Saturday, June 25, 2011

32nd Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, June 25-July 4

Although Prince got things off to an early start with a show last night, today is the official start of the 32nd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. 

Over the course of the festival's ten days, the festival will present more than a thousand concerts and activities, of which 750 are free outdoor shows. The free stages are all centralized around the downtown core, which in spite of some construction is still convenient and accessible.

They will have their usual huge free outdoor bashes which take place this year at the TD stage in the Place des Festivals including tonight's opener Ben l’Oncle Soul. At the Festival’s mid-point on Tuesday, June 28, the Special Electro-Jazz Event takes place with Misteur Valaire. Then wrapping things up on Monday, July 4 for the TD Grand Closing Event in collaboration with XM Canada will be the legendary party band The B‑52s.

Other highlights from this year's jazz festival include Tony Bennett, Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, Paco de Lucia, Don Mclean and America, Sade, Caged Funk, Return to Forever IV, Madeleine Peyroux, Marianne Faithfull, kd lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Robert Plant, Montrealer Nikki Yanofsky, and Blue Rodeo.

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal continues to grow since its first edition in 1980 and is now considered the largest jazz festival in the world.

The free outdoor program of the 32nd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

More than 750 free outdoor concerts
in addition to 250 indoor concerts

In total, more than 1000 concerts and activities await fans at the 32nd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan! From June 25 to July 4, multiple musical celebrations, free outdoor mega-events, some thirty concert series, about fifty shows per day and a carnival’s worth of entertainment and activities illuminate the downtown core of Montreal. Montrealers and their guests will find something for every conceivable taste in the wild array of diversity presented annually by the Festival. Legends from here and abroad, newcomers to the music scene, rising stars and undeniable icons all gather in our city, whether solo, as stars of a megaconcert, in minimalist combos or Big Bands, all pouring themselves into the heartbeat of the largest and greatest jazz festival in the world. It’s an impressive free outdoor program in the heart of a city in tune with jazz, blues and world music, including a musical park for children, concerts, activities and entertainment, every day, from noon to midnight. Do the math: it’s 10 days of musical pleasure.

You will of course have noticed that construction is going full steam ahead on Ste. Catherine St. and will not be finished before the event opens. Therefore, we invite all Festival fans to use the main entrance to the site, now located on De Maisonneuve Blvd. (in front of Saint-Laurent Metro), even though Ste. Catherine St. remains accessible to pedestrians. Fans can also discover the brand new Promenade des Artistes, extending along De Maisonneuve Blvd, from Jeanne-Mance St. to Saint Urbain St., where they’ll find the Rio Tinto Alcan stage, as well as many of the activities usually located on Ste. Catherine St.

Three massive free outdoor parties

Every year, the Festival invites its loyal fans to the traditional series of magnificent free outdoor bashes that have built its international reputation. The TD stage in the Place des Festivals is the place to be at 9:30 p.m. for three blowouts, starting on Saturday, June 25 with the Rio Tinto Alcan Grand Opening Event starring French sensation Ben l’Oncle Soul; at the Festival’s mid-point, Tuesday, June 28, for the Special Electro-Jazz Event with Misteur Valaire; and closing things out on Monday, July 4 with the TD Grand Closing Event in collaboration with XM Canada starring legendary party band The B‑52s. The party is headed to the Place des Festivals!

