Boogie Woogie, Swing and Blues in the 2015 lineup
The schedule of concerts organized last year by “Jazz and Co.” for its annual jazz season in the caves at the Château de Coppet was a stellar one. We went along for two of the four events — the first, with superb Swedish jazz guitarist Gustav Lundgren, backed by The Swingstation Trio, and the last, with award-winning Canadian Steve Strongman — were both outstanding, offering musicianship of the highest quality.
The lineup for 2015 has just been announced and the emphasis this year is heavy on old-fashioned Swing jazz and Boogie Woogie (with dashes of the Blues mixed in).
On 13 February, the Swing Project Quartet takes the stage to pay homage in their usual improvisational style to the great American composers Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, and Rodgers.
Then on 24 April the “Swiss Ambassador of Boogie-Woogie”, Silvan Zingg (who has accompanied Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, as well as both B.B. King and Carlos Santana at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival) will bring his jazz and Blues piano classics to the cave.
On 2 October the Fats Boys trio will play classics originated by their namesake Fats Waller, as well as those by Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. The performance on 20 November by Spirit of Soul will mark a return to the Blues, Soul and even ballads, songs made famous by Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Exceptionally, there will be also be a performance on 20 March by American Blues singer Zakiya Hooker, who will interpret among others, songs composed by her father John Lee Hooker. She has previously performed at New York’s Radio City Music Hall as well as the Monterey Jazz & Blues Festival. Presumably, one not to be missed.
A Little About Jazz at the Château
Jazz & Co. is a small, non-profit association of jazz enthusiasts who promote the music they love by organizing four concerts a year in the vaulted cellars of the Château.
The concerts have become so popular that while you can prereserve a ticket to ensure you get in, tables cannot booked in advance and seating cannot be guaranteed. Having said that, there’s lots of seating available if you don’t mind sharing a table with other jazz enthusiasts in the audience.
The caves comprise one long room separated by a very thick brick wall (as you would expect in a 13th-century castle basement). So in the salle principale you’ll be able to see the performers whereas in the adjacent space the concert is projected onto a screen. Your best bet for a seat is to line up before the doors open at 7:30pm. Concerts start at 8:30pm.
It’s advisable to pre-book: online reservations per concert cost SFR25 for adults and SFR15 for adolescents, as opposed to SFR28/SFR15 at the door, where only cash payment is accepted. Tickets are not sent out, rather a list of online registrants is kept at the door.
If you get the munchies, there’s petite restauration, i.e., quiche, soup, terrine pies (like a pork pie), or a plate of dried meat and cheese with bread, as well as small dessert tarts. To drink there’s wine, bottled water, and coffee.
For those who don’t plan to take the train to nearby Coppet station, there is parking opposite the Château grounds and down by the lake in Coppet village or along the Route Suisse (driving towards Geneva).
Jazz & Co. welcomes new members and encourages jazz lovers to spread the word about the great music on tap at the caves. From what I can tell, the word’s spreading just fine and rightly so.