This section includes fans comments on concerts attended,   festival organization, and other general comments

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The authors of the best  five concert reviews will each win a Montreal International Jazz festival T-Shirt. The results will be announced at the end of the festival




Open Letters/ Lettres ouvertes




       A,B    C,D    E,F,G    H,I,J    K,L    M,N    O,P    Q,R    S,T    U,V,W    X,Y,Z



Ab Baars Trio

Afro Cuban All Stars

AKA moon

Al Di Meola

Alain Caron
Al Di Meola

Aldo Romano, Danilo Rea, Remi Vignolo 

Amy Winehouse

Anne Ducros
Arto Lindsay
Arturo Sandoval


Baptiste Trotigon
Barbarito Torres
Beady Belle 

Benny Green


Bill Carrothers 

Bill Frisell

Bill Stewart

Billy Bang

Blind Boys of Alabama 

Bobo Stenson

Bob Walsh

Bojan Z

Bryan Lee
Buddy Guy
Bullfrog & Curtis




Cesaria Evora 

Charlie Haden

Charlie Haden & Friends

Charlie Hunter

Chateau Flight

Chick Corea

Chris Potter Quartet
Christian McBride

Chucho Valdes

Coral Egan
Costards (les)

Danilo Perez
Danilo Rea
Dan Ross

Dave Holland 


Dave Douglas with R.Rudd, B.Jones & B.Altschul

David Wall

Denzal Sinclair
Diana Krall
Dianne Reeves 

DJ Vinet


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Egberto Gismonti 

Eivind Aarset


Eliane Elias

Eleni Mandell
Enrico Rava

Eric Truffaz 

Esbjorn Svensson
Ex Voto Zurzolo Band

Femi Kuti 

Francois Bourassa

Francois Carrier

Francois Theberge

Frederik Nordstrom Quintet

Gary Burton 

George Benson

Gideon Freudmann

Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Guy Nadon

Gwyneth Herbert



Helena Noguerra

Jack Herren


Jah Cutta    

James Carter

Jane Bennett

Jane Monheit

Jane Siberry

Jason Moran

Jay Jay Johansen


Jean-Michel Pilc
Jimmy Cliff 

Jimmy Heath
Jim Zeller

Joachim Kühn

Joe Bonamassa

Joe Zawinul 
John Hammond
John Lee Hooker
John McLaughlin

John Stetch

John Taylor
Johnny Dread

Jon Hassel





Kelly Joe Phelps

Kenny Barron  

Kenny Werner

Kenny Wheeler
Kristi Stassinopoulou

Larry Coryell, John Abercrombie & Badi Assad 
Laurent De Wilde 

Lee Konitz

Liberation Music Orchestra

Lila Downs 







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Makoto Ozone


Maraca Y Otra Vision

Marc Ribot

Marianne Faithfull
Marilyn Lerner

Marc Anderson

Martial Solal 

Mavis Staples 
Michael Brecker

Michel Benita, Eric Truffaz, Judith Darmont 
Michel Camilo
Michel Cusson 

Michel Portal, L. Sclavis, D. Humair & H. Texier
Mike Manieri

Molly Johnson 

Monica Freire

New Art Jazz Quartet

New Birth Jazz Band

Nils Peter Molvaer 



Orchestra Baobab 

Orchestra Instabile
Oscar Peterson

Patricia Barber Trio
Paulu Fresu
Petite Ecole de jazz 

Philippe Catherine
Pietro Tonolo

Projectionnistes (Les)



Quartet West 

Rabih Abou-Khalil
Rachid Taha

Ralph Myerz


Randy Williams, DJ
Ranee Lee

Raw Materials
Ray Anderson
Ray Brown Trio

Rémi Bolduc

Richard Pinhas & J. Schmidt with Maurice G. Dantec

Rob Clutton Band

Rouge Ciel 

Roy Davis Jr. 
Roy Hargrove

Rubin Steiner

Rudresh Mahanthappa 

Russell Malone



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Sarah-Jane Morris

Sheila Jordan
Shirley Horne

Sidsel Endresen
Sierra Maestra

Simon Shaheen
Sonny Rollins

Spring String Quartet 

Stacey Kent
Stefano Bollani
Stefon Harris

Steven Bernstien & the Millenial Territory Orchestra

Steve Kuhn
Steve Lacey Quartet
Steve Tibbetts

Suzanne Abbuehl

Tabla Beat Science


Tango Flamenco

Tanya Kalmanovitch


Tony Bennett 

Toots Thielemans

Tord Gustavsen Trio

Trilok Gurtu



Ursula Rucker

Vernon Reid

Vic Vogel

Vikter Duplaix

Vienna Art Orchestra

Vijay Iyer

Wayne Shorter

Winton Marsalis


Zachary Richard with Sonny Landreth & Bill Dillon
Zakir Hussain




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Mavis Staples & the Blind Boys of Alabama (Metropolis) 1/7/04.

Mavis Staples & the Blind Boys of Alabama took turns rocking the Metropolis on Friday night.

At 65 years old Mavis Staples doesn't have much left to prove. That the fire to perform music still burns we know. That she is charming, witty, and wise we know. She is an entertaining musical act if you are looking for an uplifting, gently cajolling, and challenging night.

Her voice many not be what it once was. She almost hinted that she was getting over a cold. She certainly went to the water bottle many times during her 1:30 "warm-up". Whatever the case, her high end just wasn't there. And that's a challenge.

That would be death to most gospel singers. Most gospel singers rely on their high-end during the pivotal moment of climax at the end of pieces. Ms. Staples didn't have her high end. Thank goodness she didn't need it.

Why? There are 2 ways to distinguish how soloists are feeling about their voices. If they are comfortable they don't perform hard, opting instead to let their beautiful tone carry the message. When they can't rely on that most soloists perform like hell.

That's what Mavis Staples did - performed like hell. Singing mostly about heaven and the Christian message still needs to be performed, and she did it to great satisfaction. The back-up band that she had playing for her is just as good. I believe the technical term for describing their performance is Whoooeeee!

Someone needs to hire that guitar player to go on a blues tour.

Mavis Staples is a hard act to follow - although the Boys started gamely enough. The Boys have a new singer in their lineup. He has a heroic voice that rings beautifully on the top, a great addition which will hopefully renew their interest in vocal music. He is a great talent. 10 years ago I heard them live on a small stage in Manitoba. I
noted no such voice then so I was surprised and happy to hear him.

So I'm glad to say that vocally, the Boys are still great soloists. But they have lost the ability to sing a capella. Working with so many instrumentalists has compromised their tuning and their comfort zone when there is no guitar playing. It made me distinctly uncomfortable to hear them butchering tunes that, until recently, were their bread and butter.

Which changes their gameplan. It also removes, if I may say, an element of their uniqueness. Not to mention repertoire.

Music is a brutally "what have you done for me lately" world. They can't repeat the a capella that they sang last night in many places and expect applause.Once they got away from the a capella, it was a fun time. They were charismatic, soft-spoken, and without musical reserve. They are natural on stage and still worthy of praise for reasons to numerous to mention here. 

But pray they don't go a capella.

John Wiens

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The Blind Boys of Alabama ( Spectrum) 4/7/02

Un spectacle qui a commencé lentement mais qui a vite trouvé sa vitesse de croisière. Énergique et charismatique, cet ensemble de chanteurs et de musiciens, dont plusieurs sont aveugles, a ajouté du piquant à la canicule qui habitait la foule, enthousiasmée avant même l’entrée en scène des vedettes. Un concert mémorable où l’un des chanteurs aveugles est descendu dans la foule pour chanter sa joie d’être parmi nous. Une soirée époustouflante de musique gospel dans toute son aura. Les artistes ont transmis leur ferveur, tout au moins musical, au public et le Spectrum s’est transformé en véritable chapelle le temps d’un concert.

Mylène et Unto

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Rémi Bolduc (Gesu) 1/7/05

Alto-sax man Rémi Bolduc’s performance on Friday night was received with many cheers, applause and even laughter as he and the rest of his trio delighted their audience with Bolduc’s television theme-song inspired compositions. Many 30-something fans were given to waves of nostalgia as they heard Bolduc’s harmonically transformed and enhanced renditions of theme songs from their childhood favourite shows, including La Ribouldingue, Fanfreluche and Picotine.

 Even for those who were unfamiliar with the shows, however (of which I was one), Bolduc’s compositions still made the evening a very interesting and enjoyable one to remember, not to mention the moving performances by all the musicians. Right from the get-go the instrumentation made every composition of the evening all the more interesting, with an instrument very rarely seen in the jazz world: the ‘cello. Despite the ‘cello’s lack of exposure as a regular instrument in jazz, Sheila Hannigan’s skilful playing fit in quite nicely alongside Bolduc and Pianist John Roney. With bow in hand she added a warm lower-mid range to the group’s sound, both while playing in artful counterpoint with Bolduc’s alto-sax and as a soloist. She also, however, switched to pizzicato and walked on one tune that switched between a half-time feel and a fast swing, she could swing as hard as any bassist. John Roney’s sensitive playing made him an essential part of the group. His accompaniment was both supportive and complementary, but never overbearing, and in his clearly emotional solos his playing was somewhat reminiscent of poetic styling of Brad Mehldau. Bolduc, ever the mellifluous soloist, constantly surprised the listener and kept him/her listening, by being neither so predictable nor so abstract that one loses all interest. 

One of the most interesting pieces of the evening was an atonal composition based on the television series Sol et Gobelet, which Bolduc explained featured only two characters, both of them clowns, against a black background. The music was meant to portray a particular scene from the series in which the two fall down a flight of stairs and then break into a headlong run, and in giving his musicians instructions on what to play, this is all he told them. The product was a series of interesting and creative improvisations, including Hannigan sliding up and down between pitches in the higher range of her instrument and practically grinding her bow against the strings in the lower range. To create some of the most painful sounds possible, Roney pressed his entire hand down over an octave of keys in different registers and, in a John Cage-esque move, he plucked the lower piano strings with his fingers, then covered them up with his right hand while playing them on the keyboard with his left.

Finally, as an end-of-show surprise for an already satisfied audience, Bolduc introduced tap dancer and human drum Cindy Sylvain into the group. Sylvain helped to propel the music forward, tap dancing out rhythms in a piece that switched between a galloping duple meter to rolling triple. At the end of the night the group received a standing ovation from an overjoyed audience, an audience so overjoyed, in fact, that it was decided we deserved an encore, in which the energetic Sylvain added hand clapping and thigh and chest slapping to her repertoire of sounds, making her practically a human drum set! Thus, following yet another standing ovation, our evening with Rémi Bolduc and his musicians drew to a close.

Ever on the rise, venturing into new and interesting musical directions, Rémi Bolduc is truly one of Montreal ’s current jazz greats.

 Jonathan Parsons

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Bryan Lee (Spectrum) 1/7/04

When I go to the Montreal Jazz, I go to find something I never experienced before. This was one concert to be remembered…let me introduce you to Bryan Lee.  

If one likes HOT and SPICY, some Chicken Gumbo and Southern hospitality then this is the concert. From the start it is a fast pace form of  traditional Louisiana Blues, right from the Delta,  but with, what can be considered Extreme BLUES.  

Once the group starts it is a full two hours of continuous music. The group consists of a electric bass guitar player who brings out a constant rhythm and tone to the group. There is the other electric guitar player who does a fantastic Louisiana slide and could play notes and styles on the guitar that to see is too believe. There is also the piano and organ player who, although is more in the background, is a constant at keeping the canter of the music. Finally there is the drummer, he played two hours solid and did a 10 minute drum solo which had everyone in the audience clapping and cheering him to continue, which he did. The drummer was in his own world, but what a sight to watch in wonder…  

Finally the boss man himself, Bryan Lee. He is the ultimate Southern Gentleman, he actually apologized to the audience that after 2 hours of music he could not continue because of the next performer. We ALL Wanted more!!!!! Mr Lee plays and sings the BLUES as the MASTER he is, with his straw hat and the white colonel beard leading the band, he controls not only the band,  but the audience. 

During the concert he had the audience singing, he even had a gender difference with the women and men singing alternate parts. This concert was interactive, full participation and fun. One was always wondering what was next.  

If you like the classical BLUES, Slide Guitar, great Drummer, Bass and Piano. If you want it loud and fast. And if you like it HOT and SPICY  with a few tears then try out Bryan Lee, you will not be disappointed..  

My kids will be there next year…..


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Dave Holland Big Band (Theatre Maisonneuve-PDA) 1/7/04

Jazz fans couldn’t wish for a tighter unit than the Dave Holland Big Band. Born at the Montreal Jazz festival 5 years ago when Holland was one of the artists in the Invitational series the 13-man group grooves as hard as Basie’s band on arrangements as sophist acted as those of Ellington and Strayhorn, but with a sound that is contemporary. The meters and styles preferred are quite different from the traditional dance band as this is music for listening and a showcase for the instrumental talents of the players, most of whom were born long after the demise of the big band as a staple musical vehicle. As an ensemble and as soloists the musicians kept the audience—mostly comprised of older fans—enthralled.

The concert began 30 minutes late because drummer Nate Smith was held up at the airport and before the music making got underway, André Menard, the festival’s artistic director, presented the English bassist-leader with the Miles Davis Award, which is offered to international artists for their contribution to jazz. Holland, a Davis sideman early in his career, related how Davis responded to the bassist’s occasional overplaying with: “Don’t forget that you’re a bass player.”
And what a bass player! His muscular, looping lines anchor the band in its flights that are both rhythmically oscillating and melodically fresh, with tight and intense ensemble play. The compositions played, mostly from the band’s recent CD release Overtime, were quite varied, written by Holland himself, members of the band, and one composition especially written for the group by Kenny Wheeler called “Pick Up Sticks.” Everyone had a chance to solo and show
their chops. Most impressive, for me, aside from Holland himself, were alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, trombonist Robin Eubanks, trumpeter Sasha Sipiagin and vibraphonist Steve Nelson. The audience was treated to inspired, top level playing that proved that the big band is still an artistically viable entity today and not just an antique curiosity.

Paul Serralheiro

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Gwyneth Herbert (Club Soda) 30/6/04

Gwyneth Herbert has a lovely, captivating voice that suits her pop-jazz hybrid style. At Club Soda Thursday night the young (22 years old) British singer/composer performed original tunes written with her pianist, as well as a few jazz standards and carefully chosen pop songs (including the
Canadian classic "Only Love Can Break Your Heart"). She definitely seemed more at ease with the soul/blues-oriented tunes, such as "Grandma¹s Hands" and "Mary" (both originals), where she could belt it out with the best of 'em; however, she lacked both the technique and the subtlety for the more refined standards. Nevertheless, what she lacked in artistry she more than made up for in charm. Her remarkable ability to create an atmosphere of intensely personal intimacy was enhanced by the unobtrusive, sparse arrangements for her trio (piano, double bass, percussion). Indeed, to my mind, her percussionist stole the show, using his wide array of bells and other noisemakers to great, almost painterly effect. The pianist and bassist were also accomplished musicians; the entire trio followed Herbert very attentively. She definitely needs to rethink the second half of the show, which started out with a superb rendition of Tom Waits's "Falling Down," but quickly degenerated into an almost uninterrupted series of dreary ballads.
Although some of these were quite enchanting--I especially liked "The Old Man With the Shell in his Hand"--I was craving one or two more funky tunes where she could let herself go more (the one intervening rock Œn' roll number just wasn't enough).

Nancy Berman

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Tango Flamenco (Theatre Jean-Duceppe) 29/6/04

Tango and Flamenco dances fit into certain vague stereotypes that should be respected. When not respected the dances become something else entirely. The dancing last night felt too choreographed to be a true representation of Tango or Flamenco. 

Passion, character and style must be allowed to come out above all else. For instance different seductive qualities of the dances were represented. I cannot call the dances themselves seductive though, nor call the dancers themselves seductive.   

Due to these factors I must call this show Ballet. As a Ballet the choreography is often enticing and the lighting used to telling effect. The women's fan dance is one moment when the lighting is used to its maximum effect.

 Artistically there are many laudable elements to this show. But I can’t agree with the title of the production. This is not tango.  

The music is the most exciting part of the show. The violin often ranging into the highest parts of its range, and the guitars are all masterfully played. We were unfortunately robbed of many musical moments due to technical problems.  

One problem we face in Montreal is what I call Localitis. Any local product is judged as good regardless of scale, for reasons to complicated to go into here. Suffice to say that Quebecois = Laudable talent. Unfortunately, Quebecois does not always mean Laudable on the international scale.  

Last time I checked this was still an international festival.  

This group does not deserve the rave reviews it garnered last year. They dance, they sweat, and they look really smoking hot in their costumes. Yet they fail to achieve my expectations – exciting, enticing, alluring dancing.  

As I pondered upon this to myself the encores were presented. And I saw what I had been missing. A few dancers allowed themselves out of their choreography. Then they really danced. Wow.  

I sincerely hope that they will allow themselves that kind of freedom for a future production. 

John Wiens

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Stacey Kent (Club Soda) 8/7/04


The Airline lost her shoes, the band hadn't played together in months, and they didn't have the music for some fan requests. Disaster in the making? NOOOO! Kent turns out to be an American living in London who speaks wonderful French (learned from the movies!) and a magnetic stage personality. Club Soda is a perfect to hear her crisp diction and the crackling spontaneous energy of the band as they move through 75 years of American songbook classics without nostalgia or cliches. 

The crowd is hushed as Kent whispers and kisses the air. Rhythm section plays with delicate touch. Sax provides duet partner. This standard material is so often done by smokey voiced torch singers and commercial success stories that the breath of fresh air that is Kent's voice blows away any doubt about the evening. Where has she been? Why haven't we seen her before? She owns this material - and the crowd. A few heartfelt words between songs cement the bond between artist and audience. 

2 hours zip by in a flash. We stand. They play two more. The lights come on. We are sad it's over, but glad to have been taken to a place in the heart of a great talent.

 Michael Sendbuehler

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Jacksoul and Randy Williams, DJ (Club Soda) 4/7/04

Hot off the Funk Brothers stage where he provided soulful vocals on Let’s Get It On, Mercy Mercy Me and What’s Goin’ On, Jacksoul’s Haydain Neale continued his hot streak by leading Jacksoul through an energetic and upbeat set at Club Soda.

A tight band with an arsenal of slick and jazzy pop tunes, Toronto’s Jacksoul clearly has a solid fan-base in Montreal. The show started on a high note when the appreciative audience greeted the band by crowding the area in front of the stage. Dancing started with the first song, and didn’t stop until the band left the stage. Jacksoul performed songs from their new album Resurrection, and pleased the old fans with material from their previous albums. The insanely catchy Still Believe in Love, (which can be heard on some radio stations), was a favorite with the crowd, as was the old soul and new jazz-inspired Shady Day.

Early in the show, a visibly awed Neale acknowledged that it was one of the highlights of his career, and life, to have performed with the prolific Funk Brothers. Later, Neale cemented Jacksoul’s twin messages of love and harmony, when he spoke eloquently about World Vision and their child sponsorship program. He encouraged the audience to visit the information booth at the entrance of the club to learn more about how to help this organization.

For this reporter, who did not know Jacksoul before this evening, the Jacksoul show how was a happy surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance; their songs are feverishly fun and they’re a solid band in performance. Their happy cool energy is contagious and they seemed to be having a great time together onstage.

The news that Jacksoul will be opening for the iconic James Brown on November 27th at Metropolis is good news for soul music fans in this city. Put your dancing shoes on!

Amy McLean

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Kenny Barron Quintet  (Spectrum)  6/7/04

Kenny Barron: piano; Stefon Harris: vibraphone; Anne Drummond: flute; Kiyoshi Kitagawa: bass; Kim Thompson: drums

The Kenny Barron Quintet gave an impressive performance on Tuesday night. Barron began the evening with “So It Seems”, a straight-ahead, swinging composition included on his latest release, Images.  However, the group really caught fire with its energetic Latin interpretation of Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints”, which showcased the propulsive drumming of Kim Thompson as well as some tasteful rhythmic accents from Barron at the piano.  Barron then changed the mood in a duet performance with Anne Drummond of his ballad “Song for Abdul”: beginning with a sensitive introduction of the theme on piano, Barron and Drummond then doubled on the melancholy melody, and in her solo Drummond experimented artfully with a breathy tone and staccato tonguing.  This tune was followed by Stefon Harris’ “The Lost Ones”, a structurally simple but moving composition which featured the incomparable Harris himself, as well as some very expressive bass work from Kitagawa and delicate cymbal stylings from Thompson.  This was followed by Barron’s composition, “Cook’s Bay”, a evocative piece calling up almost photographic images, and which offered ample space for soloing.  Here again the drummer Kim Thompson showed a dexterity and flair well beyond her years, while Harris awed with his poly-rhythmic comping.  Barron then ended the performance with a standard bop progression, which gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his prodigious technique and driving swing, and for Harris to defy the laws of physics with his impossible speed.  For the encore, Barron quieted the mood with a more subdued number which, nevertheless, again allowed for the percussive wizardry of Thompson.

