Thursday, June 28, 2012

2012 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, June 28-July 7

After a special pre-opening concert by James Taylor and the presentation to him of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award, the 33rd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal officially gets underway tonight. The festival kicks off with one of their massive free outdoor parties featuring Rufus Wainwright. The other two big free shows will be the Brooklyn group Escort and the dance group Chromeo.

Over the next ten days, there will be over 180 concerts, many of them for free. Some of the highlights include Wayne Shorter, Stanley Clarke, Ron Carter, Chick Corea, John Scofield Trio, B.B King, Liza Minnelli, Tangerine Dream, Norah Jones, Sophie Milman, Esperanza Spalding, Ziggy Marley, Timber Timbre, Janelle Monáe and Fishbone.

Featured Canadian performers include Oliver Jones, Peter Appleyard (this year’s recipient of the Oscar Peterson Award), Patrick Watson, Adrian Vedady, Misstress Barbara, Jorane and I Musici, Lorraine Desmarais, Vic Vogel, Rafael Zaldivar, Patricia Deslauriers, Rémi Bolduc, and Ranee Lee.

The 33rd Annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal continues to July 7 at various venues at or near

The free outdoor program of the 33rd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

A Festival that plucks Montreal’s heartstrings!

This 33rd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, raises the curtain on a free outdoor program worthy of the history of excellence established by the world’s biggest jazz festival. Once again this year, 2 million people are expected to enter the magnificent free outdoor Festival site from June 28 to July 7, basking in a dizzying range of formulas and formats, whether experiencing unforgettable moments in intimate venues, following the parade, or melting into massive crowds assembled by bigger-than-life concerts. It’s a 10-day voyage studded with discoveries, timeless musical encounters and surprises, with something to charm and captivate not only jazz aficionados, but devotees of the blues, rock, world music, folk and other musical genres born in the vast spectrum of influence of jazz. This musical map reveals a world of hidden treasures, next-generation gems and must-see legends. As Montreal adorns itself with the colours of the globe, borne by some 3000 guest musicians hailing from 30 countries, the Quartier des Spectacles comes to life from noon until the wee hours to the sounds of everything from electric guitar to balafon, from double bass to the wheels of steel, captivating and firing the imaginations of young and old, music lovers and nighthawks alike.

And the festivities can finally unfurl on a totally completed site. This year, 10 stages, 30 series, hundreds of free concerts and a panoply of activities will be harmoniously integrated and spread throughout the beautifully realized environs of the Quartier des Spectacles. The three main stages of the Festival are now ideally located and spaced, offering Festival fans ideal access and acoustics. Whether relaxing on terrasses and in bistros, including the new enlarged Terrasse Balmoral, or navigating the musical eddies between the many stages, Festival fans can stretch out and savour the magic of this massive musical celebration with thousands of new jazz friends!

Three massive free outdoor parties

Once again, as in every year, three major must-see events gather the multitudes for unmitigated mass-scale musical happiness on the free outdoor site on the Place des Festivals. To kick everything off, the TD Grand Opening Event with Rufus Wainwright, presented in collaboration with SiriusXM, takes over the TD Stage on Thursday, June 28 at 9:30 p.m. At the mid-Fest point, on Tuesday, July 3, Tuesday Night Fever breaks out on the Place des Festivals during the Grand Special Event with Brooklyn group Escort. The festivities come to a perfectly danceable conclusion on Saturday, July 7 with the irresistible rhythms of Chromeo in the Rio Tinto Alcan Grand Closing Event.

The Festival, stage by stage

TD stage (Place des Festivals)
The prestigious Performances TD series shares the main stage with the three Grands événements at 9 p.m., and again at 11 p.m. On June 29, discover the mad project helmed by young vibraphonist-percussionist-conductor Brian O’Neill: Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica, unleashing a 22-piece Big Band on the bizarro-kitsch repertoire of cult experimental-lounge composer Juan García Esquivel. Captivating Montreal singer-songwriter Ian Kelly takes the baton June 30 with his 3rd pop-folk album, Diamonds & Plastic, orchestrated by pianist Jon Day. Eight years after her first and only performance at the Festival, the charming and lucid Souad Massi and her pure voice catch up for lost time on July 4, transporting us with the gentle North African, folk and flamenco sounds of her latest album, Ô houria. The next evening (July 5), the 9 Hungarians of Besh o droM, man both the cimbalom-the hammered dulcimer at the root of Hungarian folk-and the scratcher’s turntable, ably demonstrating how well the traditional music of their country can integrate a new millennial groove and a flavouring of jazz improvisation (also July 4 on the Rio Tinto Alcan stage).

