WBGO Blog
  • Bourne's Montreal: Terrasson Catches Fire

    July 1, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    There's nothing quite like starting the day with a fire alarm. 5:30AM. Really, really loud. And relentless. "Evacuate" in English and French. I don't remember the French.

    I was thinking, "Climb down seven flights? Or burn up?"

    hotelfirealarm

    I almost opted for the latter, but then I collected what seemed in a blur were "essentials": passport, wallet with a credit card, Canadian money, American money, and glasses. Thought that jeans and sneakers were enough. Some folks were in pajamas and flip-flops. Some folks were hauling suitcases down the stairs.

    And not the seven flights I assumed from being on the 7th floor. Hyatt Regency reception is five flights above the street. I was gallumphing down 12 flights of stairs. My knees were angry. Really, really loud. And relentless.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Outside in the street -- Ste. Catherine, main drag of the jazzfest -- folks were grumbling. One story was that someone was smoking and set his room on fire. I heard eventually that someone was smoking and was pumping a fire extinguisher around his room to deodorize the smoke smell. Not realizing that when one pulls a fire extinguisher from the wall, an alarm goes off that there's a fire.

    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.
    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.

    Jazz folks were all around the street. Frank Alkyer, publisher of DownBeat. Tommy LiPuma. Over there was Wayne Shorter. Peter Bernstein by the elevator.

    "Good show at the Jesus," I said to Peter. "Tell Larry that the composer of 'I Never Knew' was Ted Fio Rito." "Who?" said Peter, guitar in hand.

    Squatting was quasi-conscious Jacky Terrasson. "I'm interviewing you today," I said. "What time?" he asked. "Four," I answered. "Good," he said, and we both yawned.

    Do you know where the Gesu is?" he asked me by the Dairy Queen. "Thataway and to the left," I pointed. Almost 17 hours since the fire alarm, Jacky was turned around in the crowd, easily uncertain when meandering through new barricades.

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    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.

    Montreal is rebuilding even more around Place des Arts. Where the great cabaret The Spectrum used to be is now an enormous complex being built. Nonetheless, around the corner where it's been for all the 34 years of the jazzfest was the Gesu church.

    A hundred shows I must've enjoyed at the Jesus, and Jacky's trio, with bassist Ben Williams and drummer Justin Faulkner, played one of the best.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    They mostly deconstructed, upended, sidestepped, and reconstructed songs. "Besame Mucho." "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." "Caravan." "Love for Sale." Jacky writhed and bounced at the piano, even howled from time to time, enjoying himself. Often the trio suddenly shifted down a tempo or re-vamped a melody.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    They must've orchestrated musical moves so quick, yet the always colorful kaleidoscope they were playing always felt spontaneous. And for one of the encores that the several standing ovations inspired, Justin Faulkner conducted an audience finger-snap-along.

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    Photo by Denis Alix

  • Bourne's Montreal Interview With Charles Lloyd

    July 1, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd talks with WBGO's Michael Bourne about his career, musical development and experiences at the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal, where he received the Miles Davis Award. Enjoy!

    Charles_Lloyd@FIJM_Denis ALix007-9
    Photo by Denis Alix

  • Bourne's Montreal Interview With Singer Holly Cole

    July 1, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Singer Holly Cole talks with WBGO's Michael Bourne about her experiences at the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal, where she has performed more than twenty times and was honored this year with the Ella Fitzgerald award. Enjoy!

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix
  • Bourne's Montreal Interview With Singer Hilary Kole

    July 1, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Singer Hilary Kole talks with WBGO's Michael Bourne at the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal about her career, return to recording, and experiences with pianist Dave Brubeck, who is honored at this year's festival. Enjoy!

    interview_kole_669

  • Bourne's Montreal: Saxophones Galore & Organ Grooves

    July 1, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Saturday, and the multitude of fest-goers appears all around Place des Arts.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    My own multitude of things to do begins with an interview. Charles Lloyd amazes me. His memory is phenomenal, especially for someone who's been so many theres and done so many thats.

    Charles Lloyd with Michael Bourne and Simon Rentner
    Charles Lloyd with Michael Bourne and Simon Rentner

    Just talking about music, in 20 minutes he was remembering playing more than 70 years -- and remembering the countless masters and friends he's played with, learned from, been inspired by, or just known since then: Miles Davis, Chico Hamilton, Bela Bartok, Phineas Newborn Jr, Bobby Bland, Roscoe Gordon, Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Michel Petrucianni, Howlin' Wolf, and The Beach Boys. Among stellar musical others.

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    Photo by Denis Alix

    Charles seems to be quite comfortable at the center of his universe. And just for a twist, only minutes after listening to Charles tell a story about when he was 13 and was playing with Bobby Bland, a blues band on one of the bigger scenes plays the first of Bobby's greatest hits: "Further On Up The Road."

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    Photo by Jimmy Katz

    Montreal is just up the road from New York, a flight of an hour and change -- but it feels like Europe. Without the jet lag. Lots of music resounds from noon to midnight, indoors and outdoors. Highlights for me from Saturday night: Joshua Redman, with a quartet and strings at the Symphonic Hall, played mostly (and beautifully) ballads from his newest album.

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    Photo by Denis Alix

    Wayne Shorter was celebrating his 80th birthday with a 4-hour concert at a theatre next door. "It's a special purgatory for me," said Joshua to the audience, filled to spectacular rafters. "I can't go hear Wayne Shorter. And," he laughed, "why are you all here?" Joshua's quartet with strings at least played Shorter's "Infant Eyes" exquisitely, and Joshua's a cappella verse into "Stardust" was likewise.

    Wayne Shorter by ULB
    Wayne Shorter by ULB

    Gesu Centre de Creativité, or, as I always say, "The Jesus," is my favorite festival venue in Montreal, an intimate theatre in the Gesu church on a block off the Place des Arts. Whoever is playing at 10:30, the "Jazz dans la nuit" concerts, I go and I enjoy.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Hard to believe, but organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and drummer Bill Stewart have been playing together more than 20 years. And it shows in the lively interplay that, for an organ trio, swings more than grooves.

    Bill Stewart by Denis Alix
    Bill Stewart by Denis Alix

    "I Never Knew" was a charmer early on. "We've been playing this for years," said Larry, "but I don't know who wrote it." (Gus Kahn and Ted Fio Rito in 1925.) Jobim's "Luiza" was a gorgeous treat. And an encore of "The Acrobat" was especially... acrobatic.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Peter Bernstein by Denis Alix