A cornucopia of concerts and entertainment

TD stage (Place des Festivals)
On the main stage, aside from the Grands événements, the Festival welcomes the Performances TD series, presented at 9 p.m. and once again at 11 p.m. Here, fans can party with the Soul Rebels Brass Band (June 26), who caused a sensation during the Grande soirée Mardi Gras closing the Festival last year, rolling out an irresistible carnival of funk, rock and reggae with a shot of hip hop, steeped in the jazz traditions of their native New Orleans; Galactic (June 27), a UMO (Unidentified Musical Object) appearing as a sextet of funkateers from Louisiana-one of the best jam bands in the U.S.-and landing on Planet Jazz to zap us with spatial electronica laced with intergalactic hip hop and cosmic rock; Ima (June 29), on a non-stop success streak (more than 225,000 albums sold), racking up platinum (Smile) and gold (a la vida !, Christmas) certifications, and who’s just released an album sung entirely in English, Precious; La Excelencia (June 30), THE best salsa group in New York, turning the Place des Festivals into a gigantic dancefloor; Marco Calliari (July 1), our fave Italo-Quebecer, finally headlining the Festival’s main stage and bringing us the hot and happening rhythms of his 3rd album, Al Faro Est, as a bonus; Susie Arioli (July 2), winner of the 2008 Oscar Peterson Award, one of Quebec’s most authentic jazz sirens and darling of this Festival, returning to our stage by popular demand, in a special Festival concert with guest musicians; and Gizelle Smith (July 3), the English sensation of the hour, the hottest new discovery in soul, the undeniable Golden Girl of deep funk, offering a unifying, lively, energy-packed concert.

Of course, fans can flock to the very same stage a little earlier, at 6 p.m., when the Gammes TD series hosts artists including young pianist and composer Laïla Biali (June 29), the new face of contemporary jazz, who has toured 5 continents and played alongside artists as diverse as Suzanne Vega and Sting, as well as in venues as prestigious as Carnegie Hall; Parc-X Trio (June 30), winners of the 2010 Grand Jazz Award, whose originality and stage presence are as much a trademark as their savvy blend of jazz, world music, classical and pop, as evidenced on Cent questions sans réponse, a 2nd album they’ll launch at the Festival; and the Blues Camp Graduates (July 3), fifty-odd very fortunate young musicians aged 13 to 17, chosen for their interest, talent and passion, completing their memorable tenure in this extraordinary and free musical day camp.

Tinto Alcan stage (corner De Maisonneuve Blvd. and Jeanne-Mance St., Promenade des Artistes)
This year, the Rio Tinto Alcan stage is located a little further north, at the western end of the new Promenade des Artistes on the Quartier des spectacles, where fans can groove to the Soirées jazzy Rio Tinto Alcan series. At 8 p.m. and 10 pm., the series features, among others, a galaxy of ’60s rhythm and blues as interpreted by Nadja (June 25), Mario Pelchat’s muse, with her 2nd album, Everything’s Going My Way; the eclectic style of atypical Toronto singer Alejandra Ribera (June 27), whose concerts rollercoaster from Latin folk to French chanson to alternative pop without warning and channel a rare intensity; an original re-reading of the Louis Armstrong oeuvre, from Dixieland to the great classics of the American repertoire, courtesy of the instrumental pirouettes of Misses Satchmo (June 30); and the passionate Dirty Thirties sound of Canadian swing darling Alex Pangman (July 1), back after a decade-long absence from the Festival.

stage, Complexe Desjardins
Class is back in session-with the completely revamped curriculum we debuted last year! A quintet of vocal harmonies (Les Zélèves) headed by Victor-Jacques Ménard, alongside James Gelfand and his quartet and, of course, our Festival mascot, Ste-Cat, are ready to welcome students back to a jazz lesson that’s perfect for the whole family! La Petite école du jazz (Little School of Jazz) presented by Rio Tinto Alcan every day at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., from June 25 to July 4, offers once again a dynamic, interactive and fun-filled musical initiation for young and old music fans alike!

stage (Parterre of the future symphony hall, corner St. Urbain St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd.)
At 7 p.m., the Spectacles blues Loto-Québec series is an absolute must, welcoming artists including Martin Goyette & the Skinny Bones (June 28) with a new project that leans a little closer to soul and swing with a power that could leave our neighbours to the south green with envy; the well-dressed Stephen Barry Band (July 2), legendary pillars of Canadian blues for the past 35 years, known for their high-calibre songs; the Conor Gains Band (July 3), led by a genuine little 16-year-old guitar genius, a former Blues Camp student (2008) whose blues-pop-soul stunned the crowd in the legendary Horseshoe Tavern; and Layla Zoe (July 4), a seductive, tattooed redhead with an utterly contagious energy, one of the finest blues singers in Canada.

