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Switzerland

Adieu, Claude Nobs - The Eccentric Swiss Genius Who Jazzed Up Sleepy Montreux

Local memories and a final salute from French-speaking Switzerland to the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, who died on January 10.

"Funky Claude," as Deep Purple called him in their 1972 song "Smoke on the Water"
"Funky Claude," as Deep Purple called him in their 1972 song "Smoke on the Water"
Antoine Duplan

MONTREUX - There was a shop window in Montreux where you could watch “an incredible model train blowing steam.” Sixty years later, Claude Nobs’ eyes were still bright with excitement when he told the story of the amazing toy his parents couldn’t afford to buy him. But in the end, he got himself something much better than an electric train – he got himself a jazz festival, a fabulous machine blowing decibels and joy.

The Geneva Riviera and French-speaking Switzerland owe much to Claude Nobs. Without him, they would have remained provincial and uneventful. Fifty years ago, the most famous tourist event in Montreux was the Narcissus fair – a celebration of Narcissus flowers. Today, Miles Davis and B.B. King have their bronze busts on the quay and Freddie Mercury's statue looks out on the horizon. The visionary Claude Nobs opened his hometown to the world, gave it an economic push, and brought an exciting mythology to the site. He turned a sleepy lakeside city for retired Brits into a musical capital. And all the while, giving locals pure moments of amazement.

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Firefighters work to put out the fire in a mall hit by a Russian missile strike

Shaun Lavelle, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Officials fear the death toll will continue to climb after two Russian missiles hit the Armstor shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kramenchuk. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, more than 1,000 people were inside the mall Monday at the time of the attack.

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For the moment, the death toll is at 18 with 36 people missing and at least 59 injured, reported a regional official on Tuesday. The search and rescue operations continue under the rubble.

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