On the same stage, at 6 p.m., we welcome the artists of the Gammes TD series. Start with The Chris Tarry Group July 1, starring much-lauded bassist Chris Tarry, 2008 Juno winner for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for Almost Certainly Dreaming, who returns to the Festival with Rest of the Story, a CD-book showcasing his talents as a composer and… author. Karl Jannuska, the hottest Canadian drummer on the jazz scene, makes a highly-anticipated return after an 8-year absence on July 4 to showcase his newest gem of modern jazz, The Halfway Tree, featuring excellent Canadian singer Sienna Dahlen. On July 6, the Blues Camp Graduates concert presents the fifty young musicians, aged 13-17, who had the opportunity to participate in this extraordinary free musical day camp.

Rio Tinto Alcan stage (corner Ste. Catherine and Jeanne-Mance Sts.)
Back on Ste. Catherine St., the Rio Tinto Alcan Stage allows Fest fans to enjoy incomparable access to the concerts in the Soirées jazzy Rio Tinto Alcan series at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Three concerts in this series will be presented at exclusively at 8 p.m.: June 28, brilliant young Montreal singer-pianist of Haitian extraction Marie-Christine unfolds her subtle musical proposition of jazz, soul, pop and R&B in a Festival debut. On July 3, Fest fans welcome an exceptional artist at the height of his artistic powers: Malian singer-guitarist Sidi Touré, here to present the danceable, festive songs of his latest album, Koïma. The festivities continue July 7 with Osaka Monaurail, a joyous band of Japanese musicians who’ve been burning up the world’s stages for 20 years with their irresistible cocktail of Japanese funk!

Grande‑Place stage, Complexe Desjardins
With summer vacation barely begun, it’s time to head back to class with the entire family for 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 28 to July 7! 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, with a musical initiation that’s dynamic, interactive and just plain packed with smiles and fun! Immediately after, at 3 p.m. on June 30, July 1 and July 7, families can keep the festivities going and stretch their legs to music at the Musique en famille avec les ateliers Samajam, a playful percussion workshop presented by Rio Tinto Alcan, principal partner in the Samajam stay-in-school project since 2011.

Loto-Québec stage (Parterre of the Maison symphonique de Montréal, corner De Montigny and Clark Sts.)
From rising stars to confirmed standard-bearers, the blues will be in the house on the Loto-Québec Stage! At 7 p.m., the absolutely essential Spectacles blues Loto-Québec series welcomes young blues rock prodigy Justin Saladino (June 28), one of the winners at the 2010 Montreal Guitar Grand Prix, in a trio with Khayman McColgan (drums) and Hans Blichert (bass). The next generation of blues continues to shine on June 30 and July 1 in shows by genuine phenomenon Jamiah on Fire & the Red Machine: three members, average age 14, masterful guitar riffs and voices already bristling with the full maturity of true bluesmen! On July 3, fans can discover They Call Me Rico, the new solo project from Madcaps singer Frédéric Pellerin, who delivers a resolutely blues-rock sound along with successful reinterpretations of a songbook ranging from Paul McCartney to Keb’ Mo’, along with his own compositions.

A little later, at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., Les Soirées blues Loto-Québec usher in a series of peerless players, including winner of the 2011 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Award, Bradleyboy MacArthur (July 1), who rollicks and rolls in to yank the blues onto the dancefloor with his guitar, banjo, harmonica, suitcase bass drum and various instruments of his own making. On July 3, singer, author, composer, guitarist, arranger and producer Mike Goudreau celebrates two decades of making music with his Boppin’ Blues Band and new album, 20 Years of Blues & Bop. The series concludes July 7 with The Bart Walker Band, in which young guitarist and virtuoso bluesman Bart Walker, winner of the prestigious Albert King Award, unveils the colours of his band’s debut album, Who I Am.

Bell stage (Clark esplanade, corner Clark and De Montigny Sts.)
Festival fans: dance under the noonday sun at 8 p.m. in the Tropiques Bell series! Living up to their rep as a non-stop dance machine, New York combo The Sway Machinery make their Fest debut on June 30, slinging a highly combustible blend of Jewish music, world music and funk. On July 3, Radio-Canada’s 2009 world music discovery, Wesli, makes his 3rd visit to the Festival with brand-new album Liberté dans le noir, shakin’ and stirrin’ an irresistible cocktail of Afro-beats and reggae. The dancefloor will barely have time to cool down before La Chiva Gantiva, a collective bearing the united colours of Colombia and Belgium, fires up July 5 with a passionate musical proposition of funk accented with Yiddish music, as heard on their sparkling debut album, Pelao.

