• Bourne's Montreal: Saxophones Galore & Organ Grooves

    July 1, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Saturday, and the multitude of fest-goers appears all around Place des Arts.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    My own multitude of things to do begins with an interview. Charles Lloyd amazes me. His memory is phenomenal, especially for someone who's been so many theres and done so many thats.

    Charles Lloyd with Michael Bourne and Simon Rentner
    Charles Lloyd with Michael Bourne and Simon Rentner

    Just talking about music, in 20 minutes he was remembering playing more than 70 years -- and remembering the countless masters and friends he's played with, learned from, been inspired by, or just known since then: Miles Davis, Chico Hamilton, Bela Bartok, Phineas Newborn Jr, Bobby Bland, Roscoe Gordon, Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Michel Petrucianni, Howlin' Wolf, and The Beach Boys. Among stellar musical others.

    Lloydsangam1
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Charles seems to be quite comfortable at the center of his universe. And just for a twist, only minutes after listening to Charles tell a story about when he was 13 and was playing with Bobby Bland, a blues band on one of the bigger scenes plays the first of Bobby's greatest hits: "Further On Up The Road."

    redmankatz1
    Photo by Jimmy Katz

    Montreal is just up the road from New York, a flight of an hour and change -- but it feels like Europe. Without the jet lag. Lots of music resounds from noon to midnight, indoors and outdoors. Highlights for me from Saturday night: Joshua Redman, with a quartet and strings at the Symphonic Hall, played mostly (and beautifully) ballads from his newest album.

    WAYNEALIX2
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Wayne Shorter was celebrating his 80th birthday with a 4-hour concert at a theatre next door. "It's a special purgatory for me," said Joshua to the audience, filled to spectacular rafters. "I can't go hear Wayne Shorter. And," he laughed, "why are you all here?" Joshua's quartet with strings at least played Shorter's "Infant Eyes" exquisitely, and Joshua's a cappella verse into "Stardust" was likewise.

    Wayne Shorter by ULB
    Wayne Shorter by ULB

    Gesu Centre de Creativité, or, as I always say, "The Jesus," is my favorite festival venue in Montreal, an intimate theatre in the Gesu church on a block off the Place des Arts. Whoever is playing at 10:30, the "Jazz dans la nuit" concerts, I go and I enjoy.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Hard to believe, but organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and drummer Bill Stewart have been playing together more than 20 years. And it shows in the lively interplay that, for an organ trio, swings more than grooves.

    Bill Stewart by Denis Alix
    Bill Stewart by Denis Alix

    "I Never Knew" was a charmer early on. "We've been playing this for years," said Larry, "but I don't know who wrote it." (Gus Kahn and Ted Fio Rito in 1925.) Jobim's "Luiza" was a gorgeous treat. And an encore of "The Acrobat" was especially... acrobatic.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Peter Bernstein by Denis Alix

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