Keeping Up With The Joneses

Basel’s Avo Session kept its place among Switzerland’s major indoor festivals such as Montruex Jazz and Blue Ball by doing close to 99 percent of its 19,000 capacity.

Festival booker Matthias Mueller felt the best-received of the 13 shows at the Messe building were from Tom Jones (Nov. 8) and Grace Jones (Nov. 13), but it was a tough call as this year’s concert series also featured Natalie Cole, Kris Kristofferson, James Morrison, Snow Patrol, Diana Krall and Simple Minds.

This year’s Avo Session lifetime achievement award went to Tom Jones, while the rising star award went to Norwegian singer-songwriter Maria Mena.

This year’s Avo Session, which ended with Simple Minds Nov. 15, appears to have benefited from having an international headliner for every show. In previous years some nights have featured a bill of two or three lesser-known acts.

All of the Avo concerts are recorded and broadcast in up to 40 countries on Swiss Television, a potential audience of 150 million households.

The majority of them are also broadcast on Switzerland radio stations.

Avo Session 2010 is Oct. 22 to Nov. 14.