Throughout the evening Barron played the charming host, and was especially entertaining in his introductions of the band members—in particular of his Manhattan School of Music students Thompson and Drummond (as a measure of her broad talent, flautist Drummond is a piano major at the School).  In his remarks Barron gave the impression that his quintet was newly-formed, but they played with the confidence and cohesion of an established line-up, which promises that Images is well worth acquiring.  Overall, a very enjoyable evening of music.


Chucho Valdes & Kenny Barron (Monument National) 3/7/02

For those festival goers who missed tonight's concert featuring Chucho Valdes and Kenny Barron, you have truly missed an incredible experience. Chucho's rough mastery of the Cuban piano style was complimented so perfectly by one of the under-rated kings of American jazz, Kenny Barron. The concert was mostly a collection of expected jazz standards, however each song was driven by two opposing and unique forces that turned the most obvious standard into an audacious symphony. The concert resembled the interplay between the two forces of the psyche, the conscious and the subconscious minds. Kenny Barron's ear-pleasing phrases and mature use of the jazz language and vocabulary was mirrored by the less cadential, poetic wandering that Chucho experimented with. Every time Chucho brought the audience into a dark place that was unfamiliar, Kenny brought us back "home". On the other hand, every time we felt too comfortable at home, Chucho reminded us that there is a strange world beyond every one's back yard.


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 Patricia Barber Trio (Spectrum) 9/7/04

I had heard Patricia Barber from recordings, and knew she was masterful in her piano and vocal skills, but was not completely prepared for the delectable treats we were to experience at her concert at the Spectrum on July 9. Patricia and the ensemble set a masterfully refined set of original and cover compositions, always demonstrating their excellent musicianship by hinting at the fact that there was more available than they had to give at any moment. In fact, I didn't feel the band really opened and gave it all until the last number. What a joy to hear a group that wasn't wailing from morning until night!

There is a unique and haunting style to this group. Patricia's voice is brilliantly clean and pure, going from lyrics to improvised harmonies and vocalizations without any apparent effort. The band lays back at all times while still giving a perfect balance and drive to everything. The guitarists waves of slightly distorted sound are a perfect compliment to Patricia's voice.

It took my friend and I a few tunes to become fully engaged in the unmistakable spell of the evening, but
we found it and were truly uplifted by this ensemble's masterful weaving of music.

Ross Brownlee

Patricia Barber Trio with Stefon Harris (Theatre Maisonneuve) 2/7/2001 

Performing at the open grand piano in black capri pants and jacket, bare feet and an upscale version of the backwards cap popularized by Team Canada at the last Olympic Games, Patricia Barber epitomized the millennial evolution of a strong, independent yet sensitive beat chick.
Backed up by a skilled bassist and a highly expressive drummer, who looked to be having the time of his life, Ms. Barber was also accompanied for this concert by talented vibraphonist Stefon Harris. The musicians produced a tight sound but with enough improvisation to keep things piquant, as when the duelling piano and vibraphone had the artists themselves in stitches.
Ms. Barber sang many of her own compositions, which have quirky, individualistic lyrics with more than a hint of satirical bite.
She has a way of hunching attentively over the keyboard as though sending a message and listening for the piano’s response. A Celtic influence was prevalent on some numbers, whereas others had an esoteric, new-age feel with Stefon Harris’s evocative vibraphone in the foreground.
The audience seemed most appreciative, particularly of Ms. Barber’s own compositions. The concert was being filmed for television.

Cynthia Adam

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Taima (TNM) 9/7/04

TAIMA had a very beautiful and versatile voice. However I was expecting something 'ethnically' distinctive. But that may be more my problem than the artiste's. If a performer comes from a minority, lesser-known (in the international music world) community we tend to slot them and exoticize them. She did sing of the land and lifestyle, definitely Innu, once there was a  interlude/introduction with recorded traditional [throat-singing/] but musically her work is in the popular genre.

Dolores Chew

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Lila Downs (Club Soda) 5/7/04  

Lila Downs rendered a very  spirited , exciting  as well as entertaining performance to a houseful of captivated audience! Endowed with an amazing range of powerful voice, she sang about the plight of immigrant workers , lives of ordinary people , rights of women and even of insectsi.e., the dancing cockroaches!The  wide screen behind the artist depicting the themes of her songs added to the quality of the performance..The accompanying artists, playing the saxaphone, the drums, the guitars, harp and the violinwere indeed superb, eliciting several applauses from the audience.Her rich Mexican-Indian American heritage was amply evident in most of her jazz numbers, folk songs, and ballads, with political underlining. She ended befittingly the evening with her academy award winning title song of the movie Frida.Montrealers will certainly welcome back this committed and brilliant performer!   

Madhu Iyer & Anne Caines

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Charlie Haden & Quartet West (Monument National) 9/7/04

Charlie Haden: bass; Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone; Alan Broadbent: piano;
Rodney Green: drums

Quartet West gave an astounding performance on Friday evening, and further cemented its reputation as one of the most polished quartets in contemporary jazz.  Haden’s most popular and mainstream group, Quartet West explored a variety of musical styles from Latin to Bebop to ballads, and its members played seamlessly together.  However, the concert really belonged to the quartet’s front-men, Broadbent and Watts, who essentially gave a clinic on the piano and tenor sax, respectively.  To begin with Broadbent, I have never heard such musicianship from a jazz pianist.  Obviously schooled in the classical repertoire, Broadbent showed a knowledge and command of harmony and, especially, counterpoint that are rarely shown on a jazz stage: his block chord intros, solos, and comping were flawlessly executed and not once did he repeat himself or resort to quoting.  He is definitely the most inventive and consistently interesting jazz pianist I have encountered in recent memory.  And now for the underrated Watts, of whom I can equally only speak in unabashed superlatives.  This man is a musical force of nature: the energy, taste, technical dexterity, and sheer virtuosity of his playing simply defy belief.  As testament to his complete control of his instrument as well as to his transfixing of his audience, on a couple of occasions Watts received a standing ovation following his solo, which is something I’ve never before witnessed at a Montreal Jazz Festival concert.  I have been fortunate enough to take in some breathtaking tenor performances over the years from saxophonists like Brecker, Lovano, Potter, Marsalis, Mintzner and Redman, but Watts’ performance on Friday night set the bar at an entirely new level. Even as I’m writing these words I can only shake my head in wonder.  And as for the bandleader and drummer, they were each solid in providing a rhythmic foundation for the group, and Green, especially, showed that he can stretch out and play if given the space, but given the monumental talent of Broadbent and Watts, Haden and Green certainly were cast in shadow.  That being said, though, Haden showed that his spartan and minimalist style possesses its own allure, and Green kept the music constantly driving forward.  All in all, an extremely impressive concert and one never to be forgotten.  


Charlie Haden, the Liberation Music Orchestra with Carla Bley (Monument National) 8/7/04

 Charlie Haden, Bley and the Liberation Music Orchestra played together at the recently concluded Montreal Jazz Festival (30th June - 11th July 2004) and I had the pleasure and privilege of hearing them. It was an awesome experience listening to them and for me the high point of a truly fantastic jazz festival. As I remarked to my friend with whom I had gone for the concert, I had never heard so much of brass together (three saxes, two trumpets, one trombone and one tuba besides the piano, the double bass, the guitar and the drums) and they combined so beautifully.

Mritiunjoy Mohanty
Kolkata, India

A truly amazing experience. Rich, beautiful and moving. Having seen them twenty years ago in Montreal it was personally rewarding to see and hear them again in 2004. Their commitment to their music and their ideals inspires me.

Dolores Chew

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Charlie Haden Duos with Egberto Gismonti & John Taylor (Monument National) 6/7/04

The highlight of the evening was definitely the Haden/Taylor duet.  Taylor's beautiful ballads were simply entrancing.  A real romantic, Taylor is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, as my friend said after the show.  Haden equally delighted, especially with his "Whale Song."
As for the opening duet with Gismonti, it would have been preferable to have Gismonti play on his own - the two musicians seemed out of sync on a number of occasions.
An enjoyable concert just the same.


Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Daniel Humair & Henri Texier (Spectrum) 2/7/04

The concert was billed as the finest in French Jazz, it was that and more !!!  Each musician could have entertained the audience individually. But with the four combined it was an experience. Over an hour and a half of unbelievable non- stop JAZZ. Each one played for the group and that is what was so impressive. At one point I thought I was at a coffee shop in France, and the next minute speeding along the French country side, not knowing where I was going. But I was going somewhere. What a rush. This is the second time I have been exposed to European Jazz, 1st to the Spanish and now to the French. It was a joy. 

My only problem is that I now have to find the music of Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Daniel Humair, and Henri Texier individually, but it will be fun.

Highly recommend hearing each of them individually, but if you can hear them as a group the more the merry.


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Dianne Reeves (Salle Wilfred Pelletier) 9/7/04

From sultry to rambunctious, from sensual to raunchy, Dianne Reeves does it all. The three-time Grammy-winner sparkled last night, entrancing the audience with her fave songs, ranging from Sara Vaughan to Nina Simone, from
Peter Gabriel to Thelonius Monk. The wonderful arrangements served to highlight the exceptional talent of her trio, although occassionally her voice was lost in the wash of sound. Her voice shines in the high register, and glows in the low (and boy can she hit some low notes); she winds her way beautifully through chromatic passages. Sometimes, though, I wanted a little more lyricism as she flew around and through the melody without ever
actually landing on it. Reeves obviously embraces all musical traditions, from soul and R&B to classical and pop; she is a true diva in her ability not only to imbue whatever she sings with love, energy, and musicality, but
also to bring the audience along for the ride.

N. Berman

Diane Reeves 1/7/2000

An evening to remember. Diane Reeves is the next Ella Fitzgerald.


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Coral Egan (Club Soda) 9/7/04   

Coral Egan's Club Soda concert was a success to many in the sold-out audience, but not to us.  Perhaps she  summed it up best during her intro, when (in artfully skipping between English and French) she proudly announced that her language was 'franglais' or 'frenglish'.  Her musical language was just that - a scrambled melange of bits from here, there, and everywhere, with no real creative core. Sure, she's got a wonderful, powerful, and nuanced alto voice - which she knows how to use to some interesting effect - but one can only wonder at the musical distance between mother and daughter.  That is, unlike mother Karen Young  - who has immersed herself in the tradition of great female jazz vocalists -  there is considerable doubt whether Egan knows what jazz is.  In fact, at one point, while laboriously tuning her guitar, she quipped that 'that's good enough for jazz'!  The two sets were remarkably free of any jazz influence, and at best she managed a kind of pseudo r & b feel (more when she was alone, accompanying herself on piano).  The pop-infused idiom she had chosen instead was also profoundly self-absorbed, making us 'oldsters' feel like we'd stumbled into some adolescent journal ramblings, replete with
onstage giggling and halter-top tugging. She deserves some kudos for having written her material, and hopefully
one day she'll find a way to admit the outside world (both as musical influence and subject for her creative energies), but the lack of 'edge' and musical innovation (of ANY genre) left us cold.

D. van Wyck and A. Lewis

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Dave Douglas with Roswell Rudd, Brad Jones & Barry Altschul (Spectrum) 10/7/04

I myself had never heard much of Dave Douglas, other than a few recordings that I would say were very - experimentive.  I want to say they were free but I'm guessing it was written music, so maybe I should say just very untraditional, atonal almost.  I don't know any other way to describe it, but none the less I am mostly a straight ahead type listener and I was still very pleasantly surprised at this concert.  It definitely wasn't traditional and all that straight ahead, but they swung hard, and played good melodies. 
I find one aspect of very experimental music in my opinion is that it's hard to tell where solos are, and where the heads are, and while it may be this fluidity that is the whole point, I don't prefer it over hearing a nice difference between the two - what's the intended melody, and then what's composed on the spot, and since it was the first time I had ever heard him I certainly didn't know his tunes beforehand.
 I'd say what stuck out the most to me though was his trumpet playing in general.  He has a fantastic sound, a vibrato you don't often hear in modern trumpet players, and an extremely apparent versatility that makes his statements worth hearing.  One thing that comes to mind is the bebop lines, very impressive. 

Alan Sherry

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 Steven Bernstien and the Millenial Territory Orchestra (Gesu) 5/7/04

 Steven Bernstien and the Millenial Territory Orchestra played wonderfully for two hours. The orchestra, as Bernstien insisted on calling the group, emphasizing his distinction between a "band" and an orchestra as heasked whether they were the same thing in French.After this brief intro they got down to playing music. The orchestra consisted of 9 musicians. There were two saxes, baritone and tenor, a clarinet, a violin that sounded electrified but wasn't, a trombone, base, drums, electric guitar, and Steven Bernstien on trumpet and coronet with a long slide. Bernstien introduced all of the pieces played and dedicated some to the late Ray Charles,and jokingly to Boy Scouts, to Canadian Customs and Immmigration agents etc. Each piece featured at least one or more of the musicians as soloists. There was a generation gap between some of the musicians in terms of age with the trombone, drums and guitar being younger than the other musicians however the orchestra was

Ronald Spivock  

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Zachary Richard with Sonny Landreth & Bill Dillon (TNM) 8/7/04

Zachary Richard accompanid by Bill Dillon on elecrtic and acoustic guitar, Sonny Landrith on electric slide concocted a hot, savoury mix of sounds to satisfy a variety of musical taste buds.

The show began on a quiet note as the multi-instrumentalist Zachary Richard sat down on the grand piano to churn out a melancholy tune in Cajun French. He later swiched over to acoustic guitar and brought up the tempo for his original compositions which portay life in Cajun  Louisianna (Cajun being an Americanization of Acadian). He sang both in English and Cajun French along with a  number of anecdotes to introduce the songs.

The musical smorgasboard continued with a mixture of blues and r n’ b. The icing on the cake was an uptempo zydeco number that got the crowd  stomping and clapping.

The concert was as much a crowd pleaser  for those who have followed Zachary on his long career as for those who, like I, have seen and heard him for the first time.


Zachary Richard with/avec Sonny Landreth & Bill Dillon (TNM) 6/7/04 

Le mercredi 7 juillet, Zachary Richard a offert au public une prestation en deux actes, dont le premier était composé de ballades au rythmes lents. Avec l’arrivée sur scène du guitariste Sonny Landreth, le deuxième acte était plus relevé et diversifié : blues, zydeco, jazz, rock. Zachary s’est révélé un véritable animal de scène, surtout avec sa chanson de l’écrevisse ou la salle entière était debout, dansait et s’amusait. Cependant l’acoustique de la salle du TNM n’était pas à la hauteur et on arrivait difficilement à suivre les paroles des chansons, pour la moitié en anglais. N’empêche que ce pianiste, guitariste, accordéoniste, chanteur, compositeur bilingue de la Louisiane sait emporter la foule.

Mylène et Unto

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 Richard Pinhas and Jerome Schmidt’s “Schizotrope”with Maurice G. Dantec  (Musee d’Art Contemporain) 7/7/04

 The lights darken over the audience, a recorded old French song comes on, Pinhas and Schmidt enter the lighted stage. They sit, Pinhas picking up a guitar and Schmidt in front of a computer and other electronic equipment. The French song continues, the woman singing as the artists arrange themselves comfortably. One of them is smoking a cigarette and coughing. The audience is transported to old Paris and struggling artistes. This image quickly disappears as the French song fades and Pinhas starts playing his guitar: a couple of notes that the electronic equipment repeats; a few more notes are played and these too are repeated. Soon the audience sees that this will be the flow of the music, a few notes played on the guitar picked up by the electronic equipment and repeated, sometimes a few recorded vocals added in: a phone message, a man’s voice—the words unclear, drum beats… No longer struggling artists in Parisian attics, modern day artists playing contemporary jazz.

A videotape of Gilles Deleuze, to whom this show is dedicated, appears on a screen at the back of the stage. He is a philosopher and as he sits in front of a computer or on his bed he reads Nietzsche.

Deleuze’s voice fades though an image of him remains on the screen as Maurice Dantec comes out on stage and starts reciting poetry. The sound on the microphone is not loud enough for what he says to be distinctly heard, it blends in with the music. The sound gets louder until the audience can now hear his words, his phrases, his poetry. When he has finished, the three artists leave the stage and disappear into the darkness.

The “Schizotrope” show is a blend of so many repeated guitar notes that it ends up sounding like background noise interspersed with Dantec’s poetry and Deleuze reading Nietzsche. It is not dance music, not easy-listening music, not feel-good music. It is a very avant-garde show, perhaps too contemporary, too eclectic for the average person wanting to hear melodious jazz.

Marielle Carpenter 

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Jane Bennett (Gesu) 9/7/04

Jane Bennett’s concert was a departure from her customary appearance with her group Spirit of Havana. For this concert she was accompanied by two pianists: the veteran ex Art Pepper and Roland Kirk pianist Stanley Cowell and young David Virelles from Cuba.

The concert consisted of original pieces from her CD Spirituals & Dedications and a foretaste of her new recording Red Dragonfly. Her soprano sax and flute was accompanied both rhythmically and melodically by the grand pianos.

The playing was first-rate in this unorthodox jazz setup but the two pianos got muddled at times making it difficult to distinguish who was playing what thus creating an unclear musical picture.

For those who have heard Jane with her band Spirit of Havana, this venture into a “chamber music” setting lacks the texture and sonic lushness of her previous endeavours. To conclude it was a good concert, but not in my mind worthy of the standing ovation given by concert attendants.


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Tony Bennett (Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, PDA) 30/6/04

 I was fortunate to be able to attend Tony Bennett's show last night  (June 30/04) and can say with confidence it was a rousing success. He sang a lot of our favorites and covers of other artists. His band was top notch and added to the show by performing solo's and "jam" sessions. The drummer was particularly good. Tony's voice seems to be getting better with age and his rapport with the audience was great. We could have listened for much longer and the second standing ovation (after an encore) went on for at least 10 minutes.

Malcolm MacKinnon

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Rouge Ciel (Musee d’Art Contemporain) 1/7/04 

We enjoyed hearing this group on July 1st. They are attractively animated and talented musicians to boot. Lots of enthusiasm too. Their selections displayed all their talents and featured an intriguing variety of sound and rhythm.  By the end of the concert, however, they were beginning to repeat some of the innovations unnecessarily.  Got a
bit repetitive.

J and E Taylor

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George Benson (Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, PDA) 2/7/04

George Benson showed that he can still play the guitar well and work the crowd.  A nearly full house enjoyed his singing and playing old and new hits.  He was backed up by a 6 piece band including drum kit, electric bass, electric guitar, percussion, and two keyboard players.  I was disappointed that one of the synth players was doing the horn and string lines - I definitely expected to see a real horn section for this show.

Steve Bellamy  

George Benson (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PDA) July 4/7/01

Benson's melodious voice and pop-funk-jazz guitar were as pleasing as ever. His band, however, was imminently mediocre, as was the  sound-engineering of the concert. The synthesizer and drums were irritatingly over-amped and over-trebled. Benson could have done away with these instruments altogether, adding horns to replace the moog, and giving greater prominence to the female percussionist from Prince's band instead. Both her cungas and the piano were barely audible. The guitarist, Michael O'Neill's back vocals and licks nicely blended in with Benson's, but the vocal duet with Benson by the percussionist was annoyingly piercing. She should stay on back vocals. The listening would have been more enjoyable had Benson performed alone, without a band at all. The audience, nonetheless, enjoyed the concert, due to Benson's great tunes that probably brought back memories of the '70's and '80's.


