• The Montreal Jazz Festival: Day 10, 7/3/11

    July 5, 2011. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Terez Montcalm
    Terez Montcalm

    I finally interviewed my favorite Quebecoise jazz (and pop) singer: Terez Montcalm.

    Maisonneuve: Emilie-Claire Barlow. Never heard of, but she's "the rising star of Canadian jazz," sez the jazzfest program, "a sweeter Diana Krall." Not at all Diana-like. Not as soulful. Not as swinging. But, yes, sweet. Singing from a new album, "The Beat Goes On," 60's pop songs -- "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," -- charmingly, jazzingly. And, filling a big hall with cheering fans, yes, a rising star.

    China Moses
    China Moses

    L'Astral: China Moses, daughter of Dee Dee Bridgewater. Loves hip-hop. Sings soul in France. Sings a tribute to Dinah Washington on a new album with pianist Raphael Lemmonier. She laughs like her mother, bedazzles like her mother, is as beautiful, and sings with razor-sharp chops -- like her mother. She told stories (en Francais, rapide) between all the Dinah songs -- "Fat Daddy," "Mad About The Boy," a funny/angry "Mean Gal Blues," "Lover Come Back to Me" (also, like Dinah, rapide) -- with a golden scarf like an elegant whip.

    Cyrus Chestnut
    Cyrus Chestnut

    Gesu: Cyrus Chestnut played one of the most purely entertaining jazz concerts of the festival. Chestnut's trio, with bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Neal Smith, remembered Billy Taylor and Ray Bryant (a whimsical "Tonk") but mostly, delightfully, ventured variously. A Chopin prelude -- "but I changed the key," said Cyrus. A deep reverie of "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" that somehow blossomed from the thinking theme of Jeopardy. "Thank You for Letting Me Be Mice Elf," and some Bach, and some blues. Douglas always anchoring. Smith in every pocket. They played an encore blues, and Chestnut worked up an earthquake of keys so thrilling I thought the piano was about to explode. Only to be resolved by one perfect plink. "If we put a smile on your face, we hope you hang on to that feeling," said Cyrus. I'm still smiling.

    -- Michael Bourne

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