July 16, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
FIJM's first jazz day begins at 11 a.m. with La Petite Ecole du Jazz, an annual “little school” of jazz for kids set up in the middle of Montreal's enormous Complexe Desjardins mall.
And all through the day, noon-midnight, shows happen outdoors: school bands, street bands, gypsy bands, blues bands, and plenty of singers.
What was once an artery of traffic alongside Place des Arts is now the avenue-long Deambulatoire, the walkway of Place des Spectacles — where something is always happening.
Mountebanks (jugglers, tumblers, stilt-walkers, and other colorful clowns) perform. Periodic fountains burst up from the street for kids to wetly dance around and in. And all the while, countless thousands of folks eat and drink, meander and listen.
I’m amused especially when a NOLA-style brass band, the Swing Torque Jazz Band, plays trad classics at one end of the street, while at the other end is a group that’s been playing the festival for most of FIJM’s 35 years: Streetnix.
Streetnix plays everything -- from Mingus (“II BS”) and the Average White Band (“Pick Up The Pieces”) to pop songs (“La Vie en Rose”). And then they march down the walkway into an Ives-ian showdown with the Moldy Figs.
When the two groups meet in the middle of the Deambulatoire, full-tilt New Orleans brassiness ensues as the crowd sings along and dances.
© 2014 WBGO
July 15, 2014. Posted by Michael Bourne.
“So what music are you most looking forward to hearing?” someone wondered when I first walked into the press room of the Maison du Festival.
“I don’t know,” I said, truly. “Whoever is playing...”
I come to the Montreal Jazz Festival every year -- but not so much for the jazz. I come for the festival, and for all the wonderful people who make the festival happen. The programmers. The press corps. They’re truly for me... loved ones.
And the music IS always good, and even great – a bon festival indeed.
FIJM, le Festival International de JAZZ de Montreal, is the biggest (sez Guinness) and the best (sez me) jazz festival in the world. Here's FIJM 2014 by the numbers:
35 jazzfests for Montreal, 22 jazzfests for moi… 12 days of music, more than 800 concerts, enjoyed by 2 million festgoers on 11 free outdoor stages, 14 ticketed indoor stages, and a boat…
400 accredited media, including me and producer Simon Rentner from WBGO, from 20 countries, including 5 live radio broadcasters - three from France, and KJazz and XM/Sirius from the U.S..
All the music happens within walking distance in and around Montreal's Place des Arts. And, for me, this year better than ever, I actually enjoyed walking all the distance.
Montreal literally translates "Royal Mountain" -- and for someone knee-challenged like me, Montreal is agonizingly-hilled. Just the hill only a block UP from the Hyatt hotel to the Maison du Festival is gruntful.
Which is why I got in better shape for this year's FIJM. No carbs or sugar for 40 days, my own personal Jazz Lent. I lost about 25 pounds, and, as if training for a Jazz Olympics, I walked aplenty.
Plus, all the walking up (and down) worked off all the carbs and sugar I enjoyed so much during the jazzfest.
Especially all the pizzas at one or the other Pizzedelic, always with a Quebecois biere rousse.
© 2014 WBGO
June 18, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade perform live at WBGO and talk with Rhonda Hamilton about Perez's album Panama 500. The trio, all alumni of saxophonist Wayne Shorter's band, will perform as "Children Of The Light" at the Blue Note in New York June 18 through 22. Enjoy!
© 2014 WBGO