As usual, this edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival has that broad appeal that quickly engages all music lovers. Of course, jazz is still the main course in its offering, but other rhythms will also be present. The 40th edition of the Festival will take place from June 27 to July 6, 2019.
The opening concert at the CBC/Radio Canada Series at Theatre Maisonneuve will feature one of my favourite artists: Richard Galliano who in conjunction with veteran bassist Ron Carter and the Quatuor Molinari will be offering a Tribute to Michel Legrand, the legendary French composer and jazz pianist who died earlier this year. (June 26, at 8 p.m.).
The very unique voice of American singer Norah Jones is another of the exciting features of this year’s Jazz Fest. She “first emerged on the world stage with the February 2002 release of ‘Come Away with Me,’ her self-described ‘moody little record’ that introduced a singular new voice and grew into a global phenomenon. Since then, Norah has sold 50 million albums worldwide and become a 9-time GRAMMY-winner!” Norah Jones will play at the Wilfrid Pelletier Theatre of the Place des Arts, on June 27, at 7:30 p.m.
Another female voice, but of a different character, is that of Stacey Kent, who will be presenting her show Stacey Kent Symphonique described as “An orchestral project by this American singer, ‘I Know I Dream,’ combines classics of bossa nova, French chanson, standards from the “Great American Songbook”, and original compositions written by her husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson. Lyrics are by major figures: Kazuo Ishiguro (Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017), poet Antonio Ladeira and Nashville songwriter Cliff Goldmacher. Her sensual voice, limpid and fluid, coloured by swing and jazz, draws the audience into a sweet reverie they never want to leave. For this unique show, the singer will be accompanied for the first time by an orchestra.” (June 30, at the Maison Symphonique, at 7 p.m.).
The fans of the Canadian band Blue Rodeo will be pleased to see performing at the Festival this iconic exponent of country rock music which during their 35 years on the music scene have sold more than 4 million albums. “Their most recent, ‘1000 Arms,’ marks a return to harmonies sung in duet or call and response. And even though the bands two leaders, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, have seen several musicians move in and out of the combo, they’ve never lost their cohesion.” (Wilfrid Pelletier Theatre of the Place des Arts, on June 28, at 7:30 p.m.).
The Latino musical presence is always an appealing presence at the Festival, I would recommend the concert by Chucho Valdés, a Cuban pianist who have visited Montreal on several occasions. He is equally comfortable with the music of famous American jazz creators as well as with original takes on some of the most famous Cuban songs. (June 28, at the Maison Symphonique, at 7 p.m.).
Another interesting representative of Cuban music, this time of a more traditional style is Omara Portuondo one of the last great stars of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club, with a 70-year career she will undoubtedly make many people nostalgic. (June 27, at Maisonneuve Theatre, at 8 p.m.).
Last but not least among some of my recommendations for this year, a double bill of the highest calibre: guitar player John Pizzarelli and multitalented jazz singer Ranee Lee will present their show “For Centennial Reasons: 100 Years Salute to Nat King Cole.” (July 3, at Maisonneuve Theatre, at 8 p.m.).