Posts Tagged ‘Montreal Jazz Festival’

festival international de jazz, montreal

June 25, 2011

kidjo / reeves / wright

The 32nd annual Montreal Jazz Festival gets underway today. I won’t be going to the Festival this year since I’ve just taken some time off over the last week to spend with visiting family. That’s about all the vacation time I can take right now. I’d be there if I could, I try to get there every year if possible since it’s just a couple of hours north.

And what a lineup! – again. It starts today with the usual exciting, interesting assortment of music on the outdoor stages. Then tonight’s headliners include Milton Nascimento, Prince (in two sold-out shows), Brad Mehldau, and a strong triple bill with Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright in a tribute show to late singers Odetta and Miriam Makeba. Wow. That’s day one.

Keep in touch, leave a comment here if you go and let me know how it’s going up there. Sorry I won’t see you at the Fest this year!

2010 montreal jazz fest – wednesday night, pt. 2

July 5, 2010

Another highlight from Wednesday night’s excellent offerings on the Festival’s outdoor stages: Slavic Soul Party. With a brass band, accordion, clarinet, and Balkan-style polkas and riffs the packed crowd at the TD Banknorth Stage never had a chance to catch their breath between tunes. They didn’t seem to mind. There was dancing on the park benches and cement walls bordering the stage, and a determined group of line dancers at stage left who had the right moves for this very high-energy contemporized folk/dance music.  Slavic Soul Party had a really smoking sound!

2010 montreal jazz fest – wednesday night

July 5, 2010

Highlight from Wednesday night at the Festival’s outdoor stages: LA-33, a group that takes their name from the street where they used to play and practice together in Bogota, Colombia. I had plans to stick around for a few tunes and then check out music on another nearby stage, but LA-33 was so good I had to hear their whole hour on the Bell stage. I think Montreal’s entire Colombian population (and then some) turned out for the show, salsa dancing, waving full-size gold, blue and red flags and singing along loudly with many of the songs. A real ‘fan’ scene, including myself after having been introduced to the group a couple of yeats ago via their album Gozalo.

2010 montreal jazz fest – wednesday sunset

July 5, 2010

2010 montreal jazz fest – wednesday

July 5, 2010

The Montreal Fine Arts Museum (Musée des Beaux Arts) is currently hosting a deliciously comprehensive exhibit called We Want Miles, a room-by-room, decade-by-decade, style-by-style timeline on the late bandleader and trumpeter’s life and career. The treasury of jazz artifacts includes one of John Coltrane’s Selmer tenors, Miles’ own mutes and mouthpieces, extensive video interview material, Miles’ stage costumes, and a loooottttt of other materials and interestingly presented information. Not only does it give you the personal and historical contexts in which to better understand his music, but it shines a deserved spotlight on many of the excellent musicians he played with over the years: Fats Navarro, Hot Lips Page, Kenny Dorham, and the list goes on. We Want Miles will be at the Museum through the end of August. Don’t miss it.

I spent time (not nearly enough) at the exhibit on Wednesday afternoon, before returning to the Festival for more music at the outdoor stages. Another cool, clear, breezy evening had the added bonus of making for some great photographic opportunities. See next update…

2010 montreal jazz fest – tuesday

July 4, 2010

You may recall this is where we left off in our last Montreal Jazz Fest recap, from this past Wednesday morning:

“The evening held blues, Bhangra, and straghtahead jazz…more pics to come.”

Here’s the rest.

Tuesday night’s best outdoor experience turned out to be Red Baarat, a nine piece band based in NY City that tore it up at the Bell Stage starting at 8pm. They had already started by the time I got to the stage, and their brassy, Indian-flavored grooves were echoing off the nearby buildings progressively louder as I approached. The hot, humid soup of the previous night’s weather had blissfully given way to cool breezes and afternoon showers on Tuesday, so by the time the evening acts started the temps were just right for dancing. This is one hot group. Heavy on the percussion and Hindi overtones with a fully funky, tight brass section.  Think: Ozomotli, done up Bhangra style.

Wednesday’s events, up next…

2010 montreal jazz fest – parade +

June 30, 2010

Each day at 5pm during the Montreal Jazz Fest, the parade hits the street, starting at St. Urbain & Ste. Catherine and winding its colorful way up into the Place des Arts. It was a little smaller yesterday than some previous ones I’ve seen but no less loud and bright. The band sounded great in their brassy renditions of Ain’t Gonna Study War No More, Down by the Riverside, and When the Saints (of course). Just one of the things to look forward to every day!

The evening held blues, Bhangra, and straghtahead jazz…more pics to come.

2010 montreal jazz fest – after the rain

June 29, 2010

We’re taking a break from this week’s World of Music to spend some time at one of the premiere outlets for great jazz in the Northeast. However, you can count on hearing music far beyond jazz at the Montreal Jazz Festival: Eastern European Gypsy brass bands, griots from Mali, blues singers from Australia and North Africa…I’ve seen them all there. Along with Ravi Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Kenny Werner, you-name-it for top names on today’s scene.

For straightahead jazz you’re still in the right place. Before arriving at the festival, the early evening held a stop at the  Cinematheque Quebecoise, where a triple film feature revealed three classics: Now (1965), from Cuban director Santiago Álvarez (with Lena Horne singing over a civil rights video montage); Ken Levis’ 1980 film Jackie Mclean on Mars, a documentary on Mclean’s legendary passionate classes at Hartford University, along with a couple of unexpectly insightful, personal practice sessions; and Serge Leroy’s concert footage from the John Coltrane Quartet’s 1965 Comblain-la-Tour date, with the Man and his ace quartet at their top in Naima, and My Favorite Things. It’s one thing to listen to recordings from that era. They give you a good feel for the energy that fueled the Quartet at that time. It’s another thing to SEE the steam pour off of McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones working through the Coltrane charts on that chilly summer night in Belgium.

Last night was a good cross-section of the diversity the Festival offers, with roadhouse blues, soft jazz fusion from Haiti, Arab hip-hop, and a big band version of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love (wherein the female Robert Plant surrogate did a fairly creditable job with the howling vocals). The freshly rain-slicked Place des Arts glowed in reflecting puddles of Festival lights and banners while the warm, VERY humid night hummed with its own musical vibrations.

I experience many different things each year in Montreal – but even if I just came for the jazz I’d leave happy.

2009 montreal jazz fest – day three: enfin, la parade

July 8, 2009

Every day at 5pm during the festival the crazy, colorful irreverent parade winds around through the Place des Arts. Mayhem unbound. This one ended in a downpour, but it didn’t stop the music for a single minute – we all danced to When the Saints Come Marchin’ In, in the pouring rain. Alors!

As the parade wound to an end so did this visit to Montreal.

I’m already thinking about the next one.

2009 montreal jazz fest – day three: quel tragedie!

July 7, 2009

Personal injuries are very serious business. It’s not nice to make fun of someone else’s misfortune. Let me remind you again: do. not. laugh.


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