The evening continues at 10 p.m. with the Groove Bell series, opening with Hess Is More on June 28. Catch jazz drummer and mad composer Mikkel Hess, surrounded by an orchestra of percussionists and unleashing his playful, heterogenous and way-danceable sound for maximum groove. On June 30, Montreal trio Plaster, combining the talents of keyboardist Alex MacMahon, bassist François Plante and drummer Jean-Phi Goncalves, presents its latest album, the aptly-titled Let It All Out, on which their groovy electro-jazz sound is vitaminized with a booster shot of rock. After hiking all over Europe for the past 7 years, François & the Atlas Mountains, first French artists to sign with estimable English label Domino, descend upon the Festival July 2 with E Volo Love, an album that digs into the “pocket symphonies” of Yann Tiersen and the cosmopolitan folk of Beirut, while also mining a seam of Afro-pop. California collective BlackMahal, led by colourful percussionist and singer Ustad Lal Singh Bhatti, closes out the series July 7 with an alloy of hip hop and Punjabi music (and jazz and funk), a “turban groove” that brings us the best, most enthusiastic version of “culture shock”.

CBC/Radio-Canada stage (Parc des Festivals, corner De Bleury St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd.)
The night unfolds with the Brunantes CBC/Radio-Canada series at 8 p.m., in the company of a number of musicians nominated for the TD Grand Jazz Award and the Galaxie Rising Star Award. On June 30, brilliant young Irish guitarist Mark McKnight-heard on the excellent album Do Or Die, where ’50s references and the hushed ambience of Chet Baker or Chico Hamilton radiate an absolutely contemporary freshness and vitality-performs with his trio. On July 5, the 7 Django Reinhardt devotees in Gypsophilia return to the Festival to spin out gypsy jazz with a plethora of influences, showcased on their 3rd album, Constellation, released in 2011. They’ll lead up to the Samuel Blais Quartet on July 6, in which the Québécois saxophonist, one of the primo virtuosos of the new generation of Montreal jazz (winner of the Opus Prize for Best Jazz Album of 2010-2011), rejoins us 3 years after his Festival debut.

Musical encounters don’t get any better than the ones we introduce at 10 p.m. in the Rendez-vous series. Re-connect with one of the most sought-after pianists on the Québec jazz scene, renowned for his finesse on the ivories: Vincent Gagnon, here June 29 to present his 2nd album, Himalaya, a crossroads of jazz and impressionist music. On July 2, set sail with Guadeloupe native and adoptive Montreal pianist Sylvain Ransy and his trio, celebrated on the local jazz scene for original compositions nourished equally by the influences of Keith Jarrett, Oliver Jones and Oscar Peterson, and by Caribbean sounds. It’s another Festival debut on July 4 with adventurous Italian violinist and composer Luca Ciarla and his Quartet and a sparkling repertoire blending jazz, classical music and European folklore with electronica flourishes, as heard on the album Fiddler in the Loop. On July 6, Frank Lozano, a leading saxophonist on the Québécois jazz scene with a reputation that soars far beyond our borders, returns accompanied by his Montreal Quartet to present his latest, Destin.

Lounge Heineken (corner Ste. Catherine and De Bleury Sts.)
Festival fans, come on down to quench your thirst… for music, in the Lounge Heineken! At 5 p.m. and 7p.m., The Record Company, a primitivist blues-rock orchestra from the City of Angels, plunges the crowd into a ’50s vibe on June 30 and July 1. July 4 and 5, gather ye penitents for a gospel experience that breaks with all established dogma when secular Montreal ensemble the Irreverend James and the Critical Mass Choir sings “Hallelujah”. The week of music concludes with the Howlin’ Hound Dogs on July 6 and 7, keeping the mighty flame of rockabilly burning brightly on the streets of Montreal and ensuring that the DA hairdos and country-rock rhythms of the mid-20th century never fall out of fashion!

L’Astral (Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, 305 Ste. Catherine St. W.)
At midnight, nighthawks flock from all directions into L’Astral, where the Open House series welcomes them until the wee hours. Heating up the dancefloor from the get-go, the hottest Franco-Anglo duo on the Montreal reggae/dub scene, Ghostbeard & Poirier, take over the wheels of steel from June 28 to July 1 with the beats that shake the walls of their Sud-West soirees. From July 2 to 4, get ready for a different kind of sound system: the Jazz Amnesty Sound System, conceived by DJs Andy Williams and sweet dady luv, and dedicated to lovers of jazz in all its forms and subgenres, from swing to blues, with pitstops in funk, electronica and bebop. Next, the midnight sun shines brightly for three nights in Canicule Tropicale July 5 to 7, with spinners Philippe Noël, Don Pedro and DJ Kobal pumping Caribbean, African and Latin American grooves to make things hot-hot-hot… and featuring live painting!

