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