WBGO Blog
  • Montreal Jazz Festival 2012: Why Montreal?

    July 7, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    WBGO’S Simon Rentner concludes his broadcast coverage of the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal by asking a simple question:  Why Montreal?  Festival Co-Founder and Artistic Director André Ménard and Vice President of Programming Laurent Saulnier have their answers.  Plus, Canadian musicians Peter Appleyard and Claude St-Jean chime in.

    Cool Laurent Saulnier

  • Montreal Jazz Festival 2012: Does Canada Have a Jazz Sound?

    July 7, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    WBGO's Simon Rentner, reporting from the last day from Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, asks: Does Canadian Jazz Have A Sound?  Artistic Director and Jazz Festival co-founder André Ménard (above), Canadian singer Sonia Johnson, and our own Michael Bourne answer that question.

    FIJM 2009_CP_salles_0509_43 Jean-François Leblanc

  • Joey Calderazzo and Aaron Parks Find Synergy and Space on 176 Keys

    July 4, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Burn down the "Jesus Room."  That doesn't sound good, but that's exactly what Joey Calderazzo and Aaron Parks accomplished at Montreal's Gesu Centre de Creativite on Gershwin's “Liza,” the last tune of the evening.  These two pianists -- unfamiliar with each other and separated by two generations -- started a bit more mild, warming up on Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way."  But immediately the natural chemistry was there. Ten fingers on 176 keys can often be a handful on the ears. But they avoided the pitfalls of playing over each other, avoiding any chaotic clutter.  Instead, they coalesced into one sound, a single expression. They even hummed together.  It's these moments where the magic of jazz can be so spellbinding.   Two virtuosos came together for random interplay, left their egos behind, and created beautiful, unselfish music. Calderazzo humbly bragged that they only rehearsed once together, only 45 minutes before show time. Despite these straining odds, they were able to find moments of relaxation, pause, and space during the concert. They shared their common interest in the music of Keith Jarrett ("Rainbows”). But the high point of the show for me was Aaron Parks playing solo on Duke Ellington's "Melancholia."  That's the moment my heart skipped and a small tear crept in my eye.

    Joey Calderazzo and Aaron Parks