• Chano, Wallace, radio.vienna.string.quartet, Lorraine Desmarais wrap-up

    July 3, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Parting thoughts

    Oscar Peterson and Miles Davis as inspirations, a European connection, high production values, beautiful theaters -- this is the Montreal Jazz Festival. All came together on Monday night, June 27, at 8:00. The setting -- Theatre du Nouveau Monde -- is like a Broadway house in modern materials.

    Chano Dominguez
    Chano Dominguez

    The lead artist was Chano Dominguez, pianist from Spain, with his trio, a flamenco dancer and a keening singer. Twentieth century Spanish compositions led into Dominguez's "Flamenco Sketches," an homage to Miles's Kind of Blue through a new prism, with claps rather than snaps. Dominguez is on top of the beat and exciting; he raises off the bench. Joaquim Grillo is the brooding, twirling, black-booted dancer, unpredictable and a little violent as his heel smacks the floor. "Poinciana" was the second encore. An amazing concert!

    Wallace Roney
    Wallace Roney

    I went on to the Salle du Gesu at 10:30 for trumpeter Wallace Roney's sextet. No music, no stands, two hours of intensity, struggle in the music. Stamina was the watchword, and bassist Rahsaan Carter especially showed his. I stayed to the very end, with many others.

    The next day I went on to Ottawa -- two-hours across flat green farmland on a train WITH WIFI. The Ottawa Jazz Festival is much smaller than Montreal. Many artists play both, plus Toronto and Vancouver, all in late July/early July. I saw radio.string.quartet.vienna re-create music from the 1970s by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was "more Kronos than Turtle Island," as my friend Yujin said, and so rehearsed -- again no music reading -- that every moment was strong, each player absorbing. I would attend that concert again! They perform in New York on Saturday, July 10, at 7:30 at the Austrian Cultural Forum, 11 East 52nd St. The website says you might be able to get a ticket just before the show. I say try to see this.

    And finally on Thursday, July 1, we went to see Lorraine Desmarais's Big Band outdoors at the OJF. Her music is optimistic, upward and forward moving, I particularly liked "One for Chick" and another for Bill Evans. There's no messing around between pieces; Ms D ran a tight program, during which the sky went from bright blue to cloud bank delivering shower and back. I stopped by the new, permanent Oscar Peterson statue, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II, just outside the National Arts Center. Photo(s) to come.

    THANK YOU WBGO, MONTREAL AND FRIENDS IN OTTAWA FOR AN OUTSTANDING WEEK!

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