By Nomali Cele
As the credit card advert says, some things, regardless of how much they cost, are just priceless. It doesn’t really matter how far you had to fly or if your luggage got lost when you’re pursuing a pure, incomparable experience. Some would name Woodstock as that experience, while South African jazz lovers today would say the rapturously received reunion of the Jazz Epistles in 2016 was priceless. Here we put together a few other jazz experiences that are worth not giving the price tag another look.
The Preservation Hall Experience in New Orleans
Jazz was born in New Orleans and had many of its pivotal growth stages there, swing in the 1930s being one of them. Founded in 1961, Preservation Hall has been dedicated to preserving traditional New Orleans jazz for over 50 years.
If you time your visit for late April and early May, you will be able to experience the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. One of the best in the world.
American Jazz Museum
If experiencing historical and iconic artefacts is something you enjoy, stay in the US for a while and visit the American Jazz Museum in Kansas, Missouri. The museum has a vast collection of items such as those that once belonged to Duke Ellington.
The permanent exhibition includes one of Louis Armstrong’s trumpets, a gown once worn by Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker’s sax. Most fascinating is the jazz club within the museum. The Blue Room is named and modelled after a jazz club that was established in the 1930s and is a living exhibit with activities and performances taking place.
Experience the Montreux Jazz Festival
While it has, over the years, been integrated to include rock and pop music, the Montreaux Jazz Festival is one of the best jazz festivals in history. Founded in Switzerland in 1967, the line-up at the inaugural three-day show was impressive. Think Nina Simone, Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis. The video archive of the early days of the festival is a treasure trove of joy for jazz lovers. Its digitisation is almost complete and will be available to the public from the university École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, also in Switzerland.