Bistro Le Balmoral (Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, 305 Ste. Catherine St. W.)
Twice every evening during the Festival, at 10 p.m. and midnight, the Musique au Balmoral series presented by SiriusXM offers free 45 minute concerts without intermission in Bistro Le Balmoral, where Festival fans can also feed their late-night cravings thanks to the delicious menu on hand. From June 28 to 30, guitarist Lou Boustani and his trio invite jazzophiles into a hushed late-night rendezvous. Montreal pianist, singer and composer Steve Amirault takes the reins July 1 and 2 in a solo piano format, one again displaying the masterful, expansive, fresh playing that have made him one of the most accomplished musicians in Canada. Veteran guitarist and singer Dale Boyle returns as a soloist on July 3 and 4 with compositions plumbing the roots of country, blues, rock and folk. The series wraps up with one of the most popular guitarists in Montreal, Thomas Carbou solo; from July 5 to 7, the 8-string specialist navigates between jazz, world music, folk, chanson and electronic music, digging into pieces from his 12-album repertoire, including his latest, Hekátê II.

Savoy du Métropolis (59 Ste. Catherine St. E.)
The Savoy dancefloor will shake with a thousand beats at midnight during the Nightcap Heineken series. This year, the four eccentric lunatics in aRTIST oF tHe yEAR return to the Festival June 28, 29 and 30 with a satchel full of urban electro-rock generated on genuine instruments-guitar, bass and keyboards-to get Montreal dancing to funk grooves into the wee hours. Solidly anchored in a merry multicultural melange, the members of the Heavy Soundz collective whisk us away on a trip powered by crazy rhythms guaranteed to ignite the party, a caliente whirlwind of urban Latin music spiced up with reggae, ska and hip hop, July 1 to 4. From July 5 to 7, Kalmunity concocts 3 different concerts with a base stock fusing poetry, R&B, hip hop, Afrobeats, funk, reggae, soul, flamenco and slam, plenty of improvisation and a good dose of positive energy!

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 Lounge 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, presented by Rio Tinto Alcan at noon and 3 p.m. The action continues in the afternoon: high-energy musical entertainment, Dixieland-style, takes over the Place des Arts esplanade (at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m), the Place des Festivals (2 p.m. and 5 p.m.) or the Lounge Heineken (4 p.m. and 6 p.m.). From June 28 to July 1, hot Ottawa combo Mike Essoudry’s Mash Potato Mashers will be swinging their bomping mashup of klezmer, reggae, ska, Brazilian and New Orleans jazz. From July 3 to 7, New Orleans’ peppy funk orchestra Lagniappe Brass Band will turn this Festival topsy-turvy. 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., featuring two bands playing their own separate sets at either end of the Place des Festivals, then meeting in the middle for a joyous “musical battle”-right in the midst of the crowd!

Festival boutiques and restos

After loading up on music or dancing until you’re breathless, you can always find everything you need to fill up and quench your thirst on the Festival site. Got a craving? Snack it up at the Friterie, the Barbecue, the taco truck, the hot-dog and Häagen-Dazs ice cream bar carts or, for a more exotic touch, taste the delectable creations at the mango-flower or porchetta kiosks. Select from the wide variety of thirst-quenching options on the site, from the relaxed ambience of the Lounge Heineken to the friendly counters of the Jazz Bars Heineken, Bar Amarula or Bistro Express SAQ, the tempting terrasses of the Bar Terrasse, Terrasse Amarula or Bistros SAQ, delectably diverse port tastings at the Kiosque Porto Cabral or coffee at Café Jura… Finally, the Terrasse des Vins du Sud-Ouest, the newly enlarged Balmoral terrasse, located right on the Place des Festivals, can now welcome more Festival fans than ever, in full sunshine and in the heart of the action! Once again this year, the Bistro du Festival offers a menu, décor and ambience sure to charm even the most exacting patrons. Also, after last year’s successful test-run of the formula, the Festival once again join forces with Naya to offer the Fontaine Naya, a “refueling service” for bottled spring water offered for a small fee, in an effort to reduce the number of water bottles purchased. 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.

Richard Séguin in the Galerie Lounge TD

The Galerie Lounge TD, located during the Festival in the exhibition hall of Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, Place des Arts, offers a treasure trove of works by artists from every provenance who share a common passion for jazz. The 33rd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is proud to present Riff de Guit, a piece by Richard Séguin reproduced as a limited-edition silkscreen, numbered and signed, available from June 28 to July 7. Additionally, throughout the Festival run, the Galerie will exhibit original wood engravings by Richard Séguin, available for purchase by collectors. Finally, fans can purchase a silkscreen of official poster Accroche-Cœur, as well as other original works by our artist in residence Yves Archambault, with whom the Festival celebrates 25 years of fruitful collaboration this year.

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, SiriusXM 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, the SACEM and the Fonds pour la création musicale for their involvement. Thanks also to our media partners and the entire Festival team.

The Info-Jazz Line: answering all your questions

The free Official Info-Jazz Program (printed in 200,000 copies) and the Info-Jazz 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 four Info-Jazz Kiosks.

You can visit the Info-Jazz Internet Site at ( or call the 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 33rd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal will run from Thursday, June 28 to Saturday, July 7, 2012.

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