By John Ruiz
Miami has a sister city, and no, it’s not New York. It’s actually Nice, France. The two cities created a family bond, sister cities, and recently celebrated that partnership at this years Miami Nice Jazz Festival.
The festival also marks the kick-off to Miami French Weeks, an initiative of the French-American Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate of France in Miami to promote French culture in South Florida.
Nice, France has set the bar on an international level for jazz since their inaugural festival in 1948. Since then, pioneers like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis have all frequented this festival. Nice Jazz Festival in many ways is as big or even bigger than Art Basel in terms of flashy folks and prestigious trendsetters curating the culture of jazz music. Fast forward to 2012 to Miami’s inaugural festival and all of a sudden this event is more important than meets the eye. The world largest jazz festival plants its seeds in Miami where DJ’s are a dime a dozen and 80% of any audience are simply there to party and get laid.
Miami Nice Jazz Festival’s Founder and CEO, Philippe Pautesta-Herder, and Nice-based concert producer, Panda Events, joined forces to make Miami a little more Parisian with the event. The festival, as Pautesta-Herder says, “is the first and only jazz fest of such international significance to come to South Florida. And with it came an audience who took in the smooth sounds from across the globe.” If you suddenly have a craving to jet-set to France, well, we understand why.
Yet, the founders recognize something in Miami that hasn’t been there before, a desire for expanding their culture of arts. We’ve proved that we have what it takes to support not just electronic music, food and beaches but we want more of it all. There’s something sweet about enjoying cocktails besides palm trees with the sounds of live instruments playing. This year marked a continual growth and appreciate for jazz music and we should continue to recognize just like the founders do that this is an amazing opportunity for our city to grow even more. Its no surprise that we’re growing towards less of the capital of South American and more as the capital of the world!
The opening performance of Miami Jazz Festival was given by none other than Etienne Charles, melting flavors of latin, American, French, and Dutch sounds, topped with Afro-Caribbean grooves from his new album Creole Soul. On the same day, we also had Cuban native, Roberto Fonseca on the keys at the Olympia Theater in Downtown.
Throughout the festival, locals and international visitors alike came out to support the rising jazz scene and there’s pics to prove it.