Imagine relaxing in the warm spring sunshine, pure glistening snow and mountain peaks all around, the majestic Matterhorn piercing a cloudless blue sky, and listening to one of the best jazz bands in the world. An international collaboration is planning a concert with a difference: Ronnie Scott’s All Stars – the house band from the world-renowned Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London – are to play at a record-breaking altitude of 3030m (nearly 10,000 ft)
beneath the Matterhorn as part of the Zermatt Unplugged music festival in Switzerland from 8 -12 April 2014.
The five-piece jazz band will be playing a series of free lunchtime concerts – Extreme Jazz - at the Gandegghutte, which perches on a precipitous ridge in the Matterhorn glacier paradise ski area and is surrounded by Switzerland’s most dramatic peaks – Monte Rosa, Breithorn and of course the towering Matterhorn.
Staging an outdoor concert at this altitude, where temperatures can reach minus 20C at night, and the air begins to thin, poses a considerable production challenge, but preparations are already in full swing. While the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars and their instruments will make the 1500m (almost 5000 ft) ascent from Zermatt village to Gandegghutte by cable car and skidoo, the grand piano will make a dramatic entrance, suspended beneath a gleaming Air Zermatt helicopter.
With many of the artists at Zermatt Unplugged performing in venues in the village and at lower mountain locations, the Extreme Jazz concerts mark a first for the festival in taking live concerts to such an altitude; in fact the performances will break the altitude record for Europe’s highest stage.
It is also the first time that acoustic jazz has been included in the Zermatt Unplugged programme. And for those who prefer their jazz a little less ‘extreme’, the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars will also be playing at venues in Zermatt village during the evenings as part of the festival, and at the final Farewell Brunch.
Now in its 7th year, Zermatt Unplugged is Europe’s biggest acoustic festival, and is becoming as popular as the world-famous resort itself. For music lovers, skiers and mountain enthusiasts, the festival offers an exciting mix of top talent as well as superb end-of-season skiing and adventure in unsurpassed Alpine terrain.