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Montreal Jazz Festival: The Free Concerts

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By Sergio Martinez – mtltimes.ca

The outdoor, free concerts are one integral and fundamental part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival since its inception, as its founder and president Alain Simard reminded us this Tuesday before the announcement of the lineup for this year. “It is a way of democratizing the access to music” he said. And certainly nobody will dispute that, indeed for many Montrealers as well as visitors the concerts held around the Place des Arts in what is now known as the Quartier des Spectacles, is a unique opportunity to enjoy not only jazz but many other musical genres that are part of the Jazz Fest program.

For this year the Great Event will feature The Barr Brothers on Tuesday, June 30 at 9:30 p.m. on the TD Stage right in the middle of the Place des Festivals (Jeanne Mance and De Maisonneuve). This quartet is made up of brothers Brad and Andrew Barr, harpist Sarah Page, and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial. The group’s latest album “Sleeping Operator” is described by the festival program in the following terms: “It’s a warm, enveloping sound, poised between Americana folk tinged with Delta blues and rock with African inflections, charged with a purely modernistic instinct.”
JazzFest Free 4

The opening free concert will feature Beirut, a group whose music is inspired by Eastern Europe and the Balkans, with some elements of the Mexican coast, French culture, and North American pop. This concert will take place on Friday, June 26 at 9:30 p.m. at the TD Stage. Other concerts not to be missed are the one by the Montreal-based group The Franklin Electric (June 27 at the TD Stage, at 9 p.m.), Jane Bunnet and Maqueque an interesting combination of this Canadian saxophonist and flutist with an ensemble of five Cuban musicians (June 29, TD Stage, at 6 p.m.),  Troker, six Mexican experimental jazz musicians who fuse rock, funk, hip hop, dubstep, and other rhythms (June 30 and July 1 at Place SNC-Lavalin, Bleury below Ste-Catherine St.), Las Cafeteras an alternative Latino music group from Los Angeles fusing spoken word, ska, Afro-Caribbean and Amerindian music (June 27, Bell Stage, Clark north esplanade, at 8 p.m.), and Jungle by Night, nine young Amsterdam musicians with an unconditional love for Afropbeat, fusing Ethiopian music, jazz, funk and rock (July 4, at Bell Stage, Clark north esplanade, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.). There will also be a Great Evening Show dedicated to the memory of the late B.B. King on July 5, the last day of the festival, at the TD Stage at 9 p.m. and at 11 p.m.

As usual this popular music event is also the opportunity for kids and families to enjoy music in a relaxed summer day, and also to eat or drink at many of the kiosks that are installed in the Place des Arts area.

For a detailed list and description of all the artists performing during the Jazz Festival visit www.montrealjazzfest.com

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