All that Jazz

Jazz is the uniquely American musical genre that emerged from the American South, an offspring of the blues and ragtime music of the African American communities around New Orleans.   Over the years it has become a truly global form of music.

One of the places that has always embraced jazz is France.   Many great Jazz players  traveled to France and some moved there where they were welcomed and revered even more so than in their home country.  Perhaps it was the roots of the Louisiana Cajun community that provided a deep connection for the French to the jazz form.

In 1948 the city of Nice, perhaps as a salve on the recent wounds inflicted by WWII, began a tradition that has continued every year, save 2016. The Nice Jazz festival is regarded as one of the top jazz events in the world.   The list of players who have graced the stage in Nice is a Who’s Who of the legends of Jazz over the years.

Until 2011, the site of the event remained in and around the ruins of a Roman amphitheater  and ancient city.


The headliner for that opening event was, perhaps the most famous of all jazz players, Louis Armstrong.

However, Louie was not alone.  He brought with him his Jazz All-Stars.

(Original  photo was shared with us by Sharon Preston-Folta, Louie’s daughter.)

His Original Jazz All-stars  were not given that name flippantly.  Each of the players in this group were truly the best of their day.   Any of you who follow jazz even casually will instantly recognize these names.

  • Louis Satchmo Armstrong – trumpet
  • Jack Teagarden  – trombone
  • Arvel Shaw – bass
  • Cozy Cole – drums
  • Bunny Bregard – clarinet
  • Earl Hines – piano

I can only image the scene on that early summer evening with the ancient ruins glowing in the marvelous Mediterranean light as the All-Stars took the stage to the raucous applause of the ecstatic crowd echoing from the walls of the very same venue that Roman crowds populated thousands of years ago.

I believe that if Louie could see what sprang from that fateful evening , he would approve.





About bargevivante

Owners of Vivante, a 23m Katwijker built in 1911 (the same year as the Titanic). Our U.S. residence is in St. Petersburg, Florida. We are sailors who have covered the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico in our Sabre Intermezzo.
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2 Responses to All that Jazz

  1. Susan says:


    From my younger days of traveling Europe, I knew that jazz was popular. At 18, after way too much to drink, I was even brave enough to try dancing to it in Denmark. Not pretty. So I enjoyed your essay and photos of Nice. By coincidence, Joel and Barry have their friends Steve and Dan from Asheville, NC in town, who are giving two Jewish Jazz performances this weekend. I’ve attached a write up about them for your reading pleasure. Although we are not attending a performance this year, Myke and I enjoyed listening to their music and Dan’s historic commentary on Jewish jazz last year. I do, however, have the pleasure of giving them a tour of the Dali tomorrow.

    Missing you guys!! Big hugs…


  2. bargevivante says:

    Dancing is always pretty when showing your appreciation of the music! I am familiar with Black Mountain and would love to hear them play. Another time….when they are in town and I am too. Big hugs back to you, my friend!!!

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