Au responsable du son,

Je suis un fan de jazz depuis l'âge de six ans (l960) et j'ai eu la chance de voir plusieurs spectacles de jazz, dans la salle Wilfrid-Pelletier ou ailleurs. Je me souviens même de Stan Getz + Astrud Gilberto (1964?) ou Dave Brubeck ou Oscar Peterson + Ella Fitzgerald + Joe Pass ou Woody Herman.... J'ai moi-même fait de la musique pendant plusieurs années dont quelquefois avec UZEB; je connais donc très bien le jazz et je suis un mélomane qui sait quoi faire pour bien balancer les sons dans différents types de salle (même dans des gymnase, sous-sol d'église, camping, etc.).
Pour la première fois, j'ai été très très déçu de la qualité sonore lors de l'excellent spectacle de George Benson. Si il y avait eu une intermission, je serais descendu de la mezzanine pour parler à l'ingénieur du son ; mais il n'y a jamais eu d'intermission. Il y avait  6 excellents musiciens sur scène (du moins il m'a semblé) mais on aurait dit qu'ils étaient deux. On n'entendait que le soliste (Benson ou clavier ou rarement un autre) avec le batteur. Je suis batteur mais je n'entendais essentiellement qu'une grosse caisse qui résonnait comme une explosion ou un mal de tête. J'aurais aimé entendre tous les musiciens clairement pour apprécier l'arrangement global. Le prix élevé des billets ne m'a donné qu'une énorme frustration ininterrompue. Pourtant, le son de tous les concerts extérieurs était impeccable, ce qui est beaucoup plus difficile à réussir que dans une salle conçue spécialement pour l'acoustique de spectacle. J'ai nettement eu l'impression que l'ingénieur du son qui était en fonction ne comprend rien du concept d'arrangement musical ; il n'aime que la mélodie et ne veut pas entendre l'accompagnement, les accords et la rythmique. Avisez le responsable pour moi SVP. Les disques de Benson sont pourtant des chefs-d'oeuvre de son bien enveloppés et parfaitement balancés, même avec des grands orchestres de 20 à 50 musiciens.

André Duquette

A little too much synthesizer. It really is amazing how versatile a performer he is. Not only is he a fantastic guitar player, but also has a great singing voice. He is a very animated entertainer on stage (as are the members of his band). He relates very well with the audience. He played a wonderful version of Take Five!

Steve Babb

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Eliane Elias (Club Soda) 3/7/04 

Eliane Elias returned to Montreal last night to an enthusiastic welcome from fans at Club Soda.  She delighted the crowd with her talent at the piano and a voice that is a warm and soothing as a summer breeze.  Joined on stage by Mark Johnson on bass an excellent drummer (who's name I didn't quite catch but will take a guess at his last name being Takahashi), the trio filled the room with a great mix of jazz standards, some with a Brazilian flavour, and Brazilian tunes, some with a jazz swing flavour.

 The group played through 2 sets of music giving the crowd their money's worth.  They wound up the first set with Chega de Saudade (No More Blues), a wonderful arrangement that began with simply voice & guitar, changed to trio and had the very fine guitarist (though he played no solos) return to end the song. 

Ms. Elias played a particularly lovely version of Jobim's Photographia (sp?) as well as several other tunes from her new CD entitled, "Dreamer".  

Of particular interest in Ms. Elias' playing is her choice of melody substitutions on the piano.  She often takes it outside but never so far that we lose "sight" of the song.

The group ended the evening with a full jazz treatment on Desifinado which included a swinging piano solo followed by bassist Johnson's solo featuring a partcularly sweet bowed section to change the mood & feel of the piece.  During the drum solo the drummer abandoned sticks in favour of his hands to the crowds' delight and laid down some great stuff to set up the band's return.

 The audience gave the group a standing ovation and Ms. Elias returned with a wonderful arrangement of Garota de Ipanema (Girl from) from her "Sings Jobim" record followed by an up version So Danco Samba to end the night.

 Unfortunately, the Montreal Festival does not list the names of accompanying musicians in their programs and I do apologize for not including the full names of Ms. Elias' guitarist & drummer here.

Louise Thibault 

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“Translate” Michel Benita, Eric Truffaz, Judith Darmont (Musée d’Art Contemporain) 5/704 

This concert, which showcased the musical explorations of French musicians Michel Benita on bass, Eric Truffaz on trumpet, and video artist Judith Darmont, involved a heavy reliance on electronics. Benita divided his time between plucking his upright bass and fiddling with the knobs and buttons of a stack of electronic gear which altered the sound of the bass and also resulted in sequenced repetitions of bass lines over which the musicians improvised. Likewise, trumpeter Eric Truffaz, who sat on a chair, cross-legged and relaxed, blowing out cool sonorities, fiddled with peddles on the floor, or interacted with Benita’s alterations of the trumpeter’s sounds, as he blew occasionally into a microphone that sent the trumpet signal through the electronic apparatus. Behind and to the left of Truffaz, Judith Darmont stood at a table that held two lap-tops and a number of dark boxes that she used to trigger changes to the projections on a video screen suspended at the back of the stage which paralleled the music stream, just as the musicians, at times, glanced at the screen to develop their musical ideas. Static harmonies, modality were the focus, and short, fragmented “melodies” were what the musicians mainly worked with in developing the music of the evening. The resulting sound textures were “cool” and the playing was very discontinuous, with short but intense bursts of sound ideas. The rhythm of the video images was interesting but not enough for a sense of development to maintain long-term interest over the course of two hours. And the whole approach resulted in music characterized by repetitive drum loops and bass figures that is fine for background listening or dancing but not really engaging for concentrated listening.  

Paul Serralheiro

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Aldo Romano, Danilo Rea, Remi Vignolo (Gesu) 6/704

The Italian drummer Aldo Romano led a tight trio, with Danilo Rea on piano and Remi Vignolo on acoustic bass. The spry playing of Romano was the driving force behind the engaging, energetic music, with Rea providing inventive melodic variations on a number of Romano’s original compositions as well as on some unexpected vehicles such as the Beatles’s “Fool on the Hill,” and Elton John’s “Your Song”. The European mainstream approach presented by the trio was characterized by lyricism and a relative absence of bluesy playing. The pianistic colours reminded one more of Mozart and Beethoven rather than Ellington or Monk, although the rhythmic drive and the impromptu, inventive weaving of a surprising variety of ideas that appear with the best jazz were a prominent part of the unfolding music.The interactions among the musicians were also fresh and limber. Remi Vignolo provided interesting in-the-moment counterpoints to the pianist’s ideas, and Romano’s accents and shifts in pulse kept the music flowing in a continuously harmonious, stimulating fashion. Satisfying heads-up music created by articulate, imaginative players.

Paul Serralheiro 

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Three Guitars: Larry Coryell, John Abercrombie & Badi Assad (Spectrum) 7/7/04

At first glance, Three Guitars seemed to consist of two geezers and a babe. With their white hair and glasses, Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie were their usual affable selves, but they appeared to be a serious mismatch for the sleek and seductive -- though equally affable -- Badi Assad.
And then the music began. Appearances quickly dissolved as the audience fell in love with these virtuosi. The three acoustic guitars (Assad on nylon strings, Coryell and Abercrombie on steel) blended well, though we always knew who was doing what. The friend who came along with me thought Abercrombie was the anchor for this group, laying down the most complex solos and consistently filling in for the other two players. I agree -- up to a point. John Abercrombie is one of the finest jazz guitarists around, and he definitely shone in this concert.
I was more impressed, however, with Larry Coryell. Since I last heard him, his playing has become much more melodic and he has learned a few tricks. The amazing chord work and fast runs were present, of course, with the addition of some sweet octaves and an entire solo played with harmonics.
I've saved what I think was the best for last. The classically trained Brazilian Badi Assad was simply astonishing. She was nothing less than a walking instrument. When she wasn't creating kick-ass rhythms and mind-altering fretwork on her guitar, playing the mbira (thumb piano) or a strange flutelike instrument, she used her voice and her body to create an explosion of percussive and otherworldly sounds. (Comparisons to Bobby McFarrin are close but don't even begin to describe what she does.) Her emotional intensity and originality were often the spark that
pushed her jazz partners to perform their best.
The music itself was a blend of compositions by the individual performers and a few Latin jazz standards such as Insensitaz (How Insensitve), One-Note Samba, and Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) played the way you never heard them before.
I will summarize this concert in one word: Wow! The musicians played three encores to standing ovations. As soon as the stores open, I intend to buy a Three Guitars CD.

Jim Lewis

Larry Coryell (Salles du Gesu) 27/6/02

Larry Coryell's solo guitar performance last night at the Salles du Gésu was - to use an old cliché - pure magic. Mr.Coryell's symbiosis with his guitar was a sight to behold, and hear, both for amateurs and pros of jazz alike. Coryell has a way of playing his instruments so passionately, fluidly, tenderly, and at times emphatically, that it almost seems as if he is playing on beams of light rather than strings of a guitar.
The concert was a delicious serving of fabulous interpretations of artists ranging from Duke Ellington to George Harrison, interspersed with Coryell's own juicy-jazzy compositions.
From ballad to blues, to ambiant jazz, Coryell had the crowd grooving, snapping, clapping, swaying and "yeah"-ing for more. As for myself, I was continuously struggling between wanting to keep my eyes open and focused on Larry's magical movements, and wanting to keep them shut and drift into the smooth, jazzy universe that this artist so happily evoked. Coryell's good humour and connection with the audience was like a cherry on top of what was already a wonderful serving of sound.

Jeffrey Golf

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Danilo Perez (Gesu)  7/7/04

The performance began before Danilo Perez even walked on stage: A faulty fire alarm in Salle de Gesu was set-off four times before the staff was finally able to control it. When the crowd was just about fed-up with the recurring technical mishap, Perez walked on stage with a warm smile and greeted the frustrated crowd with a few calming jokes and a pleasant demeanor. He was accompanied by one of my favorite contemporary bass players, Ben Street, and Adam Cruz on drums. Together they created a musically sophisticated yet abundantly playful ambience that wove together mostly unidentifiable excerpts from a variety of compositions by Stevie Wonder, Thelonious Monk and various Latin American composers.
Although the band was very well rehearsed (this is the same trio that played on Perez's latest album, Till Then), the energy seemed to emanate mostly from the intense interaction between Perez and Cruz. The two of them  exploited an uncanny musical connection, often breaking into unexpected duets where they seemed able to read each other's mind as they improvised complex figures that mirrored the other musician's intentions. While Ben Street is without a doubt an extremely talented bassist- and fits very well in the sound of the group- it seemed that he didn't get too many opportunities throughout the performance to join the fun game being played between the piano and drums.
The music was at times heavy to digest. The distinction between each song's melody and its solo sections was heavily blurred. Perez strangely favored playing in the highest and lowest registers on the piano for a large portion of his improvising, which made it difficult to distinguish the intricacies in his playing and at times worked against the pianist's inherent function as the main harmonic instrument in that trio setting. Nonetheless, the music was artistic and attractive, and each musician's virtuosity was apparent. It seemed that Perez's intentions with this trio was not to present his music in a standard and prepared format, but to rely on spontaneity to determine the direction of each song. Following this principle, the trio summoned both good and bad moments throughout the performance, but ultimately they achieved Perez's goals.

Christopher Cargnello

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 Amy Winehouse (Club Soda) 7/7/04

 The expectations for this concert were quite high as the blurb read the “Billie Holiday of the 21st century “ and “favourably compared to Ella Fitzgerald”. Although this young British singer lacked the vocal range of Ella, she did exhibit the slurry voice of Billie Holiday, or even at times a style reminiscent of Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mack if one wishes to give the publicity for the concert any credibility.

Comparisons aside, Amy Wineheart has a style all her own both visually and sonically.

Appearing in a short turquoise dress with pink spiked high-heeled shoes, she was accompanied by a trio consisting of electric and acoustic piano, electric bass and drums. Most of the tunes were originals of Amy’s backed by a funky beat in fast tempi and a backbeat in slow numbers. She did however play some covers such as Caravan, and What a Difference a Day Makes which got the crowd cheering.

The overall sound of the band was well balanced. As for Amy, although technically limited in her vocal range or clarity, her slurry vocal style seemed to fit in well in such a club atmosphere. So if you like your jazz jagged and mean with a dabble of alcohol drenched vocal chords in the delivery, you might have been pleased with Amy’s performance. 


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Chick Corea: solo concert (Monument National) 30/6/04

Last night Chick Corea, in one of his rare solo concerts, thrilled a wildly appreciative audience at the Monument National. With disarming casualness he made us feel we were sitting around the piano in his living room chatting and listening to him play. He even made sure the lighting in the venue was suitable to such an informal evening, by raising the lights somewhat in the hall itself, thus diminishing the distinction between stage and audience.
His wonderfully warm ‘fireside chats’ shed further light on his music and his life.
The evening opened with some ‘easy’ (his word) standards. In Gershwin’s ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, Corea’s inimitable harmonies and voicing, and the lyrical, Bill Evans-esque melodies worked their magic. In ‘It Could Happen to You’ and ‘But Beautiful,’ both by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke, Corea’s sheer joy in the sonority of the piano shone through, reminding me of Claude Debussy’s early 20th-century pianistic explorations of sound and colour. In the Bud Powell pieces that followed, Corea furthered explored the sound possibilities of the piano by taking a page from John Cage, muting the strings with his right hand while playing in the low register with his left.
The mood became even more intimate when Corea shared one of his current projects with us: improvisations on Alexander Skryabin’s early piano preludes, dating from the turn of the 20th century. I can see why Corea would be attracted to the Russian-born composer’s music, with its late Romantic harmonies and Chopinesque melodies, as well as its avant-garde dissonance and intensity. His renditions of a couple of the preludes worked well as dialogues between the two great musicians, with Corea’s improvisations melting seamlessly in and out of Skryabin’s pieces. Nevertheless, I would have to say that Corea’s voice was the louder of the two; Skryabin, like us, was a welcome, but humble, guest in Corea’s home. Corea tried to end the concert (but the audience wouldn’t let him go!) with a selection of tiny pieces written in the 1970s which he described as portraits of the spirit of children (‘Children’s Pieces’). These pieces, as he told us, have special significance for him now, as he is enjoying his role as a grandfather to a new-born and a toddler. Set apart from much of his work by their simplicity (reminiscent of the early 20th-century composer Eric Satie), most of them consisted of an ostinato in the left hand and short repeated melodies in the right. I would guess that the portraits represent a child growing up, as they seem to progress from the simple wonderment of the new-born to the older child’s gradual awakening to the wider, and wilder, world around him or her. These little but powerful pieces were for me the highlight of the show.
Obliging us with 3 encores, Corea ended the evening with the popular ‘Armando’s Rhumba,’ followed by a fun experiment in which Corea divided the entire audience into a 5-part choir, and conducted us through a rollicking improvisation, and finally by the surprise appearance of Gayle Moran, Corea’s wife, who sang ‘Some Day My Prince Will Come,’ accompanied by her husband, whom she described aptly as one of the ‘master musicians on the planet.’
Chick Corea will be playing three more sold-out concerts at this year’s Jazz Fest: tonight with  Gary Burton, tomorrow with the Acoustic Trio, and Saturday with the Elektric Band.

N. Berman

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 Jane Siberry (Club Soda) 30/6/04

 Jane Siberry’s music appeals to our humanity; it evokes memories and images we can understand or remember.  She creates images and movements that speak of life, laughter, wisps of sadness and even death as a respite or a messenger of joy. Accompanied by the remarkable and ever attentive Tim Ray on piano, her repertoire paints pictures of childhood experiences and feelings: paddling down a river, skating in the country, saying goodbye.She is preoccupied with her audience as people and sincerely asks us, “How are you doing?”  She speaks of “callisthenics for peace” and lays before us, upon a “common table” in moving pictures and metaphors, music in which we can all partake.  She invites us to explore a surprising and delightful repertoire.  Sibbery seeks the real and the sublime in sounds, in images and in life. Thanks Jane ! 

Suzanne Maloney 

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Chris Potter Quartet (Gesu) 1/704

Chris Potter (tenor saxophone) , Craig Taborn (Fender Rhodes electric
piano), Wayne Krantz (guitar),  Nate Smith ( drums )

This high-energy evening concert consisted of rock-style drumming with repetitive vamps of one or two chords for long solos.  While the jam-band style jazz  was an interesting exercise in counting, and
allowed Potter to show his solo chops, it didn't provide much in the way of dynamic or harmonic interest.  Some full -band unison lines on many of the themes were fun, but the loop-like backgrounds of the solo sections became tiring after a while.  The rock drumming was very busy and energetic and the crowd seemed to enjoy it.

Steve Bellamy

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 je suis allée hier soir, le 6 juillet, me promener sur le site du festival. Étant haute comme trois pommes, je ne voyais pas grand chose derrière la foule ammassée devant les scènes, pourtant la musique était excellente mais je ne voyais que des cheveux, quand j'ai vu de la lumière au loin et à ma protée. Quel ne fut pas ma surprise de découvrir un spectacle de cracheurs et joueuses de feu sous le thême des guérriers, j'ai oublié leur nom de groupe: windam??  C'était un très spécial et vraiment facinant de les voir jongler avec le feu. En partant tout ce que je voulais c'était en faire moi aussi!!

A ne pas manquer l'année prochaine pour peut être un autre spectacle!!

 De plus, après avoir vu un t-shirt sur le site internet, j'ai parcouru tout les stads du festival à sa recherche, mais heureusement j'ai pu m'en procurer un!!!  Je peux vous assurer que le t-shirt baby-T noir et rouge Ste-Cath 25e est populaire cette année!! Je vous félicite pour la qualité des vêtements disponibles, on ne sait lequel choisir. IL est rare de trouver de beaux vêtement promotionnel dans les festivals, mais la que de choix. Et je ne parle pas de ceux provenant du cirque du soleil...

 l'idée de l'ensemble des CD et du livre du 25e à 25 $ bon concept et bon achat!!

 le festival est un endroit dangeureux pour les acheteurs passionnés comme moi

 alors à l'année prochaine!!!

 Stephanie Brard

Afro Cuban All Stars (Metropolis) 28/4/2003

The Afro-Cuban All Stars came on stage about 8:30pm; this half hour  delay gave just enough time for The Metropolis to saturate itself with  eager revelers hoping for a night of Afro-Cuban music, whatever that  is. Certainly having been organized by The International Jazz Festival  Of Montreal, one had a hint of what to expect, however, the Afro-Cuban  background promised to add a touch if not a generous serving of Latino  sound. Juan de Marcos, the graying dread locked band leader, arranger,  producer, and front man for the All Stars is best known for his  visionary and influential role in the recording of The Buena Vista   Social Club. The Afro-Cuban All Stars is the realization of his dream  to bring back the sound of big band Cuban music to the world. This  first time listener was not disappointed, nor would I guess those who  were hearing them again on this their third visit to Montreal. Juan de  Marcos danced, sang, and conducted his fifteen man band to a feverish pitch while giving moments to highlight the special talents of the pianist, trumpeter and trombonist. When he let the tom tom virtuoso let loose on the stage, however, he saw how appreciative a Montreal audience could be. Even with what the band offered, three singers each in turn stamped their own seductive style on to the show. Of the three, it was the seventy nine year old, whose seasoned voice, presence, and frolicsome style got the biggest cheers. An incredible night of Cuban big band music where we all felt transported back fifty years to Havana. From the response of the crowd, however, maybe were hearing what the future will hold. The only criticism would have been a personal wish, though I am sure everyone in attendance would agree, to have the music go long into the night. The show was over by 10:30pm, much too short and far too early for this foreigner.

Debbie Drake

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Raw Materials: Vijay Iyer & Rudresh Mahanthappa ( Musee d'Art Contemporain) 26/06/03

This was an engaging and enjoyable concert rendered by two young , talented , gracious performers from New York, Vijay on the piano and Rudresh on the saxophone. Most of their compositions have been commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, N.Y.C. Among other tunes, they charmed the audience with a ballad, "Come Back", "Fly Higher" a tribute to Charlie Parker; and a piece dedicated to Vijay's grand parents, which had a distinct devotional and hypnotic tone to it. Being a grandmother myself, it truly touched my soul!  The pieces, "duo" and "hope"  were exhilarating and joyous , eliciting a standing ovation . The two artists cleverly managed to integrate their Indian ancestral roots blending them with Asiatic influences and afro rhythms , thus creating  a unique Jazz synthesis. We hope to seeing them again next year!    

Madhu Iyer & Eileen Collins

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Baptiste Trotignon & Martial Solal (Monument National) 26/6/03

Piano Solo

Deux artistes aussi differents par le style que la sensibilite auraient merite de se produire seuls. Leur reunion en un seul spectacle a quelque peu affaibli le charme que l'un ou l'autre pouvait avoir sur l'auditoire. On se laisse volontiers emouvoir par la musique quasi meditative et empreinte d'une grande sensibilite de Baptiste Trotignon. On ressent un grand savoir-faire ou plutot, un enorme talent,acquis par une longue experience chez Martial Solal qui, par ailleurs, ne rechigne pas a introduire, a l'occasion, une touche d'humour a son repertoire. A-t-on seulement eu le temps de les apprecier respectivement?

Frederic Aubert           

Baptiste Trotignon Trio et Jean-Michel Pilc , Salle du Gesù, 5/7/02

The Baptiste Trotignon Trio gave an excellent performance that night. The three musicians played symbiotically in a polished style to a connoisseur audience. The location is perfect for that type of intimate concert.
The Jean-Michel Pilc Trio is obviously used to being in the spotlight, as they improvised endlessly with brio. However, more set compositions would have been appreciated too.

