Lausanne dreams of being a center for jazz creation

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Among the sectors that are suffering from the closure of places of culture, contemporary music is the one that will perhaps experience the greatest structural crisis. Because at a time when artists derive the bulk of their income from concerts, the prospect that the live industry will remain stationary for several months, at least in slow motion, hardly allows any outbursts of optimism. It is in this gloomy context that the city of Lausanne unveiled on Tuesday an ambitious project precisely devoted to current music, and mainly to jazz: the creation ex nihilo, in the bubbling Flon district, of a new club as well as of spaces for creation and work.

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This musical center, intended to be inaugurated in the fall of 2022, will take place in two warehouses, called “Les Jumeaux” and located at numbers 19 and 21 rue de Genève, just before the MAD. In particular, it will make it possible to build bridges with institutions such as the HEMU (High School of Music) and the EJMA (School of Jazz and Current Music), located a few meters away. Project manager for the jazz club part, Jean-Yves Cavin (director of the Cully Jazz Festival) is delighted that young musicians, once graduated, can thus rub shoulders with the professional world.

Rents below the market

The thirty rehearsal rooms, which will surround a room with 300 seats (in a seated or standing configuration) in the second basement of the buildings, can in particular be rented by the hour. An ideal option for offering one-off projects, such as residences giving rise to a concert and a recording. The premises will otherwise be offered for hire – below market prices – to professional or semi-professional musicians under terms yet to be defined, the idea being to set up a tournament.

The club, focused on local and regional creation, will also have to work in a network with the national and international scene, promises the director of Cully Jazz, who is working on the creation of a legal structure but will not play any operational role, whatsoever. in management or programming, once the premises are inaugurated. This structure, whether it is a foundation or an association, will pay no rent but will not receive any subsidy in return.

Contemporary creation

Head of the Culture Department of the city of Lausanne, Michael Kinzer, for his part, underlines the complementarity of this new offer with the pre-existing structures. While Chorus will remain, by virtue of its specificities, a club devoted to acoustic jazz, the one that will be set up at Flon will above all be intended for amplified music. “It will not be intended to be interested in heritage jazz, but will highlight contemporary creation and open up to other styles, such as the mixtures that there may be with electronic or world music”, notes Jean-Yves Cavin.

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Work spaces will be set up on the floors. The idea is to make them accessible free of charge to microstructures working on the creation, promotion and distribution of current music. Grégoire Junod, syndic of Lausanne – also in the electoral campaign these days -, sees in this future center of skills a means of filling a real gap. A study carried out among actors and actresses of the music industry had indeed highlighted not only the lack of rehearsal places, but also of offices.