of the world’s leading trombone players, Wycliffe Gordon.

There will also be many bands from all over the world specialized in traditional jazz, headed by one of the most popular Dixieland formations, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, and by refined British clarinet player Sammy Rimington, who will perform with New Orleans-born trumpeter Wendell Brunious.

This year’s soul and R&B selections will feature two noteworthy returns to the international scene: The Dixie Cups, the New Orleans group who was top of the charts in America in 1964-1965, and bass player Gordon Edwards, the founder and leader of the legendary 1970s band Stuff.

Significant attention will be also devoted to other styles, such as gospel, with Anthony Morgan’s Inspirational Choir of Harlem; boogie-woogie and old-style blues, with German star Axel Zwingenberger and vocalist Lila Ammons; and, of course, brass bands, including The Next Generation BB, a fledgling marching band from New Orleans premiering its explosive, rebel sound in Europe.

This year’s JazzAscona festival will focus on the great jazz standards, with the aim of re-evaluating and updating an extraordinary, often-forgotten collection. New compositions—led by young musicians Dani Felber from Switzerland and Attilio Troiano from Italy—will be presented alongside evenings devoted to the great swing, Brazilian, and vocal standards.

The program, under the artistic direction of Nicolas Gilliet, will feature more than 200 concerts and 300 artists, as well as a series of special events: gospel masses, jam sessions, exhibits, conferences, films, and much more. Among these are the live radio shows hosted by New York musician and journalist Judy Carmichael and the screening of The Sound After the Storm, the New Orleans documentary that was partly filmed at JazzAscona and that won first prize at last year’s Zurich Film Festival.

For the latest, updated program, please visit JazzAscona’s official website.

The JazzAscona festival is produced by Ente Turistico Lago Maggiore, with the support of Casinò di Locarno (Presenting Sponsor); Banca dello Stato del Canton Ticino, Coop, and Dannemann (Main Sponsors); Repubblica e Canton Ticino, Comune di Ascona, Hotellerie Suisse Ascona-Locarno, and Ticino Turismo (Public Sponsors); and Il Caffè, Radio Svizzera (Rete Due), and Radio Swiss Jazz (Media Partners).

For additional information regarding the festival and accommodation:

Ente Turistico Lago Maggiore, 6600 Locarno, Switzerland. Phone: + 41 91 791 00 91. http://www.asconalocarno. com/

Tickets: 1-evening tickets are 20 francs (14 €); 3-evening passes are 55 francs (39 €); and 10-evening passes are 170 francs (120 €).
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