WBGO Blog
  • Bourne In Montreal With Steve Kuhn & Steve Swallow

    July 3, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Pianist Steve Kuhn and bassist Steve Swallow talk with WBGO's Michael Bourne about their trio album on ECM, Wisteria, with drummer Joey Barion, and the trio's performances at the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal. Enjoy!

    Photo by Ulisse Lemerise B
    Photo by Ulisse Lemerise B
  • Bourne's Montreal: Crazy Cows On Canada Day

    July 3, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    I've often said that one testament to the abundance of great music at Montreal's jazzfest is that you miss as many great concerts as all those you get to enjoy.

    Three groups played around the same time in the evening: I heard some of Mucca Pazza on the TD stage, most of Phronesis at L'Astral, all of The Bad Plus at the Gesu.

    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.
    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.

    Mucca Pazza means "crazy cow" in Italian. They're a wacky juggernaut from Chicago, a big band all dressed in colorful uniforms of a college marching band, complete with cheerleaders whirling pom-poms.

    Photo by Frederique Menard Aubin
    Photo by Frederique Menard Aubin

    They reminded me of the Willem Breuker Kollektief, a band of superbly musical clowns that I first heard in Montreal 20 years ago.

    Photo by Frederic Menard Aubin
    Photo by Frederic Menard Aubin

    Mucca Pazza gamboled about the stage with lots of horns, a gypsy-ish violinist, a rock-ish guitarist, and lots of parade drums all playing romping riffs. Serious fun, and what I like to call "very Montreal" ...

    Photo by Frederique Menard Aubin
    Photo by Frederique Menard Aubin

    Phronesis is a Euro-trio: English pianist, Danish bassist, Swedish drummer. They play pretty jazzy tunes -- literally, melodic and swinging -- danced delightfully like whirligigs.

    Phronesis

    The Bad Plus -- pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, drummer Dave King -- filled up the Gesu. I heard them there before, criss-crossing Ornette Coleman and Burt Bacharach covers.

    Photo by Frederique Menard Aubin
    Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich

    This time they played all originals, typically (by them) with rhythmic melodies and melodic rhythms. Reid Anderson was especially droll in his intros and outros.

    Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich
    Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich

    Today was Canada Day -- not that that mattered much in Montreal. I observed little maple leaf flags stuck in a girl's hair -- and that was all the celebration I was aware of.

    I know that something patriotic happens somewhere in the city, but not around the jazzfest. Montreal much more heartily celebrates on June 24th: Quebec Day.

    I've been 21 times to Montreal. I've never been to Canada.

    Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich
    Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich
  • WBGO Live From Montreal: The Very Best of FIJM 2013

    July 2, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO broadcasts live from the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal this week. Wednesday at 2 p.m., Michael Bourne interviews Joel Miller, and Simon Rentner talks with Caravan Palace and Steve Kuhn.

    Their interviews with Jackie TerrassonChris Brubeck, Hilary Kole and Holly Cole, and Remi Bolduc, are all on demand on our blog - and there's much more to come.

    Tune in to WBGO-FM every day this week for the best of this year's FIJM with Benoit Charest, Tia Fuller, Oliver Jones,Charlie Hunter, Chassol, and many others.

    Still hungry? This is Michael's 21st year at the festival, and he's posting daily concert reviews on the blog.

    And WBGO's HD2 channel for new music, the jazz bee, is broadcasting a round-the clock mix of recordings by artists featured at this year's Festival International du Jazz as well.

    Want to discover Quebec's finest jazz men and women? WBGO's Simon Rentner profiles five Montreal jazz standouts for NPR's A Blog Supreme here.

    Enjoy the best of FIJM 2013 with WBGO!

    Charles Lloyd
    Charles Lloyd with Michael Bourne and Simon Rentner

  • Bourne's Montreal Interview With Pianist Jackie Terrasson

    July 2, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Pianist Jackie Terrasson talks with WBGO's Michael Bourne about his new CD, Gouache, and performances at the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal. Enjoy!

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix
  • Bourne's Montreal: Terrasson Catches Fire

    July 1, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    There's nothing quite like starting the day with a fire alarm. 5:30AM. Really, really loud. And relentless. "Evacuate" in English and French. I don't remember the French.

    I was thinking, "Climb down seven flights? Or burn up?"

    hotelfirealarm

    I almost opted for the latter, but then I collected what seemed in a blur were "essentials": passport, wallet with a credit card, Canadian money, American money, and glasses. Thought that jeans and sneakers were enough. Some folks were in pajamas and flip-flops. Some folks were hauling suitcases down the stairs.

    And not the seven flights I assumed from being on the 7th floor. Hyatt Regency reception is five flights above the street. I was gallumphing down 12 flights of stairs. My knees were angry. Really, really loud. And relentless.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    Outside in the street -- Ste. Catherine, main drag of the jazzfest -- folks were grumbling. One story was that someone was smoking and set his room on fire. I heard eventually that someone was smoking and was pumping a fire extinguisher around his room to deodorize the smoke smell. Not realizing that when one pulls a fire extinguisher from the wall, an alarm goes off that there's a fire.

    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.
    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.

    Jazz folks were all around the street. Frank Alkyer, publisher of DownBeat. Tommy LiPuma. Over there was Wayne Shorter. Peter Bernstein by the elevator.

    "Good show at the Jesus," I said to Peter. "Tell Larry that the composer of 'I Never Knew' was Ted Fio Rito." "Who?" said Peter, guitar in hand.

    Squatting was quasi-conscious Jacky Terrasson. "I'm interviewing you today," I said. "What time?" he asked. "Four," I answered. "Good," he said, and we both yawned.

    Do you know where the Gesu is?" he asked me by the Dairy Queen. "Thataway and to the left," I pointed. Almost 17 hours since the fire alarm, Jacky was turned around in the crowd, easily uncertain when meandering through new barricades.

    ULB_Ambiance30062013_019
    Photo by Ulysse Lemerise B.

    Montreal is rebuilding even more around Place des Arts. Where the great cabaret The Spectrum used to be is now an enormous complex being built. Nonetheless, around the corner where it's been for all the 34 years of the jazzfest was the Gesu church.

    A hundred shows I must've enjoyed at the Jesus, and Jacky's trio, with bassist Ben Williams and drummer Justin Faulkner, played one of the best.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    They mostly deconstructed, upended, sidestepped, and reconstructed songs. "Besame Mucho." "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." "Caravan." "Love for Sale." Jacky writhed and bounced at the piano, even howled from time to time, enjoying himself. Often the trio suddenly shifted down a tempo or re-vamped a melody.

    Photo by Denis Alix
    Photo by Denis Alix

    They must've orchestrated musical moves so quick, yet the always colorful kaleidoscope they were playing always felt spontaneous. And for one of the encores that the several standing ovations inspired, Justin Faulkner conducted an audience finger-snap-along.

    terrasson3
    Photo by Denis Alix