Mylène and Unto

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 Al Di Meola (Theatre Maisoneuve,PDA) 27/06/03 

This "Guru " of fusion and an unimpeachable master of the guitar, gave us another memorable performance with very talented , exuberant band! Blending the Old classics with his new pieces, Di Meola enthralled the audience with his mature virtuosity and his mastery of the instrument. I very much enjoyed his rendering of the Double Concerto. It was indeed delightful to watch the spontaneous rapport between the band members and Di Meola's interaction with the audience. No wonder the Encore was twice repeated!

Madhu Iyer

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Joe Zawinul Syndicate (Spectrum) 27/06/03

This was the only show for which I purchased tickets before coming to Montreal on 6/26.  Having been attracted to Weather Report while in college 30 years ago I was very interested in this show atop all other scheduled indoor or outdoor.  My wife is not a great fan of electric jazz and I forewarned her about the intensity this show might present. In the end she was enchanted with the integration of musicians and pace of each number.
The band did not leave anything on the stage.  From moment one this high energy fusion sound filled the Spectrum and did not let go.  Every musician was extremely talented and continued to feel comfortable having everything go through Zawinul.  He is very humble, seasoned and truly electrifying.  Although there were no nostalgic Weather Report tunes, this driving band gives world beat a true fusion leader.

Robert Page
Hardwick, Massachusetts, USA

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Frederik Nordstrom Quintet / Tord Gustavsen Trio (Gesu) 27/06/2003

Scandinavian Jazz

The evening of Scandinavian jazz at the Gesu Theatre on Friday June 27 began late (10:30 PM) and finished early (1:15 AM or so). It featured the robust, exploratory and intense playing of the Swedish Fredrik Nordstrom Quintet and the quietly dramatic sound-scapes of Norway’s Tord Gustavsen Trio.
The Swedish group was first up. After an introduction of the band members, the concert opened with individual statements on a tune called "Russian Tea," beginning with the suave playing of vibraphonist Mattias Stahl, a tall, lanky, intense musician who brought great presence to the bandstand, even when he was just listening to his bandmates. Other tunes played included the forceful and liberated "Get Out of My Way," the imaginative "Viking," the widely expressive "Vivo" and "On Purpose," the title track of the latest recording by Nordstrom’s quintet.
Fluid playing by everyone, but notably inspired playing from the vibraphonist and the saxophonist.
After a break for instrument changes, the Tord Gustavsen trio took the evening in a more introspective, yet, paradoxically, flamboyant direction. The trio, made up of Gustavsen on piano, Harald Johnsen on bass and Jarle Vespestad on drums, played selections from their ECM release Changing Places, as well as tunes from a forthcoming album.
Songs with titles like "Graceful Touch," "Song of Yearning," and "Where Breathing Starts," can give you an idea of the quality of the music--unabashedly poetic, and imaginatively performed, with a quiet intensity that made one hang on every sound, and the quieter it got the more intense the listening. Very soothing music from the Norwegian trio. Along with the poetic quality was an obvious familiarity with the idiomatic virtues of American jazz, from gospel vamps to bluesy runs to staccato rhythmic displacements, Gustavesn at the piano at times looking and sounding like Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver. Jarle Vespestad on drums and Harald Johnsen on bass showed an impressive sensitivity to pulse and imaginatively accompanied Gustavsen’s playing.
The evening confirmed that a mature jazz language continues to evolve outside North America.

Paul Serralheiro

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Rubin Steiner (Club Soda) 27/06/03

Belle première nord américaine pour le quartet français qui accumule pourtant les concerts un peu partout dans le monde. La salle, quasiment vide vers minuit, s’est bien remplie par la suite, au rythme d’une musique hétéroclite, et il faut bien le dire accrochante.
 Sur scène, Rubin Steiner, un français originaire de Tours, se sert d’un sampleur, de microphones et d’autres « gadgets » électroniques. François Pirault (vidéo jockey) mixait en direct avec talent des images vidéos : routes défilant à toute allure, foule, images de manifs, etc. Il a aussi, semble-t-il, produit des effets sonores. Benoît Louette était au trombone et Sylvestre Perrusson, à la contrebasse.
Comment décrire la musique : une rythmique binaire, donc efficace. Du jazz certes, mais aussi beaucoup de funk, et à cet égard, le contrebassiste, ancien membre d’un groupe punk, était vraiment excellent. Saluons la prestation des membres, très dynamiques et expressifs. Ils étaient ravis d’être sur scène et le public n’y a pas été insensible. On a même eu droit à un morceau de ragtime mitigé de drum’n’bass sur des images des années quarante dénonçant d’une façon plutôt cocace les effets « néfastes » de la marijuana. Un peu surpris de l’accueil, ils sont revenus pour un rappel. Et puis, quel beau sourire il a ce Rubin!  
Discographie : dernier disque paru en 2001, Wunderbar drei, qui est l’œuvre du seul Rubin.
Digne de mention : Rubin Steiner participe à un projet « travaux publics » dont le concept est de proposer à différents artistes des exercices de style musicaux. Les disques sont tirés à un nombre limité d’exemplaires, que l’on peut se procurer uniquement par Internet (et tant qu’il en reste). Idée originale qui mérite d’être creusée à l’adresse

Sabine Thuilleaux

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Sarah-Jane Morris (Club Soda) 28/06/03  

Sado Sarah  

Sarah Jane Morris, showing a flair for drama, appeared on stage with  her expansive red curls forming a halo above a long, billowy white dress. The audience learned that she branched out into singing after training in theater. One could certainly picture her, for example, delivering gruff soliloquies in an all-women’s cast of Richard III now running at Shakespearean Globe theater.. or as the lead in a movie about Janice Joplin. Morris told us that she had auditioned for a film about Joplin’s life. However, Britney Spears, was chosen to play the role and lip-synch to Joplin’s original sound track. Morris admitted to being bitter after this experience since she herself, an actress and leading bearer of Joplin’s legacy, ought to have been chosen for the part. Her voice sounds like Janis Joplin’s, but the comparison may be getting stale, for Morris’s real forte lies in her own wrenching songs of women’s pain and suffering. The emotion with which she sang about Kate, her theater school friend who committed suicide, and her references to women loving women, certainly appealed to a devoted lesbian following in the crowd . Calling herself twisted, she belted out her most powerful piece, “Love and Pain” about sado-masochism, with conviction. Vocally, she excelled when performing in true punk rock style, masterfully matching the wailing guitars of the MacColl brothers. When she only used the lower part of her vocal register, though, trying to exploit the shock value of a male voice emanating from a woman, she ended up sounding like an old man with no musical ability. Her intimate musical camaraderie with co-composer and guitarist, Callum MacColl (son of the legendary folk artist, Ewan MacColl who wrote the Roberta Flack hit, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”), was evident. A tidbit for visitors to London town: Morris owns a bar in London called Johnny Scott’s Jazz Club where she frequently performs.


Sarah-Jane Morris and Marc Ribot (Club Soda) 5/7/02

Jazz puritans steer clear of Sarah-Jane Morris. Everyone else take a bite out of this dish and see if you can stomach her bitter lyrics and deep, harsh voice. Sarah-Jane gave many thanks and praise to her main musical influence, Janis Joplin, however, she doesn’t sing much like Joplin and can be compared more to the deep voice of Cassandra Wilson and at times the rough, husky voice of Tom Waits. She began the first set accompanied only by Ribot, singing an arrangement of “Can’t Stand the Rain” that was both eerie and sublime. Ribot played mostly an acoustic steel-string guitar throughout the night, hacking the strings in the most unusual way, playing in a style that sounded like something that would come out of a jam session between Keith Richards and John Scofield. For most of the night the music was exciting and energetic, but at Club Soda where drinks are served, the crowd inevitably gets drunk. As the second set wrapped up and Sarah-Jane sang more blues, the clapping offbeat and random cheers began emerging from different sections of the club. Her encore, “Me and Mrs. Jones” was performed well but the crowd turned it into a sing-along. Although Sarah Jane Morris maintained her off-centered elegance and sang with passion throughout the night, Montrealers can’t sing like her- and shouldn’t have tried.

Christopher Cargnello

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Tanya Kalmanovitch (Musee d'Art Contemporain) 28/06/03

This was a concert for the jazz connoisseur; the music had a very high level of intricacy and complexity for the whole session. The musicians played one part of the session freely which was great to listen and watch how they interacted with each other. The jazz played was not commercial; it was music played with great passion and intensity. Overall, I got an interesting lesson in jazz; this was one of the purest non commercial sessions I went to. And I am still, after 4 days still thinking about the music.


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Kenny Wheeler with John Taylor & guests Dave Holland, Chris Potter (Spectrum) 28/06/03

Kenny Wheeler: trumpet; John Taylor: piano; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Dave Holland: acoustic bass

The repertoire chosen for this evening’s presentation varied between standards and more modern charts. On trumpet, Kenny Wheeler offered some very good solos. He has a nice warm tone and an innate sense of phrasing. He is obviously a well-seasoned performer. There were some very nice exchanges in the soloing by all. All four of the musicians were “in control”. On piano, John Taylor is a subtle and very attentive player. He is aware and reacts intelligently to the most subtle of creations of fellow musicians. His soloing is very tasteful. Going now to Dave Holland. I found his playing inspiring and, as usual, simply magical. His sensibility and sense of rhythm are uncanny. On tenor saxophone, Chris Potter’s solos were either phenomenal or stupendous. He is a consummate performer, having endless musical resources at his command and able to surprise and bewilder the most jaded of jazz aficionados. He can swing and groove while executing the most technically difficult and complex of melodic lines. How he is able to do this remains a mystery to me! (I am a saxophonist and it was difficult for me not to concentrate solely on Master Potter’s playing that evening). On a scale of one to ten, I give this concert a well-deserved “9”. Dave Holland and Chris Potter having contributed greatly to this memorable evening through their masterful and aw-inspiring playing. 


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Ramasutra (Club Soda) 28/06/03.

Ramasutra a livré ce soir-là une performance tout simplement jouissive! Accompagné de Catherine Potter à la bansuri, d’un contrebassiste et de la chanteuse, Marcia Seebaran.  Musique très dansante, sensuelle et exaltée. Il a remixé certains morceaux de son premier album, The East Infection, et de son récent E.P., El pipo del taxi, a gratifié le public d’un remix de « Guns of Brixton » des Clash. Concert d’autant plus remarquable que les images vidéos projetées étaient de toute beauté : scène de nature, d’animaux, de femmes pulpeuses dansant dans des négligés transparents, d’extraits de films japonais, de dromadaires marchant sur une dune saharienne au soleil couchant, de ciel étoilé, etc. Le public a vraiment adoré le spectacle. Un petit bémol toutefois : du parterre, on n’entendait pas bien la flûte indienne et la contrebasse, ce qui est fort dommage. Et pour finir, la soirée aurait vraiment pu se terminer en beauté si Boozoo Bajou avait assuré la seconde partie! 

Sabine Thuilleaux

Malia (Club Soda) 29/06/03

This was London-based Malia's local debut in Montreal ,which is a North-American hotspot for soul-jazz crossover. She is attractive, sexy in her designer attire, her voice husky and sensual. Despite her acknowledged discomfort with jetlag and her menstrual period, she kept her audience thrilled with her popular lyrics, "I miss you so, your loving  touch; solitude, yellow daffodils". Her solo rendering of the "Moon River "was food for the soul and moving! Her encore performance of the Blues number with the brilliant pianist, Laurent de Wilde, demonstrated the virtuosity of this lovely singer with a voice like Ella Fitzgerald's. 

Madhu Iyer

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Bojan Z et Joachim Kühn (Monument-National) 29/6/03

Le décor de la Salle Ludger-Duvernay se prêtait très bien à ce concert de piano pour solistes. Un habitué de la scène internationale, Bojan Z a offert au public une prestation hors pair. Il utilise le piano d’une façon tout à fait originale, le transformant parfois en instrument à cordes, parfois en instrument à percussion d’un tout autre genre. Les spectateurs étaient ravis autant par ses propres compositions, telles que « The Joker » et « Who’s Bob » que par son interprétation de la balade « Don’t Buy Ivory Anymore ». Nous aurions aimé l’entendre davantage. Sans entracte, Joachim Kühn a fait son entrée. Un virtuose du piano, soit, mais certainement pas un bon communicateur. En effet, ce musicien allemand semblait être dans une transe, sans pour cela réussir à nous transmettre sa passion. Il nous a donné l’impression d’un pantin dont les fil

Mylene et Unto

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Charlie Hunter  Quintet (Spectrum) 29/07/03

In surprisingly polished French, Charlie Hunter, the American jazz guitar new blood, greeted the crowd at the Spectrum on Sunday June 29 for his 9:30 show and introduced the members of his quintet: Derek Phillips on drums, Curtis Fowlkes on Trombone; John Ellis on tenor sax, bass clarinet and flute; and Ron Miles on trumpet.
Rhythm and drive are the qualities of the Hunter sound, which he cranks and pilots from his 8-string guitar, a curious instrument that allows the groove-conscious musician to play bass and guitar at the same time.
The writing for the group, while not ground breaking in any sense, is fresh in its exploitation of rhythm and its setting up solos in unpredictable format, where theme statements are interspersed with solo sections and then background figures weave in and out, changing the textures of the music.
Hunter has a great counterpart in drummer Derek Phillips who plays off the basic time pulse with a variety of rhythms and grooves. It was also a treat to hear trumpeter Ron Miles on this concert, replacing chromatic harmonic player Gregoire Maret, who is the third wind player on Hunter’s most recent recording Right Now Move.
The band played some infectious, crowd-pleasing music, culminating with a couple of dynamic encores that had Hunter displaying surprising tambourine chops which imitated the funky poly-rhythms of contemporary urban beats and scratches.

Paul Serralhiero

Charlie Hunter (Salles du Gesu) 4/7/02

Charlie Hunter is a virtuosic 8-string guitarist whose music is a rich blend of jazz, blues, funk, latin and rock. His solo concert this evening exposed his playful personality and his ability to sustain a seriously heavy groove throughout the performance. Charlie mentioned early-on that this concert was his first opportunity as an adult to do a solo performance, and as the evening progressed, I was convinced that he wasn't going to end the show until he showed the audience everything he can possibly do as a musician. Charlie Hunter experimented with different guitar techniques, he played with numerous 'gadgets' and pedals on the floor and even gave us a taste of his exceptional tambourine skills. The range of musical styles in his concert's repertoire was also extensive and impressive. Charlie played through some jazz standards, a Stevie Wonder tune as well as some improvised grooves that traveled in many directions and took different shapes with his mesmerizing yet very rough-edged guitar playing. This concert finally gave Charlie Hunter the opportunity to show his virtuosity and versatility to Montreal. Hopefully he will become a festival regular, and if he does, I highly recommend to check this man out.


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Laurent de Wilde (Club Soda) 29/06/03

De loin la prestation de cette série Les nuits Labatt Bleue Dry, la plus jazzy et la plus frénétique! Accompagné du saxophoniste Gaël Horellou (alto et baryton), du batteur Julien Charlet, du contrebassiste Patrice Moret, et du DJ Ben aux machines, Laurent de Wilde a joué de nombreux morceaux de son dernier excellent cd, Stories. Malia est venue ouvrir le concert avec la chanson « If I could » qui figure aussi sur ce dernier album. La reprise de Moanin’ de Charles Mingus était particulièrement réussie. Le saxophoniste Gaël Horellou a joué plusieurs solos très intéressants, volant la vedette au claviériste. Le concert s’est terminé par un morceau plus doux, « Move on ». À noter que ce soir-là, le son était particulièrement au point. Excellent concert. Dommage que le public soit parti si tôt, car ils ont raté quelque chose avec la prestation des deux dj allemands, Boozoo bajou. Rompant totalement avec le style de de Wilde, ils ont passé du reggae, des rythmes brésiliens, du funk même. Ces deux dj d’apparence timide et tranquille ont régalé les oreilles des quelques curieux qui sont restés pour les écouter. On espère les revoir un jour à Montréal. 

Sabine Thuilleaux

Laurent de Wilde / Jazzanova  (Spectrum) 28/6/2001

If revolutions in Jazz happen in the realm of rhythm, then France's Laurent de Wilde and his musicians announce a revolution. Although it's been almost 10 years since Miles Davis' Doo-Bop, a daring fusion of hip hop and jazz, few jazz players have followed the lead. De Wilde's group showed a prominent jazz element of improvisation by highly skilled, articulate musicians, but the rhythmic underpinnind was not swing, or bossa, or shuffle, but rather a propulsive, high-energy mix of drums and bass, house, techno and other urban music stylistic splashes that drove the audience into a frenzy. Dizzy Gillespie--who believed jazz and dance were inseperable--would have loved this group, so would Vic Vogel, who recently /complained that jazz these days doesn't convey the joy and momentum it once did.
The second act on the program, a pair of DJs from Germany going by the name of Jazzanova, provided serviceable beats and mixes for dancing but were pale by comparison with De Wilde's virtuostic display and his creative explorations of rhythmic thrust.

Paul Serralheiro

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Vic Vogel Nonette with guest, Jimmy Heath; first part: Denzal Sinclair (Theatre Maisonneuve, PDA) 30/06/03

This show was in two parts: the first part featured Denzal Sinclair, singer and keyboard, accompanied by three very talented musicians, Bruno Hubert on piano, Ruben Rogers on bass, and Greg Hutchinson on drums. Denzal's strong, supple voice and fine phrasing shone through on the opening songs “ Day in Day out” and “Exactly like You”. The group then performed an original song called “You Treat me Good” followed by Gershwin’s “I got Rhythm” which was arranged and sung with a slow rock beat . The next song was a surprise in a jazz show as Denzal sang the old Mario Lanza standby “Be My Love” accompanied only by the piano of Bruno Hubert. On “You and the Night and the Music” Denzal sang and played keyboard and melodica,  an instrument with a small keyboard and a tube that the player blows into he explained to the audience. The group finished their set with a jazzy song called “ Tofu and Greens”. The audience really appreciated Denzal and his group’s performance and proceeded happily to intermission as the stage crew prepared for the Vic Vogel Nonnette. 
This was Vic’s 24 th appearance at the Montreal Jazz festival, and this year with a nonette consisting of; two saxes, tenor and alto, two slide trombones, two trumpets , bass, drums, and piano. Vogel announced that he calls the group “ mes petits voyous de la rue St Denis” but during each number one of these very fine musicians did a featured solo. During the set the group did a Vogel arrangement of “You and the Night and the Music” which Vic in his modesty said that he preferred to Denzal Sinclair’s version. That may have caused some debate in the minds of the audience. The Nonette performed works by Thelonious Monk with a fine Ghislain Potvin solo  and  a tune called “Sea Breeze”  which featured a solo by Yves Turgeon on alto sax.  One of the next tunes was called “ Dinner for One James the Lady will not be Dining” written by a friend of Vic Vogel, J.J. Johns and Vic dedicated the song  to James McGuire, the Chef/ Owner of The Passe Partout Restaurant who was in the audience. This was a beautiful composition and featured a solo by Serge Arsenault on the trombone. Vic the presented the next song “Peach Hill Road” which he wrote in honour of Gerry  Mulligan. Vic, who throughout the set either was at the piano or conducting the group, was the soloist on this song. The group then played a song by Jerry Mulligan called “Bernie’s Tune” which featured a trumpet solo by Ivanhoe Jolicoeur.  Vogel then introduced the next two pieces by stating that the twentieth century produced two great American composers, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. The group the played an arrangement of Ellington’s “Caravan” featuring a trumpet solo by Ghislain Potvin followed by a medley arrangement from “Porgy and Bess” which featured Bruno D’Amico on drums. Vic then introduced Jimmy Heath his special guest and Jimmy played “Sassy Samba” on his tenor sax, a tune written in honour of Sarah Vaughn and “Winter Sleeves” based on “Autumn Leaves”. After a couple of other numbers featuring Jimmy Heath, Denzal Sinclair came out  and sang an very good version of “ I’ve got the World on a String” accompanied by the Vic Vogel Nonnette and Jimmy Heath as the garn finale to fine evening of music.   

Ron Spivock

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Denzal Sinclair

6 of us attended the Denzal Sinclaire concert in White Rock, B. C. and were thrilled and impressed. Mr. Sinclaire brought a casual playful intensity to the evening that was delightful. We introduced some friends to jazz that evening and I believe converted them to this wonderful music.

Mr. Sinclaire: It was a lovely way to spend and evening

Barney Biggs Surrey. B. C.

