• The Montreal Jazz Festival: last day, 4th of July

    July 5, 2011. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Happy Birthday to WBGO VP of programming Thurston Briscoe, celebrating with us at the jazzfest.

    The B-52s
    The B-52s close out the festival

    And mercy buckets to WBGO tech wizard David Tallacksen. For engineering our broadcast from the Maison du Festival videoteque. (Have a look at the Becca Pulliam video tour of the videoteque.) For the photographs and videos. (Have a look at Jake Shimabukuro, the Jimi Hendrix of the ukelele, flabbergastingly live on the show.) For administering all of our blogs. (When I first came to Montreal 20 years ago, blogs were not yet invented. And no e-mail. And no instant video.) Whenever David clicks something and techno-magic happens, I feel downright Neanderthal.

    WBGO's David Tallacksen, usually behind the camera
    WBGO's David Tallacksen, usually behind the camera

    Curiously, ironically maybe, the only music I did not enjoy much (if at all) bookended the jazzfest. Robert Plant on the first night was artistically interesting more than musically compelling. The B-52's on the last night, party though it was, with countless thousands dancing and singing along to hits I never heard before, were for me only loudly lame. Fred, the lead singer, on the Jumbotron looks like a creep you warn children about.

    One-third of the Pilc Moutin Hoenig Trio - Francois Moutin
    One-third of the Pilc Moutin Hoenig Trio - Francois Moutin

    Best for me at the world's best jazz festival:

    Diana Krall, solo, with her loving reminiscence of Fats Waller and other songs she learned as a child from her mom and dad.And all the concerts at Gesu, Centre de Creativite -- that I will always call the Jesus Room: Brad Mehldau solo, George Wein and Anat Cohen, Phil Woods and Grace Kelly, pianist Francois Bourassa, especially the kaleidoscopic Trio Pilc/Moutin/Hoenig and the fun finale of Cyrus Chestnut.

    I've been traveling to music festivals since Woodstock, and I've been to most of the best jazzfests around the world, but musically, artistically, philosophically, and professionally there's none better than FIJM, and no other festival is operated by folks so lovingly as everyone (especially the press folks) of Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.

    Next year will be my 20th. Je reviendrai a Montreal ...

    --Michael Bourne

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