• The Montreal Jazz Festival: Day 7, 6/30/11

    July 2, 2011. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    It's a testament to the quantity (250 indoor concerts, 750 outdoor concerts) and quality of music at the Montreal jazzfest that every year I miss more good music than all the good music I get to hear. Concerts I've missed at FIJM 2011 include Paco DeLucia, Milton Nascimento, the Return to Forever reunion, duets of Brad Mehldau with Joshua Redman and Richard Galliano with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the Don Byron gospel band, Regina Carter's Reverse Threads, Pink Martini, and the masters I've always enjoyed best in Montreal: Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett.

    Terez Montcalm, photo courtesy FIJM
    Terez Montcalm, photo courtesy FIJM

    On the seventh day, I meandered. All around Place des Arts I heard some or more of the festival's variety. Holly Cole in the Maisonneuve sounded earthier than I've heard before, like a sultry chanteuse at an exotic roadhouse. Best for me was a heatful song about a train with the tenor player gasping for steam. Terez Montcalm at the Club Soda was sweetly swinging in a tribute to Shirley Horn, with Montreal's master bassist Michel Donato and Shirley's own drummer, Steve Williams. Best for me was a tearfully loving "Isn't It a Pity?"

    Anouar Brahen played the first of three Invitation concerts at the Theatre Duceppe, music too intimate for a stage so big but pulling all of us into the interplay of Brahen's oud (a round-bottomed lute, sounds like dark wine, melancholy even when dancing) with the often dervish-ish Dave Holland on bass and the always tongue-in-cheeky John Surman on bass clarinet and soprano sax. I finished the evening with the straightahead (but angular, inspired by modernists like Alban Berg, also by haiku) quartet of pianist Francois Bourassa.

    -- Michael Bourne

  • The Montreal Jazz Festival: Day 6, 6/29/11

    July 2, 2011. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    I`m still catching up, typing about Day 6 on Day 9. There`s so much happening always and all ways in Montreal.
    More pizza.
    More people.
    More music.
    All great.

    Hilary Kole played the festival`s own jazz joint, L`Astral. She was virtually voiceless from bronchitis, but performing is anesthetizing, and, other than a slight (maybe even sexy) raspiness, Hilary was singing (especially a smoldering "Come Back To Me") and even playing piano with oodles of chops and charms.

    Darcy James Argue Secret Society, photo courtesy FIJM

    Darcy James Argue and his Secret Society orchestra played his historically inspired and politically intensified music in the Jesus Room. Argue`s earnestness in talking about the tragedy of Robespierre in the past or an innocent unjustly tortured as a terrorist in the present comes through his music. Argue orchestrates like a painter`s lines of color or a sculptor`s shapes and turns. "Habeas Corpus" created almost visual images for me, as if composed by Seurat with (instead of colorful dots) repeated points of sound around the orchestra. "Transit" scooted this way and that as trumpeter Ingrid Jensen burst through the rush.
    Every year at FIJM I hear music (usually in the Jesus Room) that re-defines or re-invigorates what jazz is or can be, and one of this year`s inspired (and inspiring) twists of the kaleidoscope came from Argue`s Secret Society.

  • Montreal Jazz Festival in Photos: Jeremy Pelt

    July 2, 2011. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM 2011

    Jeremy Pelt and Wired played at L'Astral, the club in the Maison du Jazz. Frank Locrasto on keyboards, the bassist is Burniss Earl Travis, the drummer is Dana Hawkins. There was a nice crowd and I saw the end of the set -- Jeremy all alone on "Don't You Know I Care" morphing into "The Things We Did Last Summer," then everybody in for "Scorpio." That's the first music in this piece made from my interview with Jeremy, June 30, 2011.