Brazilian big-shots at Montreux

MPB stars are highlights at the 2001 edition of the traditional Swiss jazz festival

Marco Antonio Barbosa
Brazilian music has had its reserved spot at the International Montreux Jazz Festival since 1978. But in at the 2001 edition of the event (from July 6th to the 21st) organized by the Swiss Claude Nobs since 1967, there will be 4 nights dedicated to Brazilian music, instead of the usual 2. A great selection of Brazilian artists are to perform at the Stravinski Hall, and the 4 nights are almost sold-out. Those who could not get tickets will be able to watch the concerts on the Internet, at the event’s official site (

The Gilbertos open the Brazilian participation at Montreux: first the daughter, Bebel, and then the father, João. Bebel Gilberto performs at the event’s Latin Night, supporting Zuco 103 and Ozzomati at the Miles Davis Hall. After having sold 100,000 copies of her solo album Tanto Tempo in France, Bebel toured Europe successfully at the end of last year. She’s presently considered the tip of the iceberg of the new Brazilian music in Europe. The singer should then perform in France and Germany.

João Gilberto returns to the Festival after 15 years, at the Stravinski Hall, on the 12th. He was the first Brazilian artist to be invited to the 2001 edition of the event, last year. He is going to support Paco de Lucia and septet. João’s repertoire should be the same he’s performed at recent concerts in Montreal and Paris: bossa nova classics and new versions for pre-bossa sambas, such as Doralice e Pra que Discutir com Madame?. In spite of the international big-shots performing this year (like Bob Dylan, B.B.King, Patti Smith, Sting and Herbie Hancock), João and Paco’s night is one of the most expected in the event.

On Friday the 13th, the name of the night at Stravinski says it all: Brasil!. Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento will perform at the Festival the gig with which they have been touring Brazil since last year, which includes the repertoire of the album Gil e Milton and their individual classic songs. The duo has been in Europe for two weeks, performing in France and Portugal. Supporting their concert is Maria Bethânia, who is performing songs from her next album for the first time, including new songs by Lenine and Ivan Lins. Bethânia has also been touring Europe on her own.

On Saturday the 14th, comes the Tropical Night of the event, uniting Skank, Carlinhos Brown and Jorge Ben Jor. Skank, from Minas Gerais, are not really known in Europe, but should warm-up the night with their reggae-pop. Carlinhos Brown (off from a successful gig in Italy) comes next, with a complete division of Timbalada, to perform the songs from his recent CD Bahia do Mundo - Mito e Verdade . To top it all with irresistible swing, another well known Brazilian artist in Europe, Jorge Ben Jor. At the same time Skank performs at the Stravinski Hall, Nação Zumbi will be playing their manguebeat at the Montreux Jazz Café.

Still in this edition of the Festival, two parallel events will showcase the Brazilian sound: the Brazil Train, on the 13th, and the Samba Boat, on the 14th. Claude Nobs, the event’s big boss, is crazy for Brazilian music - he has said that with the inclusion of Brazilian artists in the Festival, he aims to recreate a taste of the Brazilian carnival in Switzerland. Brazilian artists have been constantly present in the Festival since Gilberto Gil participated in the first Brazilian Nights of the event with Airto Moreira, A Cor do Som and Ivinho, in 1978. Most of the MPB elite - such as Hermeto Paschoal, Alceu Valença, Naná Vasconcellos, Tom Jobim or Gal Costa - have played it. Many of them recorded live albums off their concerts at the Festival, like João Gilberto (Live at the 19th Montreux Jazz Festival), Paralamas do Sucesso (D , 1987), Titãs (Go Back , 1988), Elis Regina (Montreux Jazz Festival, 1982) and others.