MONTREAL JAZZ FEST: The Indoor Shows
by Sergio Martinez
Oliver Jones, Diana Ross, Rufus Wainwright, Tony Bennett, and Aretha Franklin, are just a few of the names that the organizers of the Montreal International Jazz Festival were announcing this past Wednesday at a press conference in which they unveiled the lineup for the 35th edition of the iconic summer event.
Summer is of course still far, especially if you venture on the streets of Montreal these rather grey days, but as all Montrealers know very well, summer is never far in our thoughts and wishes. Yes, eventually we will have good weather and with that a new edition of this musical feast which, as we all know too, it is not only about jazz but also about other genres that may have some connection to it.
For a change allow me this time to start by the end, and for a good reason: the closing concert this year (actually on July 5 at the Maisonneuve Theatre at 8 p.m.) will feature our own great pianist Oliver Jones who on that day will be celebrating his 80th birthday. To accompany the “kid from St. Henri” to mark this occasion, four other musician friends will share the stage with him that night: Lorraine Desmarais, Ranee Lee, Josée Aidans, and Daniel Clarke Bouchard.
The series Special Events TD, at the Wilfrid Pelletier Theatre at 7:30 p.m., will feature among others, singer-guitarist Ben Harper (June 28) accompanied by living legend of the blues and harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite; the celebrated crooner Tony Bennett will take the stage on July 1, an occasion on which he will share the stage for a few songs with his daughter Antonia; the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin makes her grand return on July 2; then another living legend, Diana Ross, will offer two concerts (July 3 and 4) in which her daughter Rhonda Ross will be the opening act.
Among the artists featured on the Grand Concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series at the Maisonneuve Theatre, at 8 p.m., we find singer Cassandra Wilson (June 26), Afro-Spanish singer Buika searching the roots of flamenco and jazz; British drummer Ginger Baker and his quartet Jazz Confusion (June 30); flamenco dancer Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya “Farruquito” with his show “Improvisao” a fusion of guitar and dance (July 6, at 6 p.m.)
The Festival at the Maison symphonique series at the Maison symphonique de Montréal, at 7 p.m., will feature among others, Alain Lefèvre and the OSM, The Gershwin Legacy (June 26, 8 p.m., June 27, 7 p.m.); the great songwriter Elvis Costello is back after an 8-year absence (June 29); and the 6th Battle of the Bands will present this time the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (July 5).
In the Nouveau monde series, at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, at 8 p.m. we will find The Best of Rufus Wainwright, Solo (June 27, 28 and 29) with Lucy Wainwright Roche opening, and then Coeur de pirate (July 3, 4 and 5) will offer a selection of her most memorable hits.
The Rhythms series at the Metropolis at 8:30 p.m. will present among others, Nikki Yanofsky (June 27) and the celebrated band the Barenaked Ladies (July 4); while at the Colours SAQ series at Club Soda, at 7 p.m. Alejandra Ribera will be offering a cocktail of musical influences including folk, Latin jazz, cabaret and pop (June 26); and Benjamin Clementine displaying his talent with his voice and at the piano (June 29).
The Invitation TD series at the Gesù at 6 p.m. will open with three evenings of the Guitar Bazaar with bluesman Harry Manx, accompanied by Charlie Hunter (June 26), Kevin Breit (June 27), and David Lindley (June 28).
Tickets go on sale this Saturday, April 26 at noon. For detailed information about schedule, prices, location of venues, and show descriptions visit the website montrealjazzfest.com