• Bourne's Montreal Moments With Lovett, Swallow & More

    July 5, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    There comes a moment at every jazzfest in Montreal. I'll be walking along Place des Arts, and I'll hear music that stops me.

    Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich
    Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich

    Last year it was a trombonist in a college band, playing with a sound too deep and beautiful for someone so young. This year it was a singer singing "Skylark" on the outdoor Rio Tinto Alcan stage.

    I walked around to the front for a look. She was young. So were all the players in the big band from the college Lionel-Groulx. About equally young women and men. All swinging.

    Young Musicians From Montreal's College Lionel Groulx
    Young Musicians From Montreal's College Lionel Groulx

    I forget which Ellington song they played next, but I remember the sureness of the singer's voice, and I remember the handsome, bearded, 20-something tenor saxist soloing. I could hear him thinking through the changes. I could hear him, hear all of them, learning to know how. Another generation of jazz. All swinging.

    kuhntrio01
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Another Montreal Moment: Steve Kuhn, Steve Swallow, and Joey Baron played one of Swallow's hipper tunes, "Ladies in Mercedes."

    "What color was the Mercedes?" hollered someone in the audience.

    "I don't know," said Swallow. "I wasn't looking at the Mercedes."

    Photo by David Tallacksen
    Photo by David Tallacksen

    One more Montreal Moment: Lyle Lovett played and sang quasi-country songs and quasi-bluegrass. He also explained the difference:

    "Country songs," he said, "can bring you down." "Bluegrass," he said, "can kill you."

    Photo by David Tallacksen
    Photo by David Tallacksen

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