Jun 25, 2013
The summer jazz festival season kicks off on a high note with the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, which begins its 34th run from June 28th to July 7th. Besides presenting a series of top notch ticketed concerts, the Festival prides itself on sharing the wealth – one of their themes this year is “10 stages, 300 concerts, 3000 artists – all free.” The Festival itself will be dedicated to great pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who had a long history with the event.
Highlights include performances by a wide range of artists encompassing jazz, blues, world music and beyond: Aretha Franklin, Wayne Shorter, Chucho Valdés, George Benson, Oliver Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, John Abercrombie, Ravi Coltrane, Bill Frisell, Holly Cole, Trombone Shorty, Jason Moran doing a “Fats Waller Dance Party”, and Gregory Porter. Rock fans will be able to catch Lyle Lovett, Chris Isaak, Boz Scaggs, a double bill of Dr. John and Leon Russell, and so many more. The Invitation TD series includes a pair of three-night runs hosted first by Charles Lloyd, then by Vijay Iyer. One of the highlights from the many performances on the outdoor stages will be Lorraine Klaasen’s “Tribute to Miriam Makeba”, twenty years after her first Festival visit.
It’s all too much to take in over ten days, so if you go, plot your course carefully, and be open to new and exciting music. There is so much more than music- the Galerie Lounge TD, located in the exhibition hall of Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, Place des Arts, offers a treasure trove of works by artists from every provenance who share a common passion for jazz during the Festival, and there are a large number of Festival boutiques and restaurants. And of course, there is the backdrop of the wonderful city of Montréal.
Podcast 357 captures just a few of the musical performers who will appear in the Festival, including:
Aretha Franklin – “Crazy He Calls Me” from Aretha’s Jazz. From that brief period before she was the Queen of Soul….
Lorraine Klaasen – “Pata Pata” from A Tribute to Miriam Makeba.”Mama Africa” is warmly remembered on this CD, which includes this tune that became an unlikely crossover American radio hit in 1967, more than ten years after she wrote the song. Backing Ms. Klaasen are Sebastian Andre Whiternan on bass, Assane Seck on guitar, and Moise Matey-Yawo on percussion.
Wayne Shorter Quartet – “UFO” from Without a Net. The first Blue Note album in years comes as Wayne celebrates his birthday. The Quartet is Shorter on sax, Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums.
Joshua Redman – “Last Glimpse of Gotham” from Walking Shadows. Redman is featuring with a string section at the Festival, playing a mix of standards and more modern tunes.
Charles Lloyd & Jason Moran – “Rosetta” from Hagar’s Song. They’ll be leading two separate bands, but their duet album released earlier this year on ECM is a delight.
Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers – “Santa Cruz” from Border-Free. One of the great Cuban pianists of all-time makes an appearance as well. “Santa Cruz,” written in 1986, is a flamenco-tinged piece dedicated to Santi, a guitarist Chucho met from the Canary Islands.