Montreux Jazz Digital Project
From the first edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967 its visionary founder, Claude Nobs, recorded the performances of artists unaware that his legacy would become, in 2013, the first audiovisual collection to be inscribed in the UNESCO "Memory of the World" register. Today, the Montreux Jazz Festival archive is the most important testimonial to the history of music covering Jazz, Blues and Rock.
In 2007, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Claude Nobs decided to join forces to digitize and preserve this unique collection: the Montreux Jazz Digital Project was launched. A team of 25 staff members supported by over 100 students and 35 researchers have been working on the project since 2010 with the aim of making it available to researchers at the University, and to turn it into a unique database as a catalyst for innovation and enrichment. Since the beginning of the Montreux Jazz Digital Project, 11’000 hours of video recordings, 6’000 hours of high-quality audio recordings (including multi-tracks) and 80’000 photos have been digitized. All the recordings are safely kept in uncompressed digital formats, using both computer data tapes and the most recent hard drive-based technologies.
From 2010, several valorization projects were started at EPFL, using this unique collection as a reference database for researchers. Innovation from EPFL labs helps adding value to the archive through new platforms, or designing algorithms to process the audio/video signals, proposing advanced metadata extraction and search tools to better navigate in the database, among others.
A special Montreux Jazz Café has opened on the EPFL campus in November 2016, giving the public the opportunity to discover the Montreux Jazz Archive in an immersive space, the Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab, with the latest audio and video reproduction technologies developed in collaboration with the EPFL’s laboratories and startups.
Hence, Claude Nobs’ innovative vision lives on and his wish for the public to access his unique collection is now a reality.
Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab:
Tuesday to Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm
Montreux Jazz archives on consultation at MontreuxJazzCafé@EPFL:
Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm
Credits: Digitization and valorization of the Montreux Jazz Festival archive is managed by the EPFL Metamedia Center, with the support of Audemars Piguet, HGST, Ernst Göhner Foundation, Logitech, Loterie Romande, France et Thierry Lombard, and others generous private donors. The Claude Nobs Foundation will conduct the funding actions required to ensure sustain and access to the digital archive. The numerous raising research projects will help to keep the archive alive.