An espresso with…
Nicolas Gilliet

May 7, 2018

Jazz Ascona

While we were in Ascona, Switzerland, for the 2017 Jazz Festival, we met the artistic director of the Festival, Mr. Nicolas Gilliet. The meeting was held at “Casa Serodine”, one of the most ancient buildings in Ascona, location of the exhibition “Jazzportrait”, by the photographer Massimo Pedrazzini, the official photographer of the event. In a very cool atmosphere, among the many pictures Massimo captured over the years, we met Nicolas and we talked about the event.


Nicolas, you are the director of Berne Jazz Festival, since 2004 you are also artistic director of JazzAscona, where you played as a drummer in the 1980’s and 90’s… What does jazz mean to you?
To me, it means passion, freedom, to meet again with musicians and to spend some time together. For instance: my brother is a pianist and with him, we play a lot, so much that we don’t even talk anymore! It is therefore a way to meet again, to exchange emotions and to create something beautiful.
The festival has now reached the 33rd edition. In what does the Ascona Jazz Festival differ from the others?
For this festival, first of all I wouldn’t speak of money budget, it differs from the others because the audience is different, because the needs are different, the marketing is different, everything moves and evolves, therefore it is an appointment aimed at entertaining. This year, it is important for me to try to capture a new audience and also to try to get the audience that already knows the festival more excited. Therefore, it is a complete work.
Are there any novelties this year?
There are novelties in logistics and marketing but, talking about music, the thing that probably our partners most like in Ascona is the open-mindedness: the openness to new styles and new solutions that could involve JazzAscona event.
The artists are chosen by following which kind of criterion?
There’s clearly a musical issue, but there’s also a marketing issue, according to our partners’ interests, such as restaurant owners, hotel owners who organise concerts in their public spaces, and so I try to cope with the different needs and I try to impose myself, but it’s clear that I have to take in account their requests.
Let’s talk about the special relationship with Lilian Boutté, the musician who is so loved by JazzAscona.
Lilian is a great musician and she was very close to Ascona Festival, now she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and she is experiencing some economic difficulties, she doesn’t sing anymore and she went back living in New Orleans. As she is an icon for Ascona, and she is very famous, I thought of helping her with some tributes. The last concert she held last year for us was really great; you could already notice that she was forgetting the words but she was really living the music in an incredible way; a concert we all will remember.
The City of New Orleans, since 2015, has become one of the official sponsors of JazzAscona. We would like to know something more about it.
I have been covering the role of Director since the 14th edition and, after going many times to New Orleans to talk to them I was able to make them understand that, for them, to support Ascona could be a very good opportunity and be their reference in Europe.
Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有;  An espresso with… Nicolas Gilliet copyright Jazzespresso 2018.
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