Denzal Sinclair 6/7/2000

J'ai achete le CD de Denzal Sinclair, car J'en avais entendu parler en France, et je ne regrette pas du tout. Les mélodies sont fascinantes et il a une voix magnifique. Le rythme est super et quand on ferme les yeux on a envie de s'évader. Je l'ai fait écouter à plusieurs personnes qui m'ont dit, "plus tu l'écoutes, et plus tu l'aimes".


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Beady Belle (Club Soda) 30/06/03

Beauty and the Beat

 “Trance jazz” is one way to describe the music of Beady Belle, the Norwegian group led by singer and composer Beate S. Lech and bassist Marius Reksjo.
Electronic beats are at the center of Beady Belle’s sound, and the musicians maintain a hypnotic groove while the charismatic singer weaves her flights of vocal fancy that draw on early jazz, soul, gospel and dance-club stylings. It is Gloria Gaynor meets Ella Fitzgerald at moments, all with an unrelenting beat that would have been great in a club setting where everyone can get up and dance--I found that I kept looking up to see if there was a mirrored disco ball in the house--but as music for listening, instrumental prowess was missing, although Lech had her moments and the keyboardist Jorn Oien had a good supply of ideas and rhythmic drive.
Tunes were varied, with some high-energy numbers interspersed with melancholic ballads. The music’s mesmerizing effect, a result of the regularity of the beat altered by slight changes in accent and timbre and floating melodic lines, was reminiscent of the music of minimalist composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass and the shimmering drone of a gamelan orchestra.
Beady Belle provided easy listening with a powerful undertow that was obviously appreciated by the attentive crowd who followed the music with nodding heads and tapping feet and enthusiastically applauded the musicians’ efforts. I would have liked more interesting solos and more varied rhythmic textures, however.

 Paul Serralheiro

Beady Belle et Chateau Flight, (les Nuits) 5/7/2001

Beady Belle (Norvège) a fait une bonne prestation, malgré les ennuis techniques du début... La chanteuse norvégienne, vêtue d’un pantalon en velour violet et d’un chemisier en soie mauve, nous a livré une musique drum and bass live accompagnée d’influences soul et jazzy, tout à fait agréable. On apprécie la présence sur scène de vrais musiciens. Musique agréable, mais sans plus. La tendance de la chanteuse à répéter inlassablement les mêmes phrases rend sa musique monotone. Pour ma part, j’aurais beaucoup aimé l’entendre improviser vocalement car elle nous a montré qu’elle en était capable. Une voix à explorer ?


Château Flight (Spectrum) 5/7/2001

constitué de deux DJ qui faisaient tourner les tables à tour de rôle, ont fait entendre au public enthousiaste, pour un soir de semaine et malgré l’heure tardive, une musique énergique et éclectique. Cependant, leur style ne collait pas du tout à celui de Beady Belle et la transition a été trop abrupte pour que j’arrive à rentrer complètement dans leur prestation.


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Esbjörn Svensson Trio (Spectrum) 30/06/2003

The fans of the trio enjoyed their music a lot & were familiar with their album. We liked some of it like the one for Yuri Gagarin or the one about the car accident that killed a Swedish jazz musician. The style was mixed. Some pieces were high energy ones. Each of the trio seemed to have been accomplished musicians. All in all Esbjorn Svensson trio was o.k.


Esbjorn Svensson Trio (Spectrum) 3/7/02

On the eve of their return to Stockholm after a three-week tour of the U.S. and a couple of gigs in Canada, EST delighted a wildly enthusiastic audience, undeterred by temperatures soaring into the upper 30s.
The baby grand piano was turned away from the audience to face bassist Dan Berglund and percussionist Magnus Oström. Pianist Esbjörn Svensson introduced numbers with offbeat titles such as “When God Created a Coffee Break.” “From Gagarin’s Point of View,” an eerie ballad that evoked Yuri Gagarin’s feeling when viewing earth from space for the first time, was dedicated to the late bassist Ray Brown.
The audience started cheering after the first piece and didn’t let up between numbers, although you could have heard a pin drop during the performance.
The piano part ended abruptly on the first few numbers, but there were some enjoyable touches like reverberation on the percussion during the Gagarin piece (from the CD of the same title), the pianist plucking the strings inside the piano, and the base sound distorted by a wah-wah pedal. The trio plays jazz influenced by pop music, and on different numbers the influence of Pat Metheny and Black Sabbath was apparent. EST are masters at creating and sustaining atmosphere.  
Esbjörn Svensson sounded genuine as he yelled, "You’re the greatest audience we’ve ever played for!" The tired trio took their bow with soaked towels around their necks and dangling from nearly nerveless fingers! The crowd went crazy and they came back and played another encore, a sing-along tribute to Thelonious Monk.

Cynthia Adam, with thanks to Steven Morris

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Billy Bang (Gesu) 30/07/03

Bien que je me considère plutôt inculte face au Jazz, je considère que ce spectacle était des plus réaussi. J'ai apprécié l'ambiance intime et l'interaction de Billy avec la foule. Ted, John et Micheal semblaient solides et avoir l'habitude de jouer ensemble. Une très belle synergie. Ce que j'ai le plus apprécié, c'est d'entendre des sonorités orientales mélangées au Jazz. Cela a donné une dimension culturelle et une atmosphère particulière au spectacle, agrémenté des commentaires et explications du violoniste et "leader" du groupe. J'ai été particulièrement touché par la beauté de la pièce KIAMAI. Somme toute, bravo et bonne fin de festival de Jazz 2003 !!!


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Ursula Rucker and Vikter Duplaix (Club Soda) 30/6/03

New Sounds of Philly

The Montreal International Jazz Festival, over the past four years has continually expanded it's offerings for fans of electronic music. Under the guise of 'Les Nuits Labatt Bleue Dry', the nightly party is held at Club Soda on St. Laurent Boulevard. This year, the DJ series welcomed two veterans of the Philadelphia music scene on the final day of June. Poetess Ursula Rucker brought her avant-garde style of spoken word, while renowned DJ/producer cum vocalist,Vikter Duplaix offered up an eclectic set featuring a very diverse mix of records.

Ursula Rucker has an imposing stage presence, dressed in a long flowing printed turquoise dress and knee high white leather boots, she moves animatedly and accentuates her words with her hands. She was accompanied by a percussionist and an acoustic guitarist (with Jerry Garcia on his sleeve no less!). These musicians served to provide a lush, rhythmic backdrop to the urban realities of Rucker's poetry. Rucker deals with contemporary issues which tear at the fabric of Western society; poverty, racism, misogyny, corporatism and individualism are all recurring themes in her art. A wordsmith of the finest caliber, she served to both shock and awe the almost capacity crowd. She came across as a person of extremely strong conviction describing how she has been denounced by the right wing establishment, even having been disallowed access to certain college campuses across the USA. She has nevertheless continued to speak out and denounce the ills which she believes have served to oppress minorities of all descriptions. While Rucker's poetry is certainly poignant, it is to some degree the type of art that one needs to crave in order to fully appreciate. She tries and succeeds in painting very graphic scenes and to the uninitiated or uninterested, this can seem gratuitous. However, the effect of a strong minded independent poetess on stage accompanied by very able musicians and flanked by flat screen TV's flashing relevant words and phrases, was very powerful, and when Rucker left the stage at 1:30am, after over an hour of uninterrupted, evocative poetry and music, she had succinctly and effectively conveyed both the pain and joy of her version of our world.

One of the advantages of the DJ series is that there is no intermission between acts, no sooner had Ursula Rucker and her musicians left the stage than had the familiar 4X4 beat of house music exploded from the turntables set up on the right side of the venue. For continuity sake, the DJ equipment is set up off the stage near the middle of the venue. Over the bump n' grind of his first record, Vikter Duplaix welcomed us all to this Philly style party and let the crowd know that he would be offering us a few vocal inflections of his own when the time was right. Over the next ninety minutes, Duplaix delivered a very diverse set. While playing mostly downtempo, deep house records, Duplaix also touched on afro-latin rhythms, jazz influenced records and kicked in a
few old classics. While the crowd at Club Soda had decreased by this point, those in attendance, including Oscar winner Halle Berry in Montreal filming Gothika and unaccompanied by any security, circled around the turntables and danced to this beautiful offering of modern urban music. Duplaix is a mixer par excellence, and his choice of music served as bridge between electronic and more traditional forms of music. This is where the DJ series excels, by providing Montrealers and Jazz Fest fans the opportunity to see, hear and experience performers who in most cases are not the most in demand club DJ's, but rather respected producers with a more diverse musical appreciation and depth. Vikter Duplaix certainly met this criteria, and the only two criticisms this reviewer can point to are his singing and the brevity of the set. While the Jazz Fest organizers may have touted Duplaix's voice as reminiscent of Sting or Peter Gabriel, I found it to be flat, pedantic and utterly uninspired. His initial vocal excursion of the set served to be his last and it certainly was cause for the only musical discontinuity of the evening. In terms of the length of the set, well let's just say everyone was left hot, bothered and ready for more when Club Soda turned the lights on and the sound system off at 3am. In some sense the very free form style that usually marks a truly brilliant DJ set was never a possibility in the short time allowed, perhaps the concert could have started at 11pm rather than midnight which would have allowed more time for both artists.
The 'New Sounds of Philly' night offered two very different and talented artists and an intimate portrait of the variety that is to be found at Les Nuits Labatte Bleue Dry and the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.

Chris Clark

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Sheila Jordan & the Steve Kuhn Trio (Club Soda) 2/07/03

The redoubtable Sheila Jordan has polish and ease with an audience honed over a jazz singing career spanning half a century. Known for her scat singing and improvisation of lyrics, Jordan performed compositions by Ray Noble, Fats Waller, Mel Waldron and Steve Kuhn, with whom she has had a long musical association. Kuhn, who was John Coltrane’s first keyboardist after he left Miles Davis to form his own quartet, is as smooth and creative a pianist as Jordan is a vocalist. They were complemented by bassist David Finck and percussionist Billy Drummond, with exceptional musical communication between all four. A high point was their rendition of Paul McCartney’s "Blackbird" with Native American chants.
Jordan charmed the Montreal audience with an autobiographical tale sung to musical accompaniment, recounting how she spent her young teenage years trying to talk her way in to Detroit clubs where Charlie Parker played, content even to hear his music from atop a garbage can in the back alley. Mentioning that she was now 74 years old, Ms. Jordan told the crowd, "If it wasn’t for jazz music, I wouldn’t be alive today." She’s still vivacity incarnate, sharing her passion with equally avid listeners.

Cynthia Adam

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Lee Konitz & Francois Theberge Sextette (Monument National) 02/07/03

Last night's performance was my first exposure to either Lee Konitz or Francois Theberge's group, so I can only judge these musicians based on that performance. Technically, they're all fine musicians. Lee Konitz's tone, at times, sounded a bit like Stan Getz, Phil Woods, and even Paul Desmond. Konitz also likes to play with wide intervals, as opposed to the other musicians who stuck to smaller intervals and scales in their improvisations. My problem with Konitz, though, is that he never seemed to be on fire. It's all an intellectual exercise for this musician. Maybe that's someone else's cup of tea, but not mine.
Francois Theberge's group is pretty tight, and it sounds as though they've played together for a while.  I thought the best improvisers of this group were Mr. Theberge (sax) and Mr. Belmondo (trumpet). The latter has some pretty nice syncopated chops. The trombonist occasionally delivered some nice solo work, but the drummer and bass player left me cold.
I had trouble with the music selection, as well. None of the compositions struck me as memorable. They were all delivered in a medium tempo. Aside from the first piece, which started slow with Lee Konitz, then built up steam as the musicians entered, I would have to say that most of the music was bland. The first piece was more memorable than the others because it included a fake ending that actually made the piece humorous.

Jim Lewis

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Eric Truffaz ( Spectrum) 02/07/03

Il est difficile de mettre une etiquette sur la musique d'Erik Truffaz et son groupe qui se veut avant tout experimentale et puisant ses influences de divers genres musicaux.Confluence de styles aussi differents les uns des autres comme la musique electronique,la techno,le free jazz ou le rock...leurs sources d'inspiration semblent inepuisables et convergent pour nous donner une musique a l'image de nos cites urbaines.Il semble qu'Erik Truffaz se soit ainsi inspire de Miles Davis qui,dans les annees 80,voulut etendre les limites du jazz en y incorporant d'autres sources d'inspiration musicales;rappellons-nous de son interpretation de "Time after time" ou d'autres pieces de ses albums "You're Under Arrest","Man with a Horn",ou "Star People".Le rapprochement ou plutot la ressemblance est inevitable.

Frederic Aubert

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Orchestra Baobab (Spectrum) 03/07/03 

Blast from the Past

African music with a Cuban twist was delivered with seasoned aplomb by Orchestra Baobab on Thursday July 3 at 6:00 PM to a Spectrum packed with enthusiastic fans. The rapport between performers and energized audience came from the get go and didn’t let up, as people swayed, gyrated and swung, rocked, tapped, anything they could to ride the infectious rhythms and soaring melodies.
From one seamless number to another, the Orchestra spun out bouncy Afro-Cuban beats overlaid with the swirling pentatonic melodies that are the icing on African music’s polyrhythmic delight. Hailing from Senegal, the Orchestra Baobab came to prominence during a wave of popularity for Latin music in that country. The Latin flavour has been integral to its sound ever since.
Formed in 1970, the Orchestra Baobab disbanded in 1987 but reformed in 2001. Its musicians (percussion, bass, guitar, saxes and vocals) are fronted by a charismatic lead singer and a tenor saxophonist—both of whom danced with conviction, urging the audience to do the same, and communicating an energy that was electrifying.

Paul Serralheiro

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Benny Green & Russell Malone Duo (Spectrum) 03/07/03

Coming to the jazz concert was a first time experience for me. I am a classical pianist and do not really know much about jazz. I was very interested and enthusiastic about it, and I found it absolutely fantastic!
What those two excellent musicians could do there! Their sense of ensemble, the ability to talk to each other so freely, the spontaneity amazed me the most. Sometimes I thought that it was impossible to play so fast and so brilliant right on the spot! They were improvising with such fabulous technique it sounded as if they were practicing it for years. I don't really know how they do it, but they certainly do it really really well.

Evgenia T. 

Russell Malone Quartet (Spectrum) 5/7/02

The Russell Malone Quintet's performance at the Spectrum was wonderful! Malone really knows how to put on a good show. The music was great. Some cool jazz numbers. He also played with the audience, converting and interpreting Bee-Gee and Carpenter standards. He played several of his own compositions from new and olders discs and usually introduced them with a little story. His personal touch was very popular with the audience. He was able to communicate musically and verbally. Then towards the end he went into some boogey and blues which also went over well with the Spectrum crowd that night.

Dolores Chew

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Ralph Myerz & the Jack Herren Band (Club Soda) 03/07/03 

En dépit du décalage horaire (il était six heures du matin pour eux), ces norvégiens ont réussi  à faire danser une salle pas assez remplie! Comment qualifier la musique de ce groupe (Tarjei StrØm à la batterie, Thomas LØnnheim aux percussions, Erlend Sellevold aux machines, sans oublier le bassiste), plutôt acid jazz dans l’esprit, des percussions et une batterie un peu trop omniprésentes, on aurait aimé un peu plus de couleur musicale, de subtilité. Ceci dit, l’enthousiasme de Tarjei, ses expressions du visage ainsi que celle de son compère percussionniste valaient le détour! 

Sabine Thuilleaux 

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Gary Burton and Mokoto Ozone: Virtuosi (Theatre Maisonneuve) 04/07/03

Virtuosi indeed! This aptly-named concert showcased two musicians at the peak of their craft: Gary Burton on vibraphone, and Makoto Ozone on piano. Rather frighteningly advertised as a concert featuring jazz interpretations of classical works, Burton and Ozone actually offered Montreal a chance to experience the vibraphone as it has been played throughout its brief history (according to Burton, the instrument has been around only for 75 years or so). This historical overview of the vibraphone was greatly enhanced by Burton's informative, enlightening, and humorous introductions to most of the works; his relaxed delivery style enormous energy with which he approached his instrument.
The first half of the concert introduced the audience to the historical scope of the vibraphone itself, as well as to the duo's exceptional talent: after opening with a work by Thelonius Monk, the pair continued with an original number by Ozone (Test of Time, dedicated to his idol Oscar Peterson), a Latin-flavoured work by Mongo Santamaria (Afro Blue), a piece by Milt Jackson (Bag's Groove), and two great boogie-woogie-style works from the 1930s, Hole in the Wall by Red Norvo, and the great Opus Half by Lionel Hampton. The pair's tight partnership was evident throughout: Ozone's subtle and nuanced accompaniments, reduced to a simple yet effective walking bass at times, allowed Burton's stunning technique and brilliant improvisations to shine through; likewise, Ozone's enormous technical facility and subtle musicality came through in his clean, crisp solos, as did his apparent love of ragtime, surfacing often in his fun oom-pah left-hand accompaniments. Ozone's rhythmic virtuosity was especially evident in the gripping modulations of Opus Half. The inspirational presence of Oscar Peterson hovered benevolently over Ozone for much of the night, frequently surfacing in his melodic meanderings. My only complaint about the piano was the problematic mic-ing. While the bass and the middle range sounded fine at a mezzo-forte level or lower, the treble sounded tinny and brash, and when Ozone reached forte or louder the whole sound was much too harsh, almost distorted at times.
The second half of the show featured two tangos, one by Astor Piazzole and the other (actually a milango) by Jorge Cardoso (who moonlights as a dentist, according to Burton). The Piazolle piece, Laura's Dream, which opened the second half of the show, was for me one of the highlights. With its sensual piano opening and its variety of tango-flavoured rhythms, Ozone and Burton explored an enormous emotional range, from dreamy to militant, from grief to celebration. In this piece, as in every other, the pair's absolute control of the musical material, of the underlying formal direction of the piece, served to highlight the freedom, spontaneity, and ingenuity of their improvisations. Aside from the two tangos, the second half of the show featured several works from the duo's latest project (itself called Virtuosi), the selection of jazz re-readings of classical works (as advertised). Although I was rather apprehensive towards this idea, fearing a "hooked on Bach" type of fusion, in the end the project is quite successful, due to the high calibre of the pair's musicianship, as well as to their choice of classical pieces to revisit in a jazz mode.  The four classical works reinterpreted by Burton and Ozone were Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin, Scarlatti's Keyboard Sonata No. 20, Rachmaninoff's Prelude Opus 32 no. 8, and Gershwin's Concerto for Piano in F. Far from being jazzed-up classics, these pieces were approached in the spirit of fantasies or, better yet, impromptus on original themes. All of them lent themselves well to jazz reinterpretations: the Ravel and Rachmaninoff for their evocative harmonic innovations, which dovetail nicely with jazz sonorities; the Scarlatti for its rhythmic légereté, lending itself well to perpetuum mobile patterns punctuated by syncopation; and the Gershwin because, well, it's already halfway there.
These flights of fantasy seemed to me to be yet another chapter in the cross-Atlantic dialogue that began in the early 20th century, where harmonic and rhythmic experiments taking place in Europe coincided with the new sounds coming out of America and taking up residence in Paris, Berlin, and other European capitals. While Stravinsky, Debussy, Poulenc, and Krenek (among many others) took what they needed from the jazz tradition to confirm their modernist leanings, jazzers from Duke Ellington to (dare I say it) Gershwin helped themselves to the elements of the European classical tradition that would serve their own musical purposes. Given Burton's and Ozone's consummate musicianship, I had the image, while listening to these works, of master musicians greeting each other across the centuries, continuing the dialogue between past and present, old and new.

N. Berman

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Molly Johnson (Spectrum) 4/7/03

The six-o'clock rendez-vous was admittedly a bit early for Molly Johnson who got off to a slow start in her first two songs. Sporting an elegant white silk gown and jokingly tossing her 'mod squad' afro around, she soon got into the groove with the song 'Monkey See Monkey Do' which she dedicated to her children, who were in the audience for an exceptionally rare attendance at mother's workplace. Though she claimed to be distracted by the family gathering, the diva did not let it stop her from serving up an exceptional show.
She loves this city and its fans, who know a performer when they hear one and who let her know she is welcome back any time. Her voice recalls that of the great jazz singers who can now only be heard on recordings, and this live performance was even better. Her warmth and charisma shone through as
much as her talent in her rapport both with the band of impeccable musicians and with the full-house crowd, who deserve just as much credit for the success of the evening, if we are to believe Molly's every word.
However, it's far easier to believe in her songs, which slide off her tongue like the morning's dewdrops, to be voraciously consumed in a thousand gleeful ears forevermore. The Friday night Montreal mood at the Spectrum was enhanced by the exquisite lighting throughout the artist's performance. Her rendition of 'Summertime' seemed more than fitting for the occasion, and after an hour and a half of mommy's musical milk, the second of her two encores 'A Long Wave Goodbye' left everyone crying for more.

