Nancy King is one of the world's pre-eminent living jazz vocal improvisers. And she's incredibly fun to sing with. This summer 15 lucky people will be able to experience that in person as she leads a week-long jazz workshop for vocalists and duo artists in the wine-making village of Roujan, in Southern France.
The workshop, which runs August 28 to September 4, will be at La Maison Verte, a residential workshop facility about an hour away from Montpellier. Nancy will be supported by her long-time duo partner Steve Christofferson, as well as by Bill Coon and Kate Hammett-Vaughan, two of Canada's leading duo performers and educators. Participation is limited to 15 people - but not just to vocalists. Instrumentalists who want to improve their duo playing or simply study with great improvisers will get as much from the workshop as will vocalists.
Accommodation is on a first-spoken-for basis. There are four ensuite rooms suitable for couples for people prepared to pay an additional amount over the base accommodation fee. La Maison Verte has 19 bedrooms available for residential course accommodation, varying between large double or twin ensuites through to simple single rooms arranged around shared bathroom facilities. The house is in the working village of Roujan, in the beautiful Languedoc region of southern France. The property is only 5 minutes' drive from the popular town of Pezenas, 25 minutes from the beaches of the Mediterranean and within 90 minutes' drive of 5 international airports. Roujan boasts two superb bakeries and a traditional French cafe, and the Saturday market at nearby Pezenas (once the capital of Languedoc) is one of the best in the region. Vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, providing guests with superb walks and, of course, excellent wine-tasting opportunities.
Languedoc is a hidden treasure, growing in popularity all the time. Between the mountains and the Mediterranean, it is rich in history, breath-takingly beautiful, blessed with superb weather and rejoicing in a burgeoning international reputation for the quality of its wine. The house was built in the 1830s and started life as a wine producer's mansion. Nothing much has changed, except now the gardens grow oleanders, irises, mimosa, tamarisk, lilac and almonds as well as vines. The property remains totally secluded, with a vast courtyard and an acre or so of fragrant and colourful gardens. Its swimming pool is surrounded by mulberry, fig and almond trees, pomegranates, oranges and lemons.