Prince to headline Montreux jazz with 3 pricey concerts

GENEVA Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:55pm EST

GENEVA Feb 14 (Reuters) - Prince returns to the Montreux Jazz Festival in July to give three concerts at the 47th edition, the first after the death of founder Claude Nobs, organisers said on Thursday.

The American singer and musician is booked to give three shows on July 13, 14 and 15, the Swiss festival said in a statement.

"Groovy, funky and the undisputed master of improvisation, Prince's performances are all unique and unpredictable," it said of the 54-year-old viewed as a pioneer of online music distribution and maverick in the business.

Prince first appeared on the famed Montreux stage in 2007, then showed up at 3 a.m. to jam with his band at a late-night jazz cafe along Lake Geneva. He gave two back-to-back shows on the same night in 2009, drawing fans from across Europe for a rare appearance on the continent.

Tickets go on sale on Friday morning, at a whopping 175 Swiss francs ($190)(standing) and 395 francs for a seat.

"We consider him one of the headline acts," festival spokeswoman Emilie Loertscher told Reuters.

The rest of the line-up will be announced on April 18.

Nobs, who founded the Montreux Jazz Festival nearly 50 years ago, died in January at age 76 after several weeks in a coma following a skiing accident.

The Swiss impresario immortalised by rock group Deep Purple as "Funky Claude" in the song "Smoke on the Water", lured the biggest stars of the music world including Miles Davis, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin to the annual event.

($1 = 0.9193 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Paul Casciato)

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