John and Helen Meyer, the founders of Californian loudspeaker giant Meyer Sound, have paid tribute to Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, who died last week after a skiing accident.
“We are greatly saddened by the news of Claude Nobs’s untimely death,” said the Meyers in a message posted on the company’s website. “Claude was a long-time personal friend and collaborator for nearly 40 years. He was instrumental in the development of many of our products, and his contributions to the world of festivals and music are unparalleled. Claude will be sorely missed.”
Nobs launched the festival in 1967 and, over the years, the fortnight-long event has attracted some of the biggest names from across the musical landscape, including David Bowie, Miles Davis, Prince, Radiohead and Bob Dylan. The Meyer family’s friendship with Nobs led Meyer Sound to become a technical supporter of the event from 1986 onwards.
According to press sources, Nobs, 76, was injured on Christmas Eve while cross-country skiing near his home in the mountainside village of Caux. He fell into a coma and died on 10 January.
General manager and creative director of the festival, Nobs was known as ‘Funky Claude’ after he was referred to in the Deep Purple song Smoke on the Water, which recounts the story of a fire at the Montreux casino in 1971.
UK & Ireland sales manager for Meyer Sound, Roger Harpum – who has spent many summers working on the festival in a technical and support capacity – told PSNEurope: “I was deeply saddened by the news of his death, a little stunned to be honest. I’d met Claude again recently and he was his usual exuberant self.”
(Top picture © 2007 Lionel Flusin, Montreux Jazz Festival Foundation;
© 2007 Lionel Flusin – Montreux Jazz Festival Foundation bottom picture © Claude Nobs Archives)