* 04 Feb 1936, † 10 Jan 2013, Swiss, Founder & General Manager of Montreux Jazz Festival
High above Montreux, Claude Nobs lives in a charming chalet. The meeting was preceded by countless telephone calls and written requests for an interview. I was glad all the more when I finally got an invitation. Mr. Nobs leads me through his house, or rather museum, or rather Party Chalet, and recounts some of the legendary happenings that occurred in that place. His endless love and sensitiveness makes him larger-than-life.
Nobs was born in Montreux, Switzerland. After apprenticing as a cook, Nobs worked in the Tourism Office of Montreux. He later went to New York, where he met Roberta Flack and invited her to the Rose d’Or de Montreux. Later, Aretha Franklin made her first visit to Europe thanks to him.
At the age of 31, while he was director of the Tourism Office of Montreux, he organized the first jazz festival featuring artists such as Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett, Ron McLure and Jack DeJohnette. This new festival was an immediate success, and gained a reputation far beyond Switzerland. Nobs quickly transformed his festival into an international gathering place for lovers of jazz.
Claude Nobs himself played the harmonica. He died on January 10, 2013 at the age 76 in Switzerland.