WBGO Blog
  • Montreal Jazz Festival in Photos: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

    July 2, 2011. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM 2011

  • The Montreal Jazz Festival: Day 8, 7/1/11

    July 2, 2011. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    We're broadcasting live on Jazz 88.3 FM and wbgo.org ...

    Bourne by Bennett
    Bourne by Benedetto

    Tony Bennett kicked it off, his only interview of the festival. Have a listen on this very blog. He talks about how much he loves to sing at the jazzfest, how loving is the audience in Montreal. While we talked, he drew me. Again. My seventh portrait by Benedetto. If you don't know that singer Tony Bennett is painter Anthony Benedetto, have a look at the Benedettoarts.com website. His portrait of Louis Armstrong is one of the artworks for sale at the jazzfest gallery in the Place des Arts. The Butler Institute of Art recently included him in a catalog of the best American artists. The National Gallery in DC owns three of his paintings: his portraits of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, also his landscape of Central Park seen from the window of his studio. That his paintings hang in the same museum, on the same walls as his idols, especially John Singer Sargent, means more to Tony than all the Grammy Awards.

    After the radio interview with pianist Jean-Michel Pilc and bassist Francois Moutin about the gig they were playing with drummer Ari Hoenig that evening in the Jesus Room, I wanted to hear that much more the interplay that they talked about. Hoenig's group Punk Bop last year in the Jesus Room was a revelation for me, especially how Hoenig's drums often played the lead, even the melody. They all play the lead and every which way in Trio Pilc Moutin Hoenig. No set list, they said. Out they came, and things happened. Often suddenly -- as if turning mid-air. Always brilliantly -- as if flashing light.

    Trio Pilc Moutin Hoenig
    Trio Pilc Moutin Hoenig

    Pilc at first played tenderly, then they exploded. I've never heard an acoustic trio so incendiary. Pilc's fingers look like sparklers flying across the keyboard. And then, all at once, they're playing "Round Midnight." Hauntingly, as if swallowed by the darkness. Monk showed up quite often, and "Well, You Needn't" out-Monked Monk. Pilc played the melody as if in cracks between the cracks between the keys. Hoenig came out for an encore with a Canadian flag in his hat. Canada Day, it was. Not that they celebrate much in Quebec. Hoenig played a little "Oh, Canada" on his drums. Moutin played a taste of spangled stars. They all played a beautiful "Stella by Starlight."

    Best for me was an almost hallucinogenic "Alice in Wonderland." Actually, nothing "almost" about the music they play. Trio Pilc Moutin Hoenig play deep down the rabbit hole.

    -- Michael Bourne

  • Montreal Jazz Festival in Photos: Tony Bennett

    July 2, 2011. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM 2011

  • Dispatches from Montreal: Phil Woods, Kurt Rosenwinkel and more

    July 2, 2011. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM 2011

    We're not broadcasting today - tune in tomorrow 10a-2pm and Monday 2-6:30pm - but we're still talking to lots of great people. Take a listen below:

    Phil Woods
    Phil Woods

    Susie Arioli
    Susie Arioli

    Michel Donato
    Michel Donato

    Thomas Enhco
    Thomas Enhco

    Kurt Rosenwinkle
    Kurt Rosenwinkel

  • The Montreal Jazz Festival: Day 7, 6/30/11

    July 2, 2011. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    It's a testament to the quantity (250 indoor concerts, 750 outdoor concerts) and quality of music at the Montreal jazzfest that every year I miss more good music than all the good music I get to hear. Concerts I've missed at FIJM 2011 include Paco DeLucia, Milton Nascimento, the Return to Forever reunion, duets of Brad Mehldau with Joshua Redman and Richard Galliano with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the Don Byron gospel band, Regina Carter's Reverse Threads, Pink Martini, and the masters I've always enjoyed best in Montreal: Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett.

    Terez Montcalm, photo courtesy FIJM
    Terez Montcalm, photo courtesy FIJM

    On the seventh day, I meandered. All around Place des Arts I heard some or more of the festival's variety. Holly Cole in the Maisonneuve sounded earthier than I've heard before, like a sultry chanteuse at an exotic roadhouse. Best for me was a heatful song about a train with the tenor player gasping for steam. Terez Montcalm at the Club Soda was sweetly swinging in a tribute to Shirley Horn, with Montreal's master bassist Michel Donato and Shirley's own drummer, Steve Williams. Best for me was a tearfully loving "Isn't It a Pity?"

    Anouar Brahen played the first of three Invitation concerts at the Theatre Duceppe, music too intimate for a stage so big but pulling all of us into the interplay of Brahen's oud (a round-bottomed lute, sounds like dark wine, melancholy even when dancing) with the often dervish-ish Dave Holland on bass and the always tongue-in-cheeky John Surman on bass clarinet and soprano sax. I finished the evening with the straightahead (but angular, inspired by modernists like Alban Berg, also by haiku) quartet of pianist Francois Bourassa.

    -- Michael Bourne