Mylène and Unto

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Lee Konitz & The Spring String Quartet (Monument National) 4/7/03

The combination of string quartet and two wind instruments was most enjoyable. The music was well balanced and harmonious. The audience very well received the string quartet item presented by the four visiting Austrian musicians. A nice arrangement of both classical and contemporary pieces made this concert pleasant and colourful. The question still remains, why was it called 'The Spring String Quartet'?

M. Basu

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Jason Moran Trio (Gesu) 04/07/03

Jason Moran's performance on friday night at Salle de Gesu was truly an unexpected experience. Jason made a humble strut on to the dimly lit stage with a cream-coloured fedora on his head and sat down on an old, tattered oak dinner chair in front of the piano. Following him were the two other members of his trio, the Band Wagon: Tarus Mateen on the acoustic bass-guitar and one of my personal favorites, Nasheet Waits, on drums. The whole experience began with the trio sitting at their instruments, heads down, listening with the audience to a sound-clip playing through the speakers, a sort-of pre-recorded introduction made from a collage of many different people's voices that eventually made a seemingless transition into the band's first song of the night. The music was very odd. Jason's compositions and arrangements included familiar melodic content from Ellington to Brahms, but the sound of the music as a whole was very authentic, distinct and fresh to any seasoned jazz listener. From the beginning to end, Jason Moran and the Band Wagon's performance was unveiling a musical Riopellesque canvas with many layers of sounds that formed a quilt 
of varying moods and emotions.
Jason Moran used many sound-clips in the performance, often as a fourth instrument playing along with the band during the different compositions. One composition that stood out like nothing I had ever heard before was a song that used the recording of a telephone conversation from a Turkish woman throughout the whole piece. The whole band played along in unison with the woman's phrases, turning her speaking voice into eerie and fascinating music. Their precision in their ability to follow her phrases was uncanny, and the effect that was achieved from using such an odd and unexpected sound clip in a jazz composition was very inspiring.
I went to the Jason Moran show knowing very little of who Jason Moran was, and hearing very little- if any at all- of his actual piano playing. I didn't know what to expect to hear, but from the moment the performance 
started my ears were beaming and I was very pleased. It would be difficult for me to reccomend his music to anyone because it is so authentic and avant-garde, and it is very difficult to compare his music to anything that we have heard before. However, for the same reason, I would suggest that everyone who claims to be a jazz enthusiast give his music a chance and hear for yourselves how different and revolutionary Jason Moran and the Band Wagon actually is.

Christopher Cargnello

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Byproduct (Musee d'Art Contemporain) 04/07/03

The young trio blended modern sounds and effects with traditional jazz and were very talented. Although I personally prefer more traditional jazz, the trio experiments with different sounds and effects did not seem entirely out of place. The setting was intimate which added to make the show very enjoyable.

C. Curaile

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Francois Bourassa & John Stetch Piano Solo (Monument National) 5/6/03

Mr. Bourassa is an accomplished pianist who presented his pieces very well using some innovative techniques. The last piece played by both Bourassa and Stetch as a duet was the highlight of the concert. We would have appreciated having the items being announced in both English and French.

M. Basu

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Bia (Spectrum) 06/07/03

The packed audience at the Spectrum {due to lack of seating space, many of us had to crane our necks or stand up to have a look at the singer!} was treated to the sweet , silky,  melodious sounds of Bia, the songbird  from Brazil, who is no stranger to Montreal, having performed here at the Francofolies in 1998 and at the Jazz Festival in 2001. This Brazilian-born singer enchanted the audience with her Afro-Brazilian rhythms with a musical maturity and poetic sensibility. She was ably assisted by an enthusiastic band , especially the flute player and the violinist, who received many an applause. Her two most convincing pieces, hommages to the African and aboriginal contributions to Brazilian culture, were performed in the second part of the show. Judging  by the audience response, don't be surprised  if this seductive performer returns to the Festival!   

Madhu Iyer

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Cesaria Evora with Monica Freire in the first half (SalleWilfrid Pelletier, PDA) 05/07/03

Where does this powerful, passionate, melancholic, divine voice come from? The "Barefoot Diva" needs neither introduction nor review  for her established worldwide audience. Once again, she kept her audience spellbound or clapping and stomping with her popular lyrics including Cape Verde's morna with Brazil's samba, Argentina's tango and Cuba's son. The young exuberant band members added so well to the musical extravaganza! 

Monica Freire, a local artist of Brazilian extraction, performed with great confidence in the large concert hall, with no signs of inhibition, considering the world class artist she was warming the audience up for. Freire came across as a self-assured sambaleira, guitarist and singer. It is refreshing to see strong women artists who do not present themselves as sex symbols. Thank-you Monica! Freire has played alongside Paolo Ramos at the Ballatou and works with Ramos's able bass guitarist. Her voice sometimes sounds thin, but her energy compensates. Perhaps some credit should go to the Festival Nuits d'Afrique promoters for encouraging these local world beat musicians so that the Jazz Festival can make use of their talent as warm up acts. 

Madhu Iyer

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Jorane (Spectrum) 27/6/02

Jorane’s concert at the Spectrum last night (June 27, 6 PM) was a highly "mediated" show, a somewhat self-absorbed music video, packaged in a live setting.
"Show" was written all over this concert, from the television cameras that buoyed up and down on long intrusive boom stands to the kind of images and attitude exhibited by Jorane and her musicians.
The cello-playing and singing Jorane was accompanied by another cello, a doublebass, a drummer and a back up singer. The sounds from the acoustic instruments were electrically processed, and, billed as "16mm," the concert included visual support in the form of film projections and a light show.
A distinct feature of Jorane’s music seems to be the use of sounds and phrases borrowed from other contexts, notably medieval, Middle-Eastern and Indian music as well as pop and rock. These, along with wordless vocalizations present a sound collage that emphasizes mood over meaning and style over substance.
For example, a tune that seemed to be called "Hello" used the colloquial sounds of "Hello" and "Wow" and their intonations as its basis. Another tune called "The Desert" combined the drone and tabla rhythms of Indian music and the attitude and vocal "prints" of Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morisette in a rather naive manner, although arrangements were "tight" and well-rehearsed.
This naive use of de-contextualized sounds may work in a depersonalized stadium or on a screen but is embarrassing in a relatively intimate setting--very "urban juvenile." This, combined with the fact that there was very little improvisation, gives purist jazz fans lots to complain about, as it makes one wonder how exactly this fits in a jazz context.
For a jazz fan, rhythmic development and other compositional elements were underexplored, but there were some interesting musical qualities. Most notable among these were the trance-like effects of many of the tunes which provided music to day-dream by and some propulsive rhythmic playing from all the musicians.
The concert closed with an encore duet between Jorane and her percussionist that featured a boogie figure on the cello and the disembodied phrase "You like the smell of gasoline," which evoked the style of the blues without any of its actual meaning. This was followed by a well-woven cello and voice solo by Jorane that presented an appealing naive optimism expressed in the lyrical motif "Je n’ai rien contre la vie--au contraire, je crois en elle."

Paul Serralhiero

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Helena Noguerra & Katerine (Club Soda) 27/06/02

Headliner Helena Noguerra, performing Brazilian-inspired songs from her second album Azul, aided and abetted French singer- songwriter Philippe Katerine to steal the show. Katerine opened with five or six of his own compositions, accompanying himself on guitar, but also came back in the middle and at the end. He seemed to develop a much more immediate rapport with the audience than Ms. Noguerra, and to be more comfortable on stage.
This was somewhat surprising as, according to her record company’s web site, Belgian-born Noguerra has been a television and radio host in France, as well as an actress and model. She wrote all the lyrics in different languages for Azul, while her companion Katerine composed the music for it. The album thus combines bossa nova rhythms and French "soul pop" with some of Katerine’s British influences.
Helena sang lyrics dealing with love, lust and jealousy in a straightforward and uncynical way, contrasting with Katerine’s tongue-in-cheek delivery, mordant humour and scatological references. Helena’s performance was redolent of Brazilian sea, sand and sensuality. She often finished singing and went to the left side of the stage and gracefully danced or played the tambourine while the band continued to play. The musicians (Franck Steckar, keyboards; Christophe Disco Minck, bass; Christophe Lavergne, (percussion) were tight and almost a separate show unto themselves, although the percussion at times overpowered Ms. Noguerra’s soft vocals.

Cynthia Adam

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Gonzalo Rubalcaba Solo & Trio (Monument National) 27/6/02

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Lets the Music Speak

Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba preformed last night at the Monument National launching a series of four concerts which he and a series of guest musicians will perform at this year’s festival during the "Invitation" series.
The first part consisted of a solo performance during which Gonzalo revealed his mellower side. The grand piano situated at the right side of the stage of this classic Victorian theatre produced dreamy and languorous music demonstrating Gonzalo’s prowess as a weaver of Rubacalbesque melodies and harmonies inspired by his native Cuba and mainstream jazz.
He later picked up the tempo and churned out a standard Cuban tune "Manicero" or the Peanut Vendor. Here Gonzalo truly revealed his adeptness at creativity and ingenious playing turning "Manicero" into a tapestry of jagged harmonies and syncopated rhythms without letting the tune waver into sonic anarchy thereby maintaining the integrity of the piece.
During the second segment of the concert, the pianist was accompanied by a bass player and drummer (unfortunately, the names of these latter two were not in the programme and not a word was spoken during the concert so it is not possible to state their names.)
The trio produced a blend of ballads and Latin and swing fusion with varying dynamics and rhythm changes creating a canvas of at times mainstream style jazz and at times musical cubism. Both drummer and bass player provided solos with taste and talent although the drummer tended to multiply the decibel level a little too much during his solos.
Indeed, although a few words (in any language) would have been welcome at this concert either to introduce the band or simply to show appreciation for the applause, jazz was the message and I believe the audience got what they expected.


Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Joe Lovano (Monument National) 28/6/02

These sophisticated world-class musicians, pianist, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and saxophonist, Joe Lovano, had a sincere exchange on the second Rubalcaba night at the Monument National. There was no artifice in this performance: both were obviously there to share each others’ talents with the crowd, all for the higher goal of enriching the jazz tradition.

 However, the specificity of both Lovano’s and Rubalcaba’s styles was somewhat dwarfed by the presence of the other. For this reason, the concert did not see either musician reflecting a total feeling of comfort and abandon at any point. Each jazz cat prowled around the other, sniffing out possible scents of inspiration, but not quite arriving at a communal meow. 

While playing the sax, Lovano even struck various Indonesian gongs to amplify choice harmonics of his wind instrument.

Lovano, perhaps sensing the constrictive powers of his sax arrangements on Rubalcaba, surprised the audience by respectfully laying aside his sax and assuming a seat at the drum set on certain pieces. He proved to be a gifted percussionist indeed!  His sensitivity came out marvelously while performing his role as a drummer, thus allowing Rubalcaba to shine. And shine he did with the dazzling speed of his rolls & scales.

But Rubalcaba did not grace this Latinophile audience with a typical Cuban sound, except when the rapid fluttering of his fingers over the keys resembled the shaking of maracas. The bulk of his playing varied from Brubeck- to Debussy-sounding. Rubalcaba’s explorations on the keyboard would have delighted any Contemporary Music fan attuned to the projects of Ravel, Milhaud, etc., but not the expectant son dancer.


C'est un jazz distingue, de recherce... Rubalcaba est un inellectuel du jazz. Je l'ai vu a Soho, au Blue Note, je crois. J'ai entendu a la radio qu'il allait jouer a Montreal. Je suis allee le lendemain m'acheter un billet. Rubalcaba joue avec plein de sentiment, de passion, et de douceur. C'est un ecrivain de la musique: il joue avec la sonorite! Mais ce soir il n'y avait pas de sons cubains.. Je m'attendais aux touches cubaines!

Micheline Bellemare

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Herbert & Mighty Kat (Club Soda) 27/6/02  

Comme Herbert ne s’est pas présenté, c’est la DJ montréalaise Mighty Kat qui a assuré le set dans un Club Soda assez rempli, enthousiaste et enfumé...


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Ab Baars Trio(Musee d'Art contemporain) 27/6/02

AB BAARS TRIO –Jazz at the Pow-wow

These flying Dutchmen took us on the wings of an eagle by devoting their entire programme to the music inspired by Native American’s rhythms, myths and lore.
The musical portraits were executed in a free style context with an array of syncopated rhythms, atonalities and all manner of sonic colours. Ab Baars introduced the pieces and their sources of inspiration before taking us on a musical journey with help of bass and drums.
The native-like rhythms were played on a standard jazz-drum set up and provided a basis for free style improvisation with abrasive tonalities on the part of the sax and bass, blended with varying dynamics and sonic textures. At times these were harsh, symbolizing our Native people’s plight and other times they were as gentle as the flight of an eagle over the mountain peaks reflecting the belief that the spirit takes flight during a healing process.
In short, this was a musical journey worth taking for any modern jazz aficionado. For those with less of an affinity for free jazz, it was definitely something to write home about.

Renate de Neve

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Vernon Reid(Salles du Gesu) 28/6/02

Vernon Reid's performance at the Salle de Gesu on June 29 was unlike any I've seen in my many years of attending the festival. I came away from the concert feeling confident that I had finally heard the fastest guitarist on this planet. Surely nobody can finger the fretboard with more rapidity than this speed demon! And as for creativity, his output was truly impressive.

Now for the critique. For most of the concert Reid seemed out of his element, as was evident by his discomfort in front of the crowd ("I'm freaking out," he admitted after the first number) and barely comprehensible muttering between numbers. Although he seemed to warm up to the crowd in the latter part of the show, his verbal awkwardness continued. Nor did he seem entirely sure of what selections to play. 

The music itself alternated between very dissonant bursts of machine-gun solos to very melodic and tasteful ballads enhanced by state-of-the-art techno toys. It's unfortunate the latter were so few. His prowess on the electric guitar cannot be disputed, but his compositions were mostly out of reach.


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Tabla Beat Science  (Theatre Maisonneuve, PDA) 28/6/02 

This performance by a group of high-caliber musicians representing diverse cultures, was truly energizing, electrifying and eclectic! Fusing traditional Indian rhythms, African vocal styles, modern electronics, low-end dub bass and DJ breakbeats into a two-hour sonic extravaganza, the music of Table Beat Science was indeed an exhilarating, unique experience. 
Clearly, the two musicians, Zakir Hussain, the Indian classical table virtuoso of the highest order, and Ustad Sultan Khan, one of the foremost sarangi players of India, dominated the show throughout. Zakir Hussain’s playing, marked by his skillful improvisational dexterity, uncanny intuition, founded on formidable knowledge and training, kept the audience enthralled. Ustad Sultan Khan, besides playing brilliantly on his sarangi, a difficult string instrument, joined in with two beautiful, talented vocalists, including Gigi, blending in the harmoniously, the music of East Africa and the Asian subcontinent. 
Critically speaking, the Ustad could have given more scope to the female vocalists by taking on a more subdued vocal role. Gigi, the stunning Ethiopian vocalist, mesmerized the audience, singing in her native Amharic tongue, with her melodious, vibrant voice.  
The other artists: DJ Disk on turntables, Karsh Kale on the drums, Bill Laswell on the bass, Midival Punditz with his technology and Sultan 32 on the keys, all joined in ably to produce a hypnotic synthesis of classical Indian rhythms with electronica. To quote the New York Times, “The music is too aggressive to be ambient and too abstract for the dance floor; it is a genuine fusion that pours energy into the air, pauses to meditate and then pushes forward again. “

Madhu Iyer & Eileen Collins

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Eleni Mandell  (Club Soda) 28/6/02

Although Eleni Mandell is more what could be considered jazz-influenced than an actual jazz musician, she played to a full house at the Club Soda last night pleasing everyone from the most avid jazz connaiseur to the lay-listener. She began her set solo, with only her acoustic guitar to accompany her impressive voice. She was later joined by three other musicians playing upright bass, drums, and electric guitar. Her music was obviously Tom Waits influenced without sounding derivative. During her two ample sets she played a wide variety of songs from all three of her albums with highlights such as "1970 Red Chevelle", "Wishbone","He Thinks He's In Love", and "Don't Lose My Trail". An excellent performance during which she made a respectable attempt at french ("Je suis tres heureuse d'etre ici a Montreal"), joked with the audience, and endearingly said hello to her parents who had traveled all the way from her hometown of Los Angeles to see her play the famous Festival International de Jazz. Eleni Mandell is truly an artist who never fails to impress and should not be overlooked.

Christopher Cargnello

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Rob Clutton Band (Musée d’Art Contemporain) 28/6/02

The experimental ensemble of Toronto bassist Rob Clutton played a repertoire of avant-garde and free jazz compositions that were sometimes so abstract as to elicit a merely intellectual response from these reviewers—this was definitely music of the head and not the heart. As the principal composer, Clutton provided spacious open structures within which band members were free to express their own musical statements, and it was clear from the outset that they were all musicians of the highest calibre. Yet, this music was more atmospheric than anything else, and would have more appropriately served as an evocative backdrop for a film or dance presentation, and not the subject of a concert performance. At times the individual performances were rather introspective, even though each musician made the effort to contribute to the overall theme or feeling of a particular piece. And, while Clutton was no doubt aiming for the opposite, it was usually the case that the whole turned out to be significantly less than the sum of its parts. The highlights of the evening included the energetic "Lunch With John" with its more conventional ensemble playing, the sampled urban street noises of "Downtown", and the dynamic, interactive performances of "Trio Series". The low points, however, included compositions with plodding tempos and little momentum, which sometimes created the impression of being joint practice sessions. A telling indication of the general impact of this concert is that one of the instrumentalists actually yawned during the performance. We may be wrong, but we don’t expect a mad rush on the part of audience members to purchase the band’s new release. Definitely not for everyone.

Rob Clutton (acoustic bass), Tim Posgate (guitar), Anthony Michelli (drums), Lina Allemano (trumpet), Eugene Martynec (synthesizer).

J & J

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Vienna Art Orchestra (Salles du Gesu) 28/6/02

Vienna Art Orchestra: Virtuosity and Variety

From the opening virtuostic trombone solos to the closing edgy drumstick extravaganza by four of the groups members, the concert last night (June 28, 2002) at the Salle Gesu by the Vienna Art Orchestra was an action-packed adventure.
Celebrating its 25th year, this ensemble of musicians (I counted 21 of them last night) is far from a traditional big-band playing soporific standards in predictable ensemble/solo arrangements. Variety and humour shine through its original material, with its stop and turn tempo and style changes, masterful playing, and dramatic textural contrasts that have the whole band--with its double-rhythm section--blaring full-tilt funk one minute and whispering duets between voice and digeredoo, or trumpet and doublebass the next.
Add to this the musician’s cinematic fashion sense and a propensity for a carnavalesque mixture of blues, boogie, funk, swing, waltz, polka, and march motifs and you get an idea of the appeal of this group’s music and an understanding of the reasons for the Orchestra’s longevity.
Don’t miss them next time around.

Paul Serralheiro

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Nils Peter Molvaer & DJ Vinet  (Club Soda) 28/6/02 

Voilà un artiste qu’il faut voir jouer en public car sa musique prend une tout autre dimension que sur disque. Il était passé au Spectrum en octobre dernier pour la promotion de son second disque, Solid Ether. Superbe concert ! Il nous revient cette année pour la promotion de son troisième disque, NP3, accompagné du guitariste haut en couleurs, Eivind Aarset, d’un bassiste, d’un batteur, d’un DJ qui officiait aux tables tournantes et d’un autre qui était aux commandes d’un laptop. NPM est un trompettiste d’une grande sensibilité qui n’hésite pas à expérimenter en modulant le son de son instrument au moyen d’un harmonizer. Il semble s’écarter de plus en plus du drum and bass, pour puiser aux sources d’autres musiques électroniques, dub et house. Il utilise donc une rythmique électronique solide où viennent se greffer un discours jazz avec la trompette, voire un style plus expérimental avec la guitare ainsi que d’autres ambiances musicales créées par les DJ. Le résultat : des textures sonores riches et intéressantes qui finissent par former un tout, un mélange de jazz et de musique électronique qui rallie un public amateur de musique électronique et un public amateur de musique jazz sensible à son jeu éthéré de trompette. On a eu droit à de magnifiques duos house / tablas, house / solos de basse et de trompette etc. NPM utilise la musique électronique pour mettre en valeur une musique plus jazz. L’attention est constamment attirée par le jeu de trompette et les sonorités produites par la guitare. Sur scène, NPM est serein et simple, ses musiciens ont visiblement beaucoup de plaisir à jouer ensemble. Seule ombre au tableau : l’éclairage qui, pendant la première demi-heure au moins, était écrasant et ne nous permettait pas de voir les visages des musiciens. Conclusion : un magnifique concert !
DJ Vinet a suivi mais sans vraiment prendre la relève. Ce qui a découragé pas mal de monde, puisque la salle s’est vidée assez vite après le concert. L’idée de faire passer des DJ après les concerts est excellente. Toutefois, il faut faire attention à la transition. Si celle-ci ne réussit pas à garder ne serait-ce qu’au début, le rythme du concert, les gens ont tendance à se décourager et à quitter les lieux prématurément. Dommage !


