• The Montreal Jazz Festival: Day 7, 6/30/11

    July 2, 2011. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    It's a testament to the quantity (250 indoor concerts, 750 outdoor concerts) and quality of music at the Montreal jazzfest that every year I miss more good music than all the good music I get to hear. Concerts I've missed at FIJM 2011 include Paco DeLucia, Milton Nascimento, the Return to Forever reunion, duets of Brad Mehldau with Joshua Redman and Richard Galliano with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the Don Byron gospel band, Regina Carter's Reverse Threads, Pink Martini, and the masters I've always enjoyed best in Montreal: Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett.

    Terez Montcalm, photo courtesy FIJM
    Terez Montcalm, photo courtesy FIJM

    On the seventh day, I meandered. All around Place des Arts I heard some or more of the festival's variety. Holly Cole in the Maisonneuve sounded earthier than I've heard before, like a sultry chanteuse at an exotic roadhouse. Best for me was a heatful song about a train with the tenor player gasping for steam. Terez Montcalm at the Club Soda was sweetly swinging in a tribute to Shirley Horn, with Montreal's master bassist Michel Donato and Shirley's own drummer, Steve Williams. Best for me was a tearfully loving "Isn't It a Pity?"

    Anouar Brahen played the first of three Invitation concerts at the Theatre Duceppe, music too intimate for a stage so big but pulling all of us into the interplay of Brahen's oud (a round-bottomed lute, sounds like dark wine, melancholy even when dancing) with the often dervish-ish Dave Holland on bass and the always tongue-in-cheeky John Surman on bass clarinet and soprano sax. I finished the evening with the straightahead (but angular, inspired by modernists like Alban Berg, also by haiku) quartet of pianist Francois Bourassa.

    -- Michael Bourne

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