• Bourne's Montreal: Prizes For Charles Lloyd, Holly Cole

    June 30, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Charles Lloyd was honored with the jazzfest's annual Miles Davis Award, a very heavy statue of Miles playing.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    And right away Charles started telling stories... about knowing Miles and playing with Miles, about growing up in Memphis and playing gigs as a kid, with piano legend Phineas Newborn Jr, with hometown blues masters like Bobby Bland and Roscoe Gordon.

    Each of the stories whirled into another, delightfully. "You tell stories like you play," said the jazzfest's artistic director, Andre Menard.

    Charles_Lloyd@FIJM_Denis ALix007-9
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Charles Lloyd is one of this year's Invitees, playing three concerts with three groups: one with a quartet, another with the trio Sangam, and duets with guitarist Bill Frisell and pianist Jason Moran.

    Charles_Lloyd@FIJM_Denis ALix007-82
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Holly Cole was honored with the festival's annual tribute to a singer: the Ella Fitzgerald Award. She's performed at the Jazzfest 25 times through the years, and I've attended plenty of her concerts, each with a different feeling, all with her great style and, whatever she sings, serious jazziness.

    Holly_Cole@FIJM_Denis ALix008-34
    Photo by Denis Alix

    I remember especially an encore from a show in the 90's, a heart-breaking "Tennessee Waltz." I also enjoyed her last gig at FIJM, when the band was bluesier and her singing was earthier, a show feeling like a 50's movie, with Holly like Jane Russell as the chanteuse of a swank-ish joint in Macao.

    This year she sang three shows at the Theatre Nouveau Monde. "J'aime Montreal!" she beamed when handed the mounted microphone that's Ella's award. "I love the spirit of this city so much!"

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    She mostly sang songs from her newest album, Night, a record typically eclectically surprising. A doo-wop-ish (but hipper) "I Only Have Eyes for You." A brisk whirligig of "Charade." A dramatic "You Only Live Twice."

    She learned Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" ("If You Go Away") from her father, and he was there for her triumph. She swung "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," complete with a litany of other sensations of love: a poke in the eye, a stick in the spokes.

    So much of her signature is the unexpected twist of her arrangements, and her band played through all the twists with gusto. Several highlights featured guitarist (and electric mandolinist) Kevin Breitt, especially a funky "Waters of March."

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Joined at the climax by a gospel choir, The Praise and Worship Crew, she revisited one of her first hits, "I Can See Clearly Now." And most joyous was an encore of "Whistling Past The Graveyard."

    All the while each of her cats romped through ecstatic solos -- the electrifying Kevin Breitt, monster bassist George Koller, drummer Davide DiRenzo, saxophonist Johnny Johnson, and, with a final mini-rhapsody, her long-time pianist Aaron Davis -- Holly Cole smiled her heart out.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

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