Montreal Readies for Liftoff
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal prepares for liftoff of its 34th edition this Friday, June 28, with more than 150 indoor concerts and 300-plus outdoor shows.
While the fest delves headlong into a broad range of music beyond the jazz realm, never fear. This year’s 10-day musical explosion includes a range of artists to appeal to any taste.
One of the pick hits for this edition will be seeing Charles Lloyd in a variety of musical settings as the focal point of the festival’s Invitation series. On June 28, the Charles Lloyd Quartet (with Jason Moran on piano, Reuben Rogers on bass and Eric Harland on drums) helps kick off the festival. June 29 features Lloyd in the Sangam project, a trio with Harland and Zakir Hussain that was originally conceived as a tribute to drummer Billy Higgins. Lloyd completes the series on June 30 in a set of intimate duos and trios with Moran and guitarist Bill Frisell.
But that’s just the appetizer on this 10-day feast of a fest. On opening night, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis continues its 25th anniversary barnstorming tour. Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers will have attendees dancing in their seats. And while the masses look forward to Feist as the free opening concert, the jazz-ified choices are plentiful—Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane Quartet and the Barry Harris Trio, to name a few.
Big names abound throughout the festival. Wayne Shorter continues his 80th birthday celebration on June 29. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue brings their brand of stadium jazz to Club Soda on June 30. And DownBeat’s Rising Star Jazz Artist of the Year, vocalist Gregory Porter, will deliver the goods on July 1. And then there are performances by Joshua Redman, George Benson, John Abercrombie and a three-night run by Vijay Iyer in a variety of musical settings.
The festival always delivers Canada’s incredible talent base. This year features performances by vocalists Holly Cole and Nikki Yanofsky, guitarists Alain Caron and Jordan Officer, composer and saxophonist Christine Jensen (with a little help from her sister, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen) and the Hutchinson Andrew Trio. But the Canadian highlight this year might just be the solo piano performance of Montreal’s own Oliver Jones on July 5.
Festival organizers have dedicated this year’s fest to the memory of pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who passed away on Dec. 5, 2012. Brubeck played the festival 14 times.
Check out the complete musical schedule for this year’s festival at montrealjazzfest.com.