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Jane Monheit (Theatre Maisonneuve, PDA)29/6/02

Jane Monheit made her third appearance in as many years at Montreal's Jazz Fest last night, singing to a packed Théâtre Maisonneuve. The 24-year old rising star-- first runner-up in the 1998 Thelonius Monk Vocal Competition --stunned the audience with her heartfelt, oftentimes nostalgic renditions of classics by Ellington, Berlin, Rogers, and Gershwin, among others.
If Monheit's singing lived up to expectations, her band surpassed them. A solid rhythm section backed up some interesting and often very sensitive playing by the pianist; the saxophonist often stole the show with his improvisational pyrotechnics. Monheit's rapport with the members of her quartet added tremendously to the musical depth of her performance. Her duets with the pianist provided some of the most intimate musical moments of the night, and her rapport with the saxophonist left us wondering if Rogers's "People Will Say We're in Love" had special significance for the two of them! (Apparently the percussionist is her real- life sweetheart.)
Although Monheit was a bit slow to warm up, the evening held many highlights. My personal favourite was Gershwin's "I Love You Porgy"--her deeply heartfelt singing and the fabulous arrangement sent shivers down my spine. The two Antonio Carlos Jobim songs were great; the piano-vocal duet intro to "Dindi" was musically very effective. Likewise, the piano-vocal work in the finale, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," turned this classic into a full-blown tear- jerker. Monheit's interpretations demonstrate the staying power and lasting attraction of the standards: there will never be a time when people don't want to let their "troubles melt like lemondrops."
After two encores the audience gave yet another standing ovation, but alas, we'll just have to wait until next year. Until then, I'm looking forward to her new CD, scheduled for fall release, in which Monheit is rumoured to integrate Brazilian and Portuguese influences into her hitherto fairly conservative repertoire and approach.

N. Berman

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Kelly Joe Phelps Trio (Spectrum) 29/6/02

Kelly Joe Phelps and his friends played superbly to an appreciative full house crowd. He already has a large fan base here in Montreal as a solo performer, and his accomplished bassist and drummer are surely helping to add new followers. The trio accompanied by their guest harmonicist gave the listeners what they wanted to hear by dishing out a good mix of old favorites and some new material from an unreleased album, together with inspired moments of riffing and jamming. An easy evening of contemporary steel guitar country blues. Phelps' good rapport with his band and the audience came through in his between-song comments, of which there were a little too many inside and unheard jokes, making one feel there was a joint too many going around before the show. In the end, Phelps' very own solo harmonica encore with an habitant jig beat left the crowd stomping and clapping.

Vello and Unto

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Bill Frisell (Salles du Gesu) 1/7/02

Call it anything but jazz

The Bill Frisell concert of July 1 is another example of the organizers turning the jazz festival into an eclectic grab bag of musical genres.
What was played was anything but jazz. Instead it consisted mainly of country and bluegrass which was more appropriate at a county or folk music festival. At times, Frisell and his band sounded like the back up band for Dolly Parton. Give me a break!
To make things worse, Frisell played with his back to the audience as if he was rehearsing in some barn.
Perhaps it’s about time the festival organizers changed the festival name to the MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL and stop misleading the public with their blurbs highlighting the jazz influences of artists who come to the festival to promote their newest recording of just about any kind of music.


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DaZoque!(Museum of Contemporary Art) 1/7/02

"Hoedown klezmer" is the phrase that came to mind during the opening number by this zany but accomplished Montreal sextet, although they are far from limiting themselves to one musical genre. In fact, the one constant throughout the 75-minute concert was the Eastern European feel. The two energetic violinists set the pace, but the mood changed often, from galloping strings with percussion that sounded like a military march, to slow sad ballads in a minor key, to energetic polka music.
The violinists (Norman Nawrocki and Minda Bernstein, both formerly of the Bagg Street Klezmer Band), introduced the numbers in French and English and drew the audience with them into the stories that inspired the music. We felt the despair of a young woman who had just become homeless, and the anger of a thirsty steelworker whose wife had drunk all the beer. We trembled for Fred, a Franco-Manitoban bison, as he was threatened with extinction and the room filled with the sound of bisons’ hooves tearing up the prairie!
Each band member (Hélène Boissinot, cello; Lui-Kong Ha, percussion; Alec McElcheran, bass; and Gregory Anderson Smith, sampling and beats, as well as the violinists mentioned above) seemed equally involved and absorbed by the music and atmosphere throughout the performance. They appeared to have a great rapport with each other and the audience.
The sampling and beats kept the sounds fresh, unusual and often added a touch of humour.

Cynthia Adam

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Philippe Catherine (Salles du Gesu) 3/7/02

It must have been quite an honour for Philippe Catherine to be programmed right after Bireli Lagrene in the "Guitar Solo"-series ! Both share the same spiritual father : Django Reinhart. Lagrene had the honour of playing with the Belgian godfather of European guitar & Catherine received the prestigious "Django D'Or" award. Expectations were high on Wednesday night, not only because of his title, but also because Catherine was back in Montreal after having given a great concert at the Festival just one year ago. This time Philippe Catherine was solo on stage. The venue is perfect for concerts of this kind : not too big, cosy, providing a good view from every seat of the theatre. Catherine clearly felt completely at ease there as well and started off joking with the audience. Catherine started quietly and offered us dedicated ballads: "Jeannette" (written for his oldest daughter), "The Postman" (yes indeed, dedicated to his postman !), "Letter from my mother" and "Rene Thomas", a piece composed in memory of the guitarist Thomas who lived in Montreal during the sixties and seventies and whose daughter was in the audience. Catherine is very gifted in transporting real emotions into music. Through the notes of "Letter from my mother" you could actually imagine an elderly lady walking slowly and unsure and being perfectly happy with receiving a bit of news from her son and family or giving him an update on her day-to-day activities. The fact that Catherine was "cheating" a bit by using some pre-recorded guitar playing did not in the least bother me, it kind of gave his play an even better undertone. From the intimate songs Catherine moved on to more upbeat pieces. A great concert ! Hopefully the Jazz Festival will continue programming Philippe Catherine.


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Anne Ducros (Club Soda) 3/7/02

I didn't know what to expect before tonight's Anne Ducros performance, since I had never heard her music, or seen her perform. It took me about 3 songs to 'get into' the mood of her show, and was even slightly disappointed at the very beginning ; I had hoped for a more upbeat and snappy rhythm. However, as the show progressed, Anne showed off her truly BEAUTIFUL, POWERFUL and unforgettable voice and lyrics, which varied from soft and romantic, to upbeat and snazy ( as I particularly like!). Between each couple of songs, Anne interacted with us, her audience. She was very playful and surprisingly very funny. I laughed so very much, and would not be surprised to find out about Anne performing at the upcoming 'Just for Laughs' Festival! For most of the evening, after my initial surprise, I had a great time and enjoyed the various voices, rhythms and classy confidence that accompanied Anne's every song. It was her comical and playful persona, her unique JAZZ style and unforgettable voice which made this a night to remember. Thank You!

Elizabeth C.

This was the first time I've ever heard or even heard of the wonderfully talented Anne Ducros, what a shame! After watching her preform at Club Soda last Wednesday night all I can say is I'm blown away! When I heard her first song with her "bee bopping solo" I had many different reactions; shock, laughter, bewilderment, and enchantment. I had no idea what to expect, and really got the unexpected "how does she do that?" I asked my-self! To sum up her voice and talent- it's like a schizophrenic musical melody- the highs and lows of all the sounds just jump right out of Anne it's truly impessive and really takes you away. The highlight of the night was the duo between Anne and the basist, it was like a childish competition of who can can outdo the other it was a real comedy! Anne's personality really reached the audience, she was very interactive and jovial in the charming way only the French have about them, which made her that much more sensational.

Valerie Poulin

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Marianne Faithfull (Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, PDA) 3/7/02

How does a petite, slender-built woman manage to produce such a magnificent, husky, roof-raising voice? A combination of natural gift and years of practice, we guess.. Marianne, the '60's rock and roll icon, kept a full house toe-tapping and hand-clapping with her songs, mostly from her most recent album, Kissing Time. Like the greatest song interpreters, she exhibited a rare ability to transform any lyrics into something compelling and utterly personal. Some of these were: Like Being Born (collaboration with Beck), Wherever I Go (written and produced by Billy Corgan), Kissing Time (co-written by Faithfull and Damon Albarn) and the lavish opening number, The Wilder Shores of Love.  Her rendition of Working Class Hero was so powerful and moving, she was applauded with a standing ovation , one of  the few that took place during the entire concert. "If you get bored, tell me and I'll stop, honestly, " quipped Marianne gracefully to the audience at one point. Far from it, lady, you kept us superbly entertained and we could have listened to your for another two hours! 

Madhu Iyer & Eileen  Collins

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Les Projectionnistes  (Musee d'Art contemporain) 3/7/02

The hall at the Museum of Modern Art was beautifully set up, Bistro style for the concert of Les Projectionnistes last July 3rd. The tables and chairs begged to have drinks on them, but alas it was not to be. The show, part of the Contemporary Jazz series, was like nothing I had heard before. These guys have a fascinating mix of naturally made sound images, such as Adventure in the Woods, in which toys, instruments and voices are brilliantly employed to depict the sounds heard by a young family camping out in early spring. It was a spellbinding moment. Most pieces start with these aural images, then break into a strong fusion of jazz and rock rhythms, featuring the trombone and tenor sax as solo players. 
The players, bass, guitar, trombone, percussion, sax and sousaphone were extremely tight and well rehearsed in all they did, showing great ability and confidence in their chosen style. Each is clearly a fine player, and able to convincingly play their horns well beyond its "traditional" idiom.
In my view, the flaw of the concert lay not in the creativity of the music, but in its seemingly singular style. The rhythms, solos, and instrumentation of each piece was nearly identical, thereby removing the charm and innovation that existed in the first several pieces. By the end, the high volume, and persistently similar style felt fatiguing, rather than intriguing. This is unfortunate, as a group of this calibre could undoubtedly keep the audience on the edge of their seats with just a bit more variety.

Ross Brownlee

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Trio Francois Carrier & Bobo Stenson  (Monument National) 3/7/02

Nuit Enchantée: Trio François Carrier Avec Bobo Stenson

Quelle soirée de musique! Par des compositions bien conçues et du jeu inspiré, les musiciens réunis sur la scène du Monument National hier soir dans la série "Jazz d’ici" (le 3 Juillet 22h30) ont tissé des textures reveuses et sensuelles.
Les pièces originales, presentées en formes ouvertes et exploratrices sans somber dans l’insolite de la complexité académique et intellectuelle, avaient des thèmes frais et légérs. Aussi charmeuses étaient les conceptions timbrales et harmoniques, marquées d’un jeu nuancé et coloriste. Ainsi les musiciens évitèrent les clichés qui rendent trop souvent des concerts de jazz prédictibles et plates, quoique techniquement impeccables.
Le suèdois Bobo Stenson au piano, en particulier, à impressioné par son jeu créatif et aléatoire, qui cherchait les couleurs qu’il fallait pour complémenter les découvertes de ses pairs. Aussi dévelopait-il des idées rhythmiques avec une facilité d’invention delicieuse à l’oreille.
Pierre Côté, a la contrebasse, et Michel Lambert, à la batterie, developaient, de leur part, des contribuitions bien musclées et abiles, cherchant, eux aussi, a trouver le "son juste" qui ferrait de l’improvisation collective une oeuvre surprennante et expressive.
François Carrier à l’alto démontrait une sonoritie faite d’un équilibre de délicat et de robuste que faisait penser à Paul Desmond par moments. À l’écoute attentive de ses collaborateurs, le saxophoniste à su apporter une volupté au toiles que créait le quatuor.
Une excellente prestation de jazz qui pousse les frontières du "mainstream" sans s’installer dans les habitudes expérimentales et parfois chaotiques du "free."

Paul Serralheiro

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Toots Thielemans & Kenny Werner ( Theatre Maisonneuve, PDA) 4/7/02

Interview with Toots Thielemans

Belgian harmonica player Jean Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, who turned 80 last April, looks back on a career of over 60 years, having played with all the greatest in jazz : Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, and many others. Last Thursday he was on stage with Kenny Werner, his favourite pianist of the last years. Toots explained the audience that, when playing together, they act a bit like a married couple, being able to interact to each others' vibes on particular moments and trusting the other to a maximum extend so that the many improvisations are a real feast. Their agendas have been criss crossing over the past years, resulting in a long list of concerts all over the world.
At the Theatre Maisonneuve they mainly played songs from their last CD recording : The Dolphin (by Brazilian L.Eca), Dolphin Dance (Herbie Hancock), Smile (C.Chaplin), Windows (Chick Corea), Bill Evans Medley and What a wonderful world (R.Thiele and G.D. Weiss). They brought homage to Roy Brown, the bass player who passed away this week, they played music from John Coltrane and gave us a touching version of Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas". He completely forgot to play "Bleusette", his most famous melody which he calls his "secret pension plan".
In between songs Toots explained us where his jazz comes from : His "blender", his "computer" (meaning his brains) picks up the notes, blends them thoroughly and sends signals to his heart where his emotions are mixed with the tunes so that they can be blown out of his little instrument. On top of the emotions he puts into the music, he rediscovers the notes over and over again. While he plays Toots laughs to the music, points out new ways of playing the notes, is genuinely surprised by his own playing and lets the audience interact by sharing his discoveries. The same thing counts for Kenny Werner : he not only is one with the music, but also shows us the pleasure and joy he gets out of performing.
Although 80 years young, Toots seems like a little boy enjoying the sounds he manages to get out of his harmonica. He will be joining Dave Brubeck on Saturday at the Willfrid-Pelletier theatre. "I've been asked to play for old people" Toots says laughingly.
During his long career Toots has often been asked to write the scores for films. When Dustin Hofman dies,Toots is the one accompanying him, when Gerard Depardieu dies, Toots is playing. When the main character in "Manon des Sources" passes away, it is again Toots blowing away. Last Thursday he asked the audience to hum along to this famous "Manon des Sources"-tune.
The concert was a real treat to me and all the others present at the theatre. Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner offered us the fruition of several years working together.
The next day, I was able to assist an interview with Toots for the local Belgian-Dutch television programme "Jase Cafe". Meeting this famous country fellowman in person was a dream come truth for me !
Toots discovered jazz while growing up in the "Marollen", a poorer neighbourhood in the heart of Brussels. Since a very young age he had been playing the accordion in his parents' pub in the Marollen, an instrument he later exchanged for the harmonica and the guitar The latter gave him welcome breaks from the harmonica as Toots struggles with asthma attacks since childhood. It's amazing to hear him blow without any problem and later, while he speaks, having to hear the whistle of his breathing.
In 1942, during the German occupation, he bought a recording that changed his life for ever : Louis Armstrong. From then on jazz became his "leitmotiv", his drug, his love. A series of events brought him to the States where he was discovered by a jazz journalist who introduced him to Benny Goodman. From that moment onwards, jazz not only became his main goal in life, it also gave him the opportunity to be a professional musician and to meet all those great names in the jazz world.
But Toots stays very calm and realistic to all the fame. He believes the harmonica to be his gift of life. While talking, he always holds on to his instrument. When words are difficult to explain his feelings, he blows the answers out of his harmonica. Every morning, after having eaten his daily yoghurt in bed brought to him by his spouse, he picks up his harmonica from the bedside table and "wakes it up". It has become part of him. He likes to call it "his sandwich" not only because it looks a bit like a sandwich, also because with it he earns his bread and butter.
Talking to Toots is easy as he chats away in a mixture of languages : English, French, Flemish and the local Brussels dialect. He explained us his "blender" theory again, stressing the fact of how important goose bumps are when making or performing music. Creativity is inexplicable as are goose bumps in music, poetry, painting, meeting a lovely person, or what so ever. But they are both indispensable. Music is not made, it is played and lived. It is life in good and bad days. And Toots sure feels best in the little space between a smile and a tear.


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Zenzile (Scene du Maurier) 4/7/02

De la musique dub qui ravit les amateurs et fait de nouveaux adeptes ! Voilà
l’impact de cet ensemble français qui se donne à fond sur scène. Espérons
qu’ils reviendront bientôt à Montréal.

Mylène et Unto

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 Rabih Abou-Khalil & Simon Shaheen (Theatre Maisonneuve, PDA) 5/6/02

Quel bonheur, quelle joie, un spectacle inattendu. On m'a remis un billet a la derniere minute. J'ai goute pleinement ce spectacle assise a cote d'un charmant jeune homme a la corbeille premiere rangée .J'ai goute le luth arabe que je ne connaissais pas ne m'etant jamais arretée a cette musique .La virtuosité et le sacré de ce groupe m'a seduit, apres c'est l'humour de simon shaheen qui m'a séduite et emportée dans ses histoires donnant un sens a sa musique.
Le coté international des musiciens, le melange hétéroclite et harmonieux m'a emporté et soudoyé. Une seule remarque: il me semble que les percussions etaient trop fortes en deuxieme partie pour des instruments aussi precieux que le luth ou l'acccordeon qui font un bon melange. j'imagine que c'est le jazz qui veut cela vais desormais aller en salle et arranger mon budget pour voir plus de bons spectacles mon choix se limitait au blues merci au festival[] de m'avoir donné un si beau cadeau je reviendrai l'an prochain en salle bien a vous claire bonne fin de festival a tous xxxx merci a mon voisin pour l'accueil ....

cla bou

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Trilok Gurtu (Spectrum) 5/7/02

C’était la première fois que j’entendais un vrais solo de tabla-jazz, un style dont Trilok Gurtu semble être le maître incontesté. Ses solos étaient vraiment réussis, démontrant un langage et un phrasé rythmique très riche et bien articulé avec un développement libre et naturel propre au jazz. Par contre, si au niveau du style musical jazz-rock les deux instruments (batterie et tabla) jouaient la même rythmique, j’aurais aimé que les très belles sonorités du tabla puissent trouver un prolongement dans les sonorités de la batterie de façon à créer une image sonore plus composée, plus aérienne, à mon avis il y aurait une recherche à faire au niveau des timbres de la batterie pour que les deux instruments s’intègrent d’avantage.
Aussi au niveau de l’ensemble un effort était nécessaire pour aller au-dela de l’impact sonore un peut massif et pas toujours agréable pour un habitué d’esthétique indienne même si on est un enfant du rock.
Pour ce qui est du mixe Afro-Indien, une certaine magie s’installe et émane des compositions mais le chant Africain est un peux perdant à mon avis, mal compris, le charme des couleurs et la poésie manquent pour le supporter.
Le chant indien serait plus à propos ou alors un savant mélange des deux et le rapport chant, batterie, percussions et tabla n’est pas suffisamment articulé pour que l’on ressente une véritable synthèse Indo-Africaine, j’aurais aimé un joueur de tambour africain et une autre chanteuse pour plus de complicité et de présence sur scène. Plus de musiciens...
Vers la fin un court solo de percussions contemporaines assisté électroniquement était bien apprécié ainsi qu’un final improvisé avec le public.
Enfin, il y avait du rythme et de la percussion, un public ouvert, un Trilok Gurtu communicatif et l’on jetait des ponts plutôt que des barrières.

Bruno Paquet (Percussionniste-compositeur, Musique contemporaine du monde)

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Mariza (Carrefour General Motors) 6/7/02

Mariza, queen of the Fado, put on a breathtaking performance, Saturday evening. I still cannot believe her concert was outdoors and free! Next year, if she returns to the Jazz Festival, I would not hesitate to pay up to 100$ to see her perform. What a treat! Besides her amazing voice, musical talent and style, her beauty and unique sense of fashion were the highlights of her performance. She is very entertaining visually. Mariza graces the stage with her every move and abundant confidence.During Mariza's performance, I heard a few men screaming out to her: Ti Amo! And of course she playfully replied! After this event, I immediately purchased her CD, and listen to it almost all the time. Yes, I am now a Mariza fan! I love her music, her CD... she is truly remarquable, and has exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend her CD to everyone.

