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Berne Jazz festival hits high note

The International Jazz Festival of Berne is this year celebrating its silver anniversary with a whole week of swing. It may be called a jazz festival but it also celebrates different genres of music.

Hans Zurbrügg, founder of the festival, says the festival week is a journey through the 100 year history of jazz. The event began on Monday in the roots of gospel, with a performance by the Reverend Ford Memorial Temple Choir - their first appearance in Europe.

From gospel it moves on to blues from the deep South and Chicago with the legendary blues harpist, Carey Bell, and the equally celebrated singer and guitarist, Buddy Guy.

The 21-year-old Shemekia Copeland - daughter of the late bluesman Johnny - is putting soul into the festival together with Mighty Sam McClain.

An evening dedicated to the new generation of jazz giants sees in the swing era with Lewis Nash, Roy Hargrove and Joshua Redman taking to the stage.

And on Friday, one of Berne's loyal guests, Clark Terry, who turns 80 this year, is honoured with an evening featuring George Robert, Phil Woods, Kenny Barron, Rufus R. Drummond, Dianne Reeves and Clark Terry himself.

The festival is also remembering the life and works of one of the greatest performers of all time, Louis Armstrong. His legendary music is being highlighted by Nicholas Payton, Byron Stripling and Arvell Shaw.

Surprise guests are guaranteed for the jubilee gala night on Sunday - the stars will be greeted on stage by none other than the Oscar Peterson quartet.

swissinfo with agencies


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