Navigation International Jazzfestival Bern

Opening Night

Saturday, 12th March 2016, 8:00 p.m.

Presenting Partner: Kursaal Bern

Monty Alexander, p / Houston Person, sax / Herlin Riley, dr / Andy Bassford, g / Hassan Shakur, b / Leon Duncan, e-b / Karl Wright, reggae dr

The Swiss Jazz Orchestra / Joshua Redman, ts & lead

Monty Alexander Express feat. Houston Person & Herlin Riley

Monty Alexander

Monty Alexander was born in 1944 in Kingston, Jamaica and is one of today's most sought-after pianists. He began playing the piano at the age of four. Monty is such a virtuoso on his instrument that he can express each of his improvisational ideas at any time. Swinging style, combined with his vitality and subtlety, is defined by his creativity, rhythmic strength and clearly accentuated sounds. Even Frank Sinatra commented "this guy is like dynamite". In a career spanning five decades, he has built a reputation exploring the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica, finding in each a sincere spirit of musical expression. His musical collaborations span multiple genres and styles. His projects have been as varied as assisting Natalie Cole in her tribute album to her father, Nat "King" Cole in 1991 (that album, “Unforgettable”, won seven Grammy awards), performing George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" under the direction of Bobby McFerrin at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and recording the piano track for the film score of Clint Eastwood's “Bird”, a movie about the life of jazz titan Charlie Parker. Monty has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe: Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Victor Gaskin, Milt Jackson, Ernie Wilkins, Herb Ellis, Jeff Hamilton, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Barbara Hendricks, Sly Dunbar, and Robbie Shakespeare, among many others. In August 2000 Monty Alexander was awarded the title of Commander in the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for outstanding services to Jamaica in his capacity as worldwide music ambassador. Alexander returned to Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2009 with a new program, Harlem Kingston Express in which he merged classic Jazz with rhythms and vibrations of his native Jamaica. With this group, Monty has played in Marians during the International Jazzfestival 2012. Alexander maintains a rigorous touring schedule worldwide, from jazz clubs to concert halls and playing at Jazz Festivals from Switzerland to South Africa, Japan and Australia. To date Monty Alexander has recorded over 70 albums as a leader.

Houston Person

Houston Person was born on November 10, 1934 and is also a record producer. Although he has performed in the hard bop and swing genres, he is best known for his work in soul jazz. Person is also known for his distinctive sassy sound and his expressive style of playing. He received the Eubie Blake Jazz Award in 1982. Houston has released  more than 75 albums as a bandleader.

Herlin Riley

Herlin Riley was born February 15, 1957, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Herlin was a member of Ahmad Jamal’s group from 1984 through 1987. He has recorded with Marcus Roberts, Dr. John, Harry Connick, Jr., George Benson, Benny Wallace, Mark Whitfield, among others. Herlin Riley is one of those rare jazz masters, who’ll truly “swing anything”.

The Swiss Jazz Orchestra feat. Joshua Redman

Joshua Redman

Joshua Redman is one of the most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists to have emerged in the decade of the 1990s. He began playing clarinet at age nine before switching to what became his primary instrument, the tenor saxophone, one year later. Joshua issued his first, self-titled album in the spring of 1993, which subsequently earned Redman his first Grammy nomination. He quickly established himself as one of the music’s most consistent and successful bandleaders. In addition to his own projects, Joshua has recorded and performed with musicians such as Ray Brown, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Larry Goldings, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Roy Haynes, Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, Nicholas Payton, Dianne Reeves, The Rolling Stones, The Roots, John Scofield, Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton, Stevie Wonder and countless others. Joshua Redman has been nominated for 2 Grammys and has garnered top honors in critics and readers polls of DownBeat, Jazz Times, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone.

The Swiss Jazz Orchestra is Switzerland’s most busy professional big band, performing weekly in Bern. Additionally, they perform and record projects of varying stilistic content and have so far released 9 CDs. The SJO has performed with acclaimed musicians like Alex Sipiagin, Chico Pinheiro, Torun Erisken, Claudio Roditi, Jerry Bergonzi, Phil Woods, Buddy DeFranco, Jim McNeely, Bob Mintzer, Bert Joris, George Gruntz, Paquito D’Rivera, Anat Cohen, Roberta Gambarini, Mike Mainieri and Peter Erskine as well as with Swiss top musicians Andy Scherrer, Matthieu Michel, Nat Su, Domenic Landolf, Michael Zisman and Pepe Lienhard.

Swiss Jazz Orchestra


Sat., 12th March 2015, 8:00 p.m.
(Doors 7:00 p.m.)

Presenting Partner


CHF 55.- / 75.- / 95.-

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