Nina Simone and Etta James live albums to be released

Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG set to release brand-new
Nina Simone and Etta James live albums as part of “The Montreux years” series
‘Nina Simone: the Montreux years’ and ‘Etta James: The Montreux years’ uncover rare and previously unreleased performances by the musical icons.
Drawing on the expansive and unique montreux sounds audio-visual collection of the festival’s founder Claude Nobs.

  • Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG launch “The Montreux Years”, featuring brand-new CD and vinyl collections of legendary performances from the festival’s 55-year history and rare recordings of the world’s most iconic artists from Claude Nobs extensive collection of audio-visual material (Montreux Sounds)

Wednesday 14 April 2021 – Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG today announce the forthcoming releases of ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ and ‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ on Friday, 28 May 2021. The live albums, which will be available in multiple-format configurations, including double LP and two-disc CD editions, feature sublime collections of the musical icons’ finest Montreux Jazz Festival performances, including previously unreleased material, all restored to their full glory and more. The audio will also be available on digital download and streaming services, and in full master quality on TIDAL.

Pre-order ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ and ‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ here.

Simone’s and James’ albums are the first releases of Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG’s brand-new collection series “The Montreux Years”. The collections will uncover legendary performances by the world’s most iconic artists alongside rare and never-before-released recordings from the festival’s rich 55-year history, with mastering performed by Tony Cousins at London’s iconic Metropolis Studios, incorporating MQA to capture the original sound of these special live performances. Each collection will be accompanied by exclusive liner notes and previously unseen photography.

Nina Simone’s story from the late sixties to the nineties can be told through her legendary performances in Montreux. Taking to the Montreux stage for the first time on 16 June 1968 for the festival’s second edition, Simone built a lasting relationship with Montreux Jazz Festival and its Creator and Director Claude Nobs and this unique trust and electricity can be clearly felt on the recordings.

Simone’s multi-faceted and radical story is laid bare on ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’. From Nina’s glorious and emotional 1968 performance to her fiery and unpredictable concert in 1976, one of the festival’s most remarkable performances ever witnessed, the collection includes recordings from all of her five legendary Montreux concerts – 1968, 1976, 1981, 1987 and 1990.

Featuring rare and previously unreleased material from Claude Nobs extensive collection of recorded material (Montreux Sounds), Nina Simone devotees worldwide will be thrilled by the inclusion of the powerful I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free, poignant and fearless Four Women and Simone’s hauntingly beautiful performance of Ne Me Quitte Pas.

A spine-tingling version of Janis Ian’s searing and potent Stars, which Simone covered for the very first time during her 1976 Montreux performance, sits alongside her bold and electrifying re-imagine of Bob Marley’s ballad No Woman No Cry in 1990. The collection closes with the encore of Nina Simone’s final Montreux Jazz Festival concert and one of Simone’s most-loved and best-known recordings, the exuberant My Baby Just Cares For Me, showcasing the deep and multidimensional facets of Simone’s life and music.

The CD edition of ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ will also include Simone’s 1968 landmark concert in full, the first time the full concert will be available on CD.

‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ is a treasure trove of timeless classics, powerful and electrifying performances and raw, soaring vocals by one of the greatest ever female vocalists. The collection, featuring recordings from James’ live at Montreux concerts in 1977, 1978, 1989 1990 and 1993, encapsulates and reflects Etta’s dynamic artistry and long-lasting impact. Spanning performances from across three decades, ‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ offers deeply personal and intimate snapshots into James’ acclaimed musical journey, highlights and her phenomenal career.

From one of Etta James’ earliest successes, the infectious and endlessly elegant Something’s Got A Hold On Me, a medley that consist of At Last, Trust In Me and Sunday Kind of Love, which is a fusion of highlights from the early 60s, to the raw and emotional I’d Rather Go Blind and soulful horn-driven Tell Mama. The collection closes with Baby What You Want Me To Do, James’ homage to Jimmy Reed and the encore of her 1978 concert.

In 1975, Claude Nobs captured a significant moment of musical history – Etta James’ very first concert in Europe, performing at the festival’s 9th edition. The CD edition of ‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ will include highlights of this special landmark concert, held at Montreux Casino on 11 July 1975.

Thierry Amsallem, Claude Nobs’ Universal Legatee, Chair/CEO of Montreux Sounds and Chair of Claude Nobs Foundation, says: “The Montreux Jazz Festival has always been a leading showcase for the international music scene, as well as a meeting place for musicians and music lovers. The magic of Montreux lay in the encounters between musicians. There were unique events that will never be repeated. The idea was to allow artists to get off the beaten track and avoid replaying their usual repertoire. But here, we treated them like royalty and offered them the best conditions in the world, in terms of sound quality and audio-visual recording technology.”

Mathieu Jaton, CEO of the Montreux Jazz Festival, adds: “I am thrilled to be able to continue the fabulous history of albums recorded at Montreux Jazz Festival with the new collection “The Montreux Years”. And who better to launch this series than the incredible Etta James and Nina Simone, who both left their mark on the Festival! I am especially pleased that these albums will be released both in digital and analogue formats. I have always thought of the Montreux Jazz Festival as the vinyl of festivals, because of its exceptional listening quality and the authentic feeling it gives to music lovers. The Festival has also always been at the forefront of new audiovisual technologies. This is totally in line with our current strategy of a hybrid model between events and digital content.”

‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ and ‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ are the first releases of Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG’s upcoming multi-format live album collection series. Further “The Montreux Years” releases are soon to be announced.

‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ is released on Friday, 28 May 2021
Pre-order here

‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ is released on Friday, 28 May 2021
Pre-order here