A little later, Les Soirées blues Loto‑Québec take over at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. with a roster of artists each more interesting than the last. Among them, Lucky Peterson (June 29) unwraps his latest, Every Second A Fool Is Born, a collection of energetic, captivating, passionate songs; Guy Bélanger (July 2) rolls in with a solid group of four singer-musicians and a 2nd solo album, Crossroads, a savvy blend of originals and folk and blues covers; and young blueswoman Nina Attal (July 4) accepts our invitation to unveil her talent and a guitar style that is sheer rock goddess!

stage (future Clark esplanade, corner Clark and De Montigny Sts)
When the temperature is at its peak, you’ll know you’ve walked right into the Tropiques Bell series, at 8 p.m. every night of the Festival! Among others, catch the return of the Roberto López Project (June 29), whose Soy Panamericano has made waves and promises to be incredible live; Baloji (June 30), the Congolese Belgian “sorcerer of words” bringing an incomparable and unique blend of instruments, styles and cultures; Novalima (July 2), the South American collective that upends every preconception of Peruvian music, broadening their scope ever further, integrating dub, salsa, hip hop; and Khaira Arby and her Band (July 4), the most beautiful voice in Mali, here with the rock-tinged desert blues that have made her the queen of Timbuktu.

The evening continues at 10 p.m. with the Groove Bell series, presenting Ghanaian-American Blitz the Ambassador and his Dear Africa (June 27), one of the most original MCs to emerge in recent years, zinging his music with funk, swing, soul, Afrobeat, delivering rich orchestrations and a vibrant, rhythmic poetry; the energetic Motown-inflected pop-soul of Fitz and The Tantrums (June 29), whose songs have hooked fans of TV series Criminal Minds and Desperate Housewives; and mixmaster Poirier and his Sound System with Boogat, Face-T, Imposs, Mr OK and L’Xtrmst.Zen (June 30), staging another evening of laserized dance music with a dancehall, soca and electronica edge.

stage (former Parc des Festivals, corner De Bleury St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd.)
As the sun sets, the Brunantes CBC/Radio-Canada series lights up the scene at 8 p.m. with artists including versatile pianist John Roney (June 25), very active on the Canadian circuit, a veteran of the Festival jam-sessions from 2006 to 2009 and artist in the Piano Solo series in Balmoral last year, nominated for the TD Grand Jazz Award and the Galaxie Rising Star Award; clarinetist Guillaume Bourque, composer and double bassist Jean Félix Mailloux and percussionist Ziya Tabassian in Bomata (June 28), who take us on a stunning world tour soaring on jazz melodies, also nominated for the TD Grand Jazz Award and the Galaxie Rising Star Award; and trombonist, composer and arranger Jean-Nicolas Trottier (July 3), who seems to turn up in every corner of the Québécois jazz scene, whether leading his own large ensemble, trio or quartet or collaborating with other artists.

A little later, the Rendez-vous series gets underway at 10 p.m., offering the deep, darkly-accented free jazz of the Joel Kerr Quintet (June 26), led by a versatile double bassist, nominated for the TD Grand Jazz Award and the Galaxie Rising Star Award; the imaginative treasures and musical curiosity of Room of Wonders by banjo man Jayme Stone (June 29), whose music is inspired by folk music from the world over; and the satin saxophone sound of Sophie Alour (July 3), whose latest, Opus 3, radiates determination, elegance and quiet strength.

(Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, 305 Ste. Catherine St. W.)
New this year in L’Astral, at 11:30 p.m., the Open House series invites Festival fans to groove into the wee hours to Afrobeat, funk, soul, samba and everything else groovy with Montreal DJ collective The Power Dam Initiative (June 25 to 28); dance to the irresistible rhythms of Caribbean, African and Latin-American musical cultures mixed for the masses in Canicule Tropicale with Philippe Noel, Don Pedro and DJ Kobal (June 29 to July 2); and to attend a marriage of the finest rap flows and jazz rhythms dreamt up by grandmaster S. Mos (July 3 and 4), armed with keyboards claviers, turntables and other machines. Free. The Friends of the Festival Card grants priority access to Open House. Space limited.