Elizabeth C.

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Jon Hassell (Salles du Gesù) 6/7/02

The trumpeter Jon Hassell created at times a very magical atmosphere for his audience at Salles du Gesù. With no introduction he began the evening with a haunting melody seemingly whispered through his horn, and his sidemen on keyboards, guitar and bass (each fully equipped with synthesizers and samplers) provided a pulsating rhythmic and harmonic backdrop. The group lacked a drummer, but the use of looped beats and bass lines maintained the rhythmic momentum and induced a trance-like effect.
Members of the group interacted only minimally with the audience, but they interacted with each other, especially with Hassell himself who took the lead by providing the melody. At times, the four instrumentalists seemed more like scientists working together in a laboratory than performers on stage. Occasionally, the bassist and keyboard player would glance over at each other and exchange knowing winks, as though they were privy to a secret musical formula that only they understood. Meanwhile, the disheveled guitar player seemed more like a mad technician, furtively taking drags from a cigarette while trying to coax some melodic coherence out of his electronic devices. His experiments on the electronic soundboards were interspersed with some seemingly fluid fretwork on the guitar, but the latter’s contribution to the ensemble was negligible (when it was audible).
Hassell’s trumpet playing was reminiscent of Miles Davis, with a breathy quality that mimics well the human voice. He was especially adept at half-valve playing, slurring evenly between notes, and was quite soulful at times, even against the electronic soundscape . This was definitely minimalist music—the "less is more" aesthetic—and we sometimes yearned for a little improvisational break-away. In one composition, the keyboard player played some very inventive and refreshingly jazzy passages on the baby grand, and in several tunes the bassist seemed poised to stretch out. But this explosive tension was never broken, which was no doubt Hassell’s intention.
The compositions were all of similar construction, with slow regular tempos and a melody repeatedly played by Hassell serving as the focal point. Each composition was at least fifteen minutes in length, involving little change in the melody, with the accompanists providing improvised support in the background. These compositions were quite drawn-out, sometimes too long and even boring. This music would be great for listening to at home, playing in the background while performing other tasks; however, as a concert performance, it may not have been as effective.
Hassell finally spoke to his audience in response to a request for an encore, and only reluctantly made some remarks about the music his group had just performed—he definitely seemed more comfortable communicating through his music. During the performance itself, Hassell introduced neither the compositions nor his musicians, which would have no doubt upset the continuity of the performance, in any case. Hassell was gracious enough to play an encore piece, but disappointed these reviewers somewhat by reprising his opening selection (which in his opinion had not been performed to his satisfaction the first time).

J & M

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Sidsel Endresen (Club Soda) 29/6/02

Scandinavian singer Endresen performed at the Club Soda in the Series of The Voices of the World on Saturday, 29th of June. The promise in the jazz programme "A must, nothing less" was what made me decide to go and listen to her. Endresen loves to be surrounded by mystery and not only creates this feeling with her voice and her black outfit, but also with the theatrical lighting. She uses her voice as an instrument to carry the audience to Nordic ice-cold highlands covered with snow and long long winter nights to be filled up with sounds. Her poetic words put into a song might remind you of Atwood's poetry, or verses of Shakespeare's witches in Macbeth. Endresen also manages to get strange and even sometimes scary sound effects from her voice that range from very high to extremely low. At times her singing could easily be compared to what Laurie Andersen has done many years ago. Also, the subtle movements Endresen made with her hands seemed to be a tool to underline the mystical atmosphere of the concert. Her fellow musicians, a DJ and a pianist playing a Wurlitzer, prepared piano and a synthesiser, produced the same type of sounds.
All these voices and sounds were even more highlighted through a very dim, mostly deep blue and focused lighting - at times we could only see her face being faintly outlined. It was supposed to have brought us into the imaginary universe that Endresen wants to share with her audience.


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Suzanne Abbuehl(Club Soda) 30/6/02

A smoky, sultry, dreamy voice with song lyrics that range from love, personal introspection to existential themes. In the ideal atmosphere of Club Soda, the performance was reminiscent of bohemian music of the 60's, with an European flavour. The combination of wind instruments, drums and piano added a back drop to the lyrics, where you thought you could hear the wind blow, the grass move and I thought I heard horses galloping in the distance.
Her music is truly original, and one can never know exactly what to expect from one song to the next. One song was an interpretation of a middle eastern chant with no words just her voice in harmony with the instrument, the next was a love song, the next was a poem spoken with quiet piano in the background.
At the end of the performance I was totally relaxed and wanted to hear more, she captivated the audience with an encore presentation in acapella. My suggestion is if you want to hear something original, relaxing and music that will take you somewhere else see Abbuehl or get her music and have a good coffee or a nice red wine.

Roger MacLean

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Gideon Freudmann(Musee d'Art contemporain) 30/6/02

Those of us privileged to see Gideon Freudmann in concert initially wondered whether he had prerecorded tracks that he was playing on top of. The Cellobobist explained that all the sounds he was producing were happening on stage. Mr. Freudmann detailed the electric cello and the reverb and looping equipment he had on stage with him that allowed him to sound like a trio composed of Yo Yo Ma, Stephan Grappelli and Melissa Auf de Maur produced in studio by Daniel Lanois. The music Mr Freudmann played for us was an eclectic, somewhat psychedelic mix of rock, classical and jazz with old show tunes like "Over the Rainbow" and the theme songs of old TV shows like the Andy Griffith Show thrown in for good measure. Mr Freudmann gave us an insight into both his performance and recording process when he spoke of having been invited to Upstate New York to accompany a dance troupe that was dancing to one of his recordings. The troupe wanted him to play the piece live as they danced. Mr. Freudmann had to listen to his own recording and take copious notes in order to repeat the performance exactly as the dancers heard it and choreographed it from the recording.
As a singer and in introducing his pieces Mr Freudmann showed his humour and intelligence and love of musical exploration. With "tunes" like Hassidic Jig, Hologram Crackers and Adobe Dog House the 90 minute performance was as enjoyable for the audience as it appeared to be for Gideon Freudman.

Ron Spivock

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Eivind Aarset's Trio (Salles du Gesu) 30/6/02

Eivind Aarset with drummer Wetle Holte and bassist Marius Reksjo, were well received by the crowd in the Salles de Gésu June 30th. Without a preamble, the Norwegian trio walked on stage, hunched over their equipment, and began. They started with two songs, one from Aarset's first album "Electronique Noir", then one from the second "Light Extracts", after which Aarset introduced the band. There was likely no more than 8 to 10 songs played, including 2 for the two encores, the songs being long and varying, changing beats and rhythms, and merging with the next. It was particularly apt that the band played for the "Jazz dans la Nuit" series, the electronica/ jazz blend of music suggestive of night, of dreamscapes, and even at times nightmarish. In a 21st century "Dumbo", this music would accompany the drunken pink elephants dream. The lighting of the stage was minimal and added to thetone of dreams; the band played in semi obscurity most of  the time, but at moments Aarset's shadow was cast in red gigantic proportions on the wall behind him, or a single yellow light shone on his back, his silhouette eerily like a sunset. The music was mellow, cool, rocking at times, but mainly hypnotic; one found oneself trying to deconstruct the
layers of sound by determining what each bit of ambient noise was: footsteps, dripping water, a digital alarm beeping. Aarset played his electric guitar like a master, the sounds reminiscent of his heavy metal roots sometimes, but also not even seeming like the noise a guitar can make other times. Highly recommended for those who enjoy electronica and jazz. See these two Web sites for more details:

BBC's Jazz Review, by Chris Jones:

Jazzland Artist Bio:

D. White

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Roy Davis Jr. (Club Soda) 30/6/02  

Arrivée en retard, je n’ai pu écouter que le DJ Roy Davis Jr. Bonne musique, si on aime la dance music... La salle était assez remplie et assez contente d’être là et de danser.


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AKA moon (Musee d'art contemporain) 28/6/2001

AKA Moon Takes Modern Jazz Lovers to Mars and Beyond...

Belgian's modern jazz quartet AKA Moon, who were in Montreal for the second time, played for no less than two hours non-stop during the opening concert of the Contemporary Jazz series at Montreal's Contemporary Art Museum yesterday.
Showing no signs of fatigue after a four-day stop over at the Vancouver Jazz Festival and with no rest between their flight from Vancouver and their appearance on stage yesterday, AKA Moon's saxophonist Fabrizio Cassol, bassist Michel Hatzigeorgiou, drummer Stéphane Galland and pianist Fabian Fiorini impressed both long-time admirers and neophytes alike with their awesome musicianship that, as one spectator after the show put it, took him to Mars.
The audience appeared transfixed with the sound emanating from this quartet who play a style of jazz with a multitude of influences from the Aka Pygmies in Africa to Zappa. Their music which has an ineffable quality can be described as consisting of a pastiche of melodies, harmonies, rhythms and tempi, well woven into a mosaic of musical texture and colour with an interplay of consonance and occasional atonality. They perform with an awesome combination of form and freedom, which never wavers or reaches a musical platitude as the band performs to absolute rhythmical and harmonic accuracy from the first note to the last! Definitely a must for any lover of modern jazz who appreciates both individual and collective talent, creativity and innovation.
They have received wide critical acclaim all over Europe and have been involved in a myriad of artistic endeavours from Indian and African musical collaborations to accompanying the modern dance group Rosas and theatre group Tg Stan in the Dance-Theatre-Music Production In Real Time.
For more information about AKA Moon they can be reached at


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Arto Lindsay (Spectrum) 4/7/2001

Arto Lindsay’s music was billed in the Jazz Festival program as "a fusion of Brazilian samba tinged with sounds of the New York underground." His performance at the Spectrum consisted largely of soft-voiced vocals drowned out by discordant guitars and canned bossa-nova and new-age rhythms. Many of the lyrics, sung in English and Portuguese, were not audible five rows directly in front of the stage. Those that were audible were not particularly profound:

"I expect a whole lot of love out of you

You’ve got to be good to me

And I’ll be good to you."

Mr. Lindsay has a rather shy, nerdish demeanour. Neither he nor the two other guitarists, drummer or keyboardist made much of an effort to engage the audience. Mr Lindsay’s bouts of tuneless singing were punctuated by vociferous, rocker-like attacks on his guitar, with a few wild-animal squeals thrown in for good measure.
The numbers that were more melodic and had a backbeat in sync with the guitars elicited more signs of life from the audience. However, I was disappointed by the lack of verve often associated with Brazilian music, and judging by the number of people who walked out half-way through the show, many in attendance were expecting a different type of music than they got.

Cynthia Adam

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Arturo Sandoval (Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, PDA) 30/6/2000

"Anyone near Cuban Arturo Sandoval's show said he could have had a career as a pianist, timbales player or Ricky Ricardo band leader if he wasn't already blowing the finish off his trumpet."

John Griffin - The Montreal Gazette 4/7/2000

Excellent concert! High energy throughout. A truly gifted musician. His knowledge and skill of the latin genre ooze through every pore of his body

Trevor Dix

Amazing! This man is oozing music from every pore. He's such a natural musician in the style that he need only find an instrument through which to express himself.
The fact the audience cheered for four minutes into intermission attests to the concert's greatness.

Ross Brownlee

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Avishai Cohen 30/6/2000

Perfect! The best concert so far. A musical genius. My wife liked the drummer.


A real treat. With the seal of approval from Chick Corea, Avishai played each piece with the peaceful appearance of a Hare Krishna devotee and the virtuosity of a bop musician. Thankfully, you didn't have to be particularly versed in the language of be-bop to enjoy this show. Each piece had a melody that the band intricately wove in turn. Each soloist did his improvisational bit without losing sight of the main musical thread. Cohen’s counterbass never overpowered the sax, trombone, piano or percussion. Each musician’s lyricism was evident throughout . Band members played immaculately and were always respectful of each others’ talents. Especially sparkling were the percussion and the piano. Art Blakey’s trombonist also enhanced the band’s inspired performance. Avishai called in a saxophonist colleague from Chick Corea’s band who was among the audience to play the final tunes with them, with a "Got your horn, man?"


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Barbarito Torres & Sierra Maestra(Metropolis) 29/6/2000

Sierra Maestra


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Bill Carrothers and Bill Stewart: (Salle du Gesu) Friday, June 29, 2001, 10:30 p.m.

Bill Carrothers played the piano as if it were an extension of himself, so organic was his use of the ivories to express the hummable tunes in his head. And hum he did as he bore his soul on the keyboard: the mike on the piano picked up his moanings as the tunes poured forth. Carrothers is obviously trained in the European classical tradition as we detected hints of Bach intertwined with the nursery rhymes and grand American folk standards that he playfully extemporized on. His "Dance of the Macabre" was wonderful; but the funeral chord themes reappeared sometimes tediously in other pieces. On the whole, the performance was immensely enjoyable for an hour. After that time, Carrothers’ repertoire of tunes wore thin, though his mastery of his instrument never flagged. One only wishes that he would enrich himself in different musical traditions so that in the future his skill and emotions will have more vocabulary to draw from. Bill Stewart’s percussion tastefully complemented Carrothers’ keyboard wanderings. One must salute drummers when they hold themselves back from overpowering their stagemates and Stewart did just that, avoiding any loud banging, and showing an intimate sensitivity to Carrothers’ moods.


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Bob Walsh (Club Soda) 29/6/2001

Bob Walsh, quelle voix, quel spectacle!!!
Mon chum et moi on est encore sous le charme de ce grand de chez nous. Déjà, dans les petites boîtes de blues de Montréal, entendre Bob Walsh est toujours un must. Mais là, avec les choristes et les musiciens sur scène, sa voix nous atteignait au plexus: émotions et ravissement traversaient la salle.
Je n'ai pas de mot pour décrire la générosité de ce grand homme interprétant à ses musiciens et au public ravi "You are so beautifull". WOW, j'en suis encore soufflée.
Le public lui a répondu par une ovation debout, que dis-je, trois ovations.
Et pas une critique au lendemain de ce superbe spectacle. Où étaient donc les journalistes en ce 29 juin 2001?
Françoise Fréchette

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Bullfrog & Curtis (Spectrum) 7/7/2001

Excellent concert de Bullfrog (Montréal). On connaissait Bullfrog pour leurs prestations au Jello Bar à Montréal et dès les premières notes de musique, ce groupe avait conquis le public qui avait eu la bonne idée de se presser sur le parterre. Une musique extrêmement entraînante, mélange de funk, de hip hop et de jazz. Kid Koala qui était aux platines, nous a gratifié de quelques solos de trombone qui nous ont tous laissé pantois... Je ne sais pas si j’hallucine, mais je commence à croire que les DJ sont déjà les musiciens de demain... Bullfrog a a son actif un disque du même nom sorti récemment. Un groupe dont il faut surveiller les passages dans les clubs.
(France) était extraordinaire. Funk jusqu’au bout des ongles (sans rayer les disques), il s’est adapté au style du groupe précédent pour nous emmener très loin jusqu’en Afrique. Subtile aussi... chaque morceau contenait un élément qui annonçait le prochain. Beaucoup d’humour dans la musique qu’il passait. Il a joué jusqu’à 3 h 30 du matin et la quelque dizaine de danseurs qui restaient l’a chaudement félicité. On serait bien content qu’il revienne nous voir vite ! Une très belle découverte.


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Charlie Haden's Nocturne Concert  (Theatre Maisonneuve) 30/6/2001

North American Jazz artists' discovery of foreign musical genres and presenting them to their audiences was evident last night as Charlie Haden showcased bolero rhythms which are part of his new recording entitled Nocturne. With an incredible line-up of fine musicians like Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubacalba who made all the arrangements, Ignacio Berroa drums, Britos Ruiz violin and guest artist Joe Lovano on tenor sax, bolero rhythms were played exclusively throughout the concert.
It was described as labour of love as Haden introduced the musical experience undertaken with these truly great musicians. Initially, I sensedthat ninety minutes of bolero rhythms which are great for slow rhythmic dancing would be tedious in a concert hall as opposed to a dance floor.This reservation, however, was slowly allayed as the passion for the music was evident when great improvisation and superb playing (especiallyby Gonzalo, Britos and Joe) filled the Maisonneuve Theatre.
Although the musicianship displayed was first rate, I had some reservations about the percussion. Bolero is a slow rhythmic dance with a steady beat that is usually played by at least two percussionists, one with claves and another with bongos or conga which creates a warm, colourful percussive interplay with which the melody and improvisation can dance around. Last night however, the percussion was limited to a beat produced by brushes on a snare drum with occasional accents on a cymbal or two and a slight tapping on the bass drum during the entire concert. This resulted in a dry, static feel that did not bring out the full flare of the bolero as I had experienced both during live performances in Cuba and on recordings of this musical genre.
One last comment pertains to the fact that the concert was recorded for television. There were two problems with this. The first was one that was expected: cameramen and an alien-looking camera on a boom stand invading the stage. The other, however, was a lot more obtrusive. Sitting next to a stationary camera, one heard throughout the concert voices coming from the technicians headphones which was a irritating distraction. A warning for festival fans who plan to attend concerts which will be recorded for television!

Martin Ferreira

Shirley Horne Trio with Charlie Haden (Salle Wilfrid Pelletier) 29/6/2000

Charlie Haden


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Costards (les)

frederic du groupe "les costards" visible sur les costards .com

Les Costards

Juste un mot pour vous dire que le groupe de France, "Les Costards", sont super et j'espère que vous les ré-inviterez l'an prochain.
Avec les Streetnix qui sont mon premier groupe favori, ensuite viennent les costards!
Festivalement vôtre!

Johanne St.- Amant

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Marilyn Lerner and David Wall (Musée d’Art Contemporain) 5/7/2001

Tenor David Wall and pianist Marilyn Lerner, both of the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, performed a program of modern Yiddish poetry set to music, some if not all composed by Ms. Lerner herself. In his introduction, Mr. Wall explained that they both loved the music of Schuman and Schubert and that these melodies were "aimed in that direction," but updated and with some jazz influences.
Mr. Wall’s mellifluous voice and sensitive rendering in Yiddish of the nostalgic ballads blended well with Ms. Lerner’s passionate interpretation at the piano, lulling the audience into a state of calm receptivity. English translations of the songs with titles such as "To a Woman Socialist" and "The Moon Anointed Me with Milk and Tears" were available. Ms. Lerner made a game attempt to translate the colourful introductions into Côte St. Luc French for the Francophones present, but gave up part-way through the program.
About twenty-five tables with candles provided the perfect, intimate setting for this duo, although the Spartan wooden chairs did not lend themselves to a performance that was one and a half hours long.

Cynthia Adam

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 Diana Krall (Salle Wilfrid Pelletier) 29/6/2000

Opening Day at the Montreal International Jazz festival Shines Bright

The Montreal Jazz Festival's opening day took jazz lovers to the moon and back as it launched the event with a constellation of talent and styles.
Undoubtedly, the star attraction was none other than Diana Krall who caught most of the public and the press' attention (not necessarily in that order). Krall (who is also known as Jean Marsh) had earlier yesterday disappointed local and foreign journalists by not showing up at a special cocktail set up by festival organizers in order to receive the Ella Fitzgerald award which is bestowed by festival organizers annually on jazz singers.
Krall however did not disappoint her fans when she appeared at two sold out concerts at Place des Arts. The quartet she was leading preformed a series of jazz standards like Fly Me to the Moon, Cry Me a River, I've Got You Under My Skin, as well as Joni Mitchell's A Case of Your, among others. Krall's vocal and piano talent was met most adeptly with the musicianship of Dan Faehnie on guitar, Rodney Green on drums and Ben Wolf on bass as they filled the hall with modern interpretations of the idiom many expect from Krall. The audience's appreciation was shown by two standing ovations.
Festival organizers did manage to catch up with Krall after the first concert and offered her the above-mentioned award which she received with a subdued gesture of thanks. No award, however, can replace the acclaim she's received from the public both in Canada and around the world as she continues to be the planet's most popular interpreter of the art form.
"It's nice to be home", were her first words at both concerts. I am sure the audience was pleased that she did come home.



Ma chanteuse favorite m'a beaucoup décu ce soir et je tenais à vous le souligner. Comment expliquer que le spectacle fut si court à peine 70 minutes ? Au prix ou sont les billets on me me prendra plus à ce jeu. Elle m'avait l'air fatigué et elle n'a pas réussi à créer une ambiance digne du prix que vous lui avez décerné. Le jazz doit être plus que ce que j'ai entendu. J'aime ces CD mais je veux voir une performer qui sait que son public est en partie francophone ( pas un petit merci à la salle). Il manquait cruellement de structure et les paroles