Blue Note Côte d'Azur shows its true colours

Blue Note: sea and sky provide perfect backdrop
Blue Note: sea and sky provide perfect backdrop

The Devil may have all the best tunes but thank God for French Riviera's good vibes that provided perfect upbeat antidote to sorrow surrounding recent nearby terrorism.

Nice arrival within a week of 84 innocent lives being lost, with more than 300 injured, in Bastille Day truck carnage sounded a suitably sombre note.

56th Jazz a Juan

56th Jazz a Juan

But, a short distance down Côte d'Azur, lovers of music and life alike were determined to show their solidarity. Their show would go on, albeit truncated, to lift shallow spirits.

And, although increased security curtailed fringe gatherings, Jazz à Juan duly delivered as a defiant tour de force in the face of senseless atrocities along their coast and across the globe.

Joy of Life was never more evident on Antibes shores and streets where, 70 years before, Picasso crafted La Joie de Vivre iconic celebration of peace.

Juan-les-Pins produced similarly life-affirming exuberance among an audience eager to enjoy uplifting soundtrack to lighten understandably morose mood.

Diana Krall: key performer

Diana Krall: key performer

Diana Krall, headlining on delayed opening night, was literally instrumental in striking just such an optimistic note. Vocal chords and keyboard in perfect harmony, she dedicated her sweet sounds to July 14's fallen families.

The crowd were keen to match the tempo of a sensational set, stunning and striking in equal measure, including such hits as '60s classic The Look Of Love, penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, whose back catalogue she and singer-songwriter husband Elvis Costello continue to champion and celebrate.

She was preceded on the Pinède Gould stage by revelation, to this reviewer at least, of former The Hoax bluesman Hugh Coltman. The Brit turned Parisian's measured inflection and intonation eloquently channeled late great satin-silk smoothness of Nat King Cole. No mean feat.

The best was yet to come with ace of bass Marcus Miller. The double Grammy award winner wowed a packed audience, treated to a majestic performance by the masterful multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer. Two decades since his first appearance among the pines, his funk-fused delivery was simply sublime.

Marcus Miller: ace of bass

Marcus Miller: ace of bass

He followed fellow bassist Richard Bona & Mandekan Cubano as well as Flemish songbird Selah Sue, whose soul diva delivery climaxed in stand-out rendition of hit single Raggamuffin.

Francais five-piece Maryline and The Family Company paved the way for Eddy Mitchell Big Band's brass section-supported crooning par excellence.

Chanteuse Robin McKelle, pianist Paolo Conte and American Gospel Junior free show ensured it was indeed Oh Happy Day as curtain fell on a celebration that beat all the odds - and some - to confirm music remains, not only Shakespeare's food of love, but 21st century beacon of hope to light darkest of days.

Sunny climes are always guaranteed for an annual outdoor event that recently played host to Stevie Wonder, when weather was appropriately "hotter than July" with a mercury-melting 27°C top temperature music to the ears of any sun-starved Brit.

Chris Page enjoys joie de vivre

Chris Page enjoys joie de vivre

The sea-side venue has also always been edgy in terms of performances. Although a fully-fledged International Jazz Festivals Organization member, and an integral component of Riviera cultural heritage, it has since its 1960 advent proved influential in progressively pushing the boundaries and all the buttons of the genre.

And a living laboratory twixt sand and stars of free fringe concerts whose watchword is diversity. Effortlessly elitist yet popular, traditional and contemporary, its programme has long presented all forms of the musical movement from swing to soul, be-bop to gospel, rock to funk.

But, regardless of the musical milieu, quality is at the "roots" of its intuitive evolution of what was launched as revolutionary tribute to a lover of the locale and the sounds. Charles Mingus, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz number among greats who have graced the stage.

This showcase of excellence will again next season open its doors and finely-tuned ears to luminaries and legendary leaders in their field to ensure Blue Note Côte d'Azur once more shows its true colours.

Europe's longest running annual jazz jamboree, this year marking its 56th anniversary, is perfect time to travel there but, thanks to personable professionalism of tourism hosts with the most Béatrice Di Vita and Lucy Howard, there's never a bad time to savour the flavour of this Mediterranean maritime paradise.

Built on Greek and Roman origins, characterised by lofty ramparts, the resort's ports include yachting mecca Port Vauban and sandy shores of chic Cap d’Antibes.

Jean le Pins: sun, sea, sand and sax

Jean le Pins: sun, sea, sand and sax

Its incomparable charm has long delighted visitors as illustrious as cubism pioneer Picasso, whose bright works reflected the white light and lore of this land. Indeed, as his museum attests, the area revived the oft-troubled master’s spirits. And it will yours.

Nature reigns supreme amid surroundings that boast vast natural parks, rolling golf courses and sparkling streams while surrounding villages Biot and Valbonneare are architecturally rich subject matter for any artist’s canvas. If it’s good enough for Pablo!

Fishermen’s coves, yachtsmen’s wharves and provençal markets all jostle for visitors’ attentions when jazz mecca’s hundred year-old pine grove falls silent.

UK holiday-makers of a certain age will hear the strains of Peter Sarstedt’s '69 pop chart topper Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? who suggested "when you go on your summer vacation, you go to Juan-les-Pins" - an even suntan-friendly "carefully designed topless swimsuit" is, au naturel, an optional extra!

Airport Hotel with Parking at Luton Airport

A night's stay at an airport hotel is the perfect way to get your holiday off to a hassle-free start.

Example price: £169 for a double room, for one night's stay with eight days’ parking at the Hilton Garden Inn. Price searched on July 26 for a stay on August 4. To book, visit www.HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 1313 777.

Airport Lounge

Start your holiday in style and escape to an airport lounge before your flight. HolidayExtras.com offers airport lounges at all major UK airport lounges as well as lounges for the return journey at many international destinations. Free food and snacks, alcoholic and soft drinks, newspapers and a comfortable place to relax are included in the price, from £17.50 per person. To book visit www.HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 1313 777.