Bistro Le Balmoral
(Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, 305 Ste. Catherine St. W.)
Back in action this summer, the Musique au Balmoral series will be presented three times every evening, at 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and midnight, offering free 45-minute concerts with no intermission. Get ready for prolific double bassist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jean Félix Mailloux (June 25 and 26), whose musicianship is as highly prized as his broad versatility, and who never fails to deliver an impeccable performance; the Maânouche Swing Trio (June 27 and 28, exclusively at 9:30 p.m. rather than 9 p.m. on June 27), trimmed to a trio from its original quintet this summer but still playing a vital and highly-appreciated role in the dissemination of gypsy jazz, and presenting us with a 2nd album, Montreal Jazz-Up; young singer and guitar virtuoso Adam Karch (June 29 to July 1), who rolls in with his most recent album, Cotton Fields, a tribute to the Afro-American roots of blues from the ’30s to the present day, a powerful blend of blues, rock and Americana; and new duo of the moment Marinda + Solari (July 2 to 4), an absolutely charming couple whose music hops the continents, bringing us bossa nova at its best.

du Métropolis (59 Ste. Catherine St. E.)
Nighthawks will be thrilled to renew acquaintances with the Nightcap Heineken series, starting at midnight in the Savoy. This year, we’re joined by The Unsettlers (June 27 and 28-they will also be replacing the Jolly Boys on June 25 at 7 p.m. with a free show at the Club Soda), a musical carnival rolling out cabaret and joyously funereal folk-rock songs; Shaolin Temple Defenders (June 29 and 30), fierce defenders of the temple of soul, for whom music is a religion, a spiritual code, a reason to live; and Nomadic Massive (July 1 to 4), a multilingual and multicultural supergroup, the quintessence of the hip hop movement, who keep their audience of Festival nighthawks relentlessly grooving until they can groove no more.

The music starts at noon!

Rio Tinto Alcan stage (corner Ste. Catherine and Jeanne-Mance Sts.), CBC / Radio-Canada stage (corner De Maisonneuve Blvd. and Balmoral St.), Place des Festivals and Pub Heineken (corner Ste. Catherine and De Bleury Sts.)

Every day of the Festival
, the festivities kick off at noon! The finest jazz bands from high schools and cegeps show off their burgeoning chops for Festival fans on the Rio Tinto Alcan stage in the series JazzFest des jeunes (also at 3 p.m.), presented by Rio Tinto Alcan. The action continues in the afternoon: high-energy musical entertainment, Dixieland-style, takes over the Pub Heineken at noon., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., the Place des Festivals at 2 p.m. and De Maisonneuve Blvd. at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. At 4 p.m., Les Envolées du Festival presents university groups on the CBC/Radio-Canada stage, just before fans roll into the Rencontres festives, at 5 p.m., an original new concept featuring two bands (Swing Tonique Jazz Band vs Streetnix, June 25 to 29, and Roma Carnivale vs Fanfare Severni, June 30 to July 4) playing their own separate sets at either end of the Place des Festivals (north and south), then meeting in the middle for a joyous “musical battle”-right in the midst of the crowd!

