2016 — 50 Years of Jazz in Willisau

The first jazz festival took place in Willisau in 1975. One can self-indulgently allow the names from that time to pass once again through one‘s ears: Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Frank Wright, Brotherhood of Breath, Mike Osborne, Noah Howard, John Tchicai, Irène Schweizer, Albert Mangesldorff, OM. That is the sound of Free Music and Avant-garde Jazz. And it would also sound like that – in the small town in located in the middle of nowhere.

Willisau has at all times been more individually programmed than other jazz festivals. Free Jazz, Black Music and Improvisation have been its pillars. But very soon there came along interfaces to rock, to ethnic music and to electronics. This is how the Willisau Jazz Festival has made its worldwide excellent reputation over the years. Keith Jarrett’s claim that “Willisau is one of the best places for music“ had very soon to be taken into account

Its one time leading light Niklaus Troxler has started at the end of the 1960s with regular jazz sessions in the Mohren Hotel and in the Kreuz Restaurant. After hundreds of annual concerts and 35 festivals he handed over the leadership to his Nephew Arno Troxler in 2010. The latter has further confidently promoted the spirit of the Willisau history and every year is adding new features and individual facets to it.

Further information: www.willisaujazzarchive.ch