Usher, Lauryn Hill to perform at Montreux Jazz Festival

 30 Mar 2017 - 13:47

Usher, Lauryn Hill to perform at Montreux Jazz Festival

By Stephanie Nebehay

MEZIERES, Switzerland: Usher, Lauryn Hill, Macy Gray and Erykah Badu are booked to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival during its 51st edition, organisers said on Thursday.

The eclectic lineup for the June 30-July 15 event includes Ibrahim Maalouf, Beth Ditto of indie rock band Gossip, Phoenix, as well the "Two Brians" double billing of Brian Ferry of Roxy Music and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

Tickets for one of Europe's most prestigious music festivals go on sale on Friday.

Trombone Shorty & the Orleans Avenue open for headliner Usher & The Roots on July 5, with top-end tickets at 295 Swiss francs ($296.01).

"The big night with Usher, you know him, he's coming with The Roots, very funky. We really wanted to see Trombone Shorty again who dazzled us in 2012. It shows the spectrum of R & B and soul. The night might end with big jam, you never know," Mathieu Jaton, festival director, told a news conference held in the Theatre de Jorat in the village of Mezieres above Lausanne.

Nicolas Jaar, a 27-year-old American composer with Chilean-Palestinian-French heritage, opens the festival on the main stage of the Stravinski Auditorium.

"An alchemist of the electronic, a real composer who takes us into curious universes... We paired him with Max Richter, rather classical but a real digital artist who has worked with Woodkid," Jaton said.

Lauryn Hill, who rose to fame with the Fugees in the 1990s, is returning to Montreux for the first time since 2005 and her performance on July 6 is expected to include hits by Nina Simone.

"She is coming for a one-off, a unique concert. Apparently she has not announced any other concerts in Europe this summer," Jaton said.

Herbie Hancock returns to Montreux for a record 38th time, while the "unclassifiable" Grace Jones promises an "atypical show," he said. Badu, celebrating 20 years since her debut album Baduizm, will follow Solange.

Simone, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Prince and Deep Purple have given legendary concerts at Montreux, which former co-director Quincy Jones called the "Rolls-Royce" of festivals. 

This year's budget is 28 million Swiss francs ($28.10 million). Free events along Lake Geneva will be announced on June 1. 

"The programme is dense and intense, full of beautiful things," Jaton said.