Festival boutiques and restos

Got a craving for a snack or a gastronomical experience with musical ambience “on the house”? Whatever your tastes and budget, the Festival site has something satisfying to offer. Hungry jazz fans and gourmets alike can tantalize their tastebuds at the Friterie, the Barbecue, the tacos truck and Ice cream stand, and of course our many conveniently located hot dog carts. Meanwhile, the Pub Heineken is perfectly designed for kicking back, where cocktails are enhanced by sets at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. by bands and artists including The 1234 (June 25 and 26), Buddy McNeil & the Magic Mirrors (June 28 and 29) and Kim Churchill (July 2 to 4). Also worthy of special mention, the Jazz Bars Heineken, the Porto Cabral kiosk, the café Jura and the Terrasse Amarula offer a pleasing environment for all. Fans of fine wines and cheeses will head for the Bistro SAQ while those with a thirst for a refreshing summer cocktail will love the Bistro Express SAQ. And, new this year, in an effort to reduce the use of plastic water bottles purchased and waste of bottled water, the Festival has partnered with Naya to present the Fontaine Naya, a “refueling service” for bottled spring water offered for a small fee. And for the more jazzistically-inclined “musicovores,” the Festival souvenir boutiques and Tente disquaire Archambault (record shop) offer an extensive array of official Festival products, including t-shirts bearing the Ste-Cat logo, albums by everyone from legends to newly-discovered artists, posters, caps, etc. Finally, don’t miss Le Balmoral, the Festival bistro in the heart of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, with its terrasse set right out on the Place des Festivals. With a décor and ambience designed to charm the Fest vets and newbies alike and a delicious menu at once refined and accessible, it’s already become a hit with fans, and the rest of Montreal!

Diane Dufresne in the Galerie du Festival

Every year, the Galerie du Festival-located “under” Place des Arts this summer-offers a treasure trove of works by artists from every provenance who share a common passion for jazz. For this 32nd edition of the Festival, diva Diane Dufresne has specially created Les triplettes de Montréal, reproduced as a limited-run silkscreen signed and numbered by the artist, and available at the Galerie du Festival, along with those by our artist in residence for over 20 years, Yves Archambault, taken from this year’s official poster and entitled L’île utopique. From June 9 to July 4, in the exhibition hall of Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, Place des Arts.

The Festival gets involved with young people

Guided by its philosophy of promoting musical practice and musicianship, the Festival has joined Rio Tinto Alcan and Groupe Samajam to create the project À mon école, je garde le rythme. The initiative, announced in February as part of the semaine de la Persévérance scolaire (Stay in School Week), will offer free percussion classes with Groupe Samajam to elementary school students in Montreal’s most underprivileged neighbourhoods. For its part, the Festival invites the students to perform with the Samajam Rock Band on the Rio Tinto Alcan stage on Monday, June 27 at noon. This unique musical program is an enhancive and unforgettable experience for our young people!

Thank you to our partners

We can never offer enough thanks to our precious public and private partners, who defray more than half the costs of this event. Without their support, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, now an event of global renown and prestige-this big, beautiful non-profit musical celebration-could not exist in this famous format, offering large-scale urban entertainment free of charge. We offer our warmest thanks to principal sponsor and official presenter TD as well as Rio Tinto Alcan, co-presenter of the Festival, for their renewed support. Thanks also to Bell Canada, Loto-Québec, the Société des alcools du Québec, Heineken and all our loyal longtime suppliers and collaborators. We thank the Gouvernement du Québec, the Government of Canada and their different ministries and organisms as well as the Ville de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, the Consulat général de France à Québec and l’Institut français - Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes for their involvement. Thanks also to our media partners and the entire Festival team.

The Bell Info‑Jazz Line: answering all your questions

The free Official Bell Info-Jazz Program (printed in 200,000 copies) and the Info-Jazz Bell pamphlet-the complete pocket sized schedule of which we printed 500,000 copies-contain all the details about the event and can be picked up at the Métropolis, in Place des Arts and, over the next few days, in all the participating concert halls, in SAQ branches in Greater Montréal, as well as in most downtown hotels, in all Archambault branches and major book and music stores. Both programs and pamphlets will be available at the five Bell Info-Jazz Kiosks.

You can visit the Bell Info-Jazz Internet Site at ( or call the Bell Info-Jazz Line (514 871‑1881 or, toll-free, 1 85JAZZFEST). A tourist service is also available to help you organize your stay at this year’s Festival, by offering a number of à la carte packages (

The 32nd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal will run from June 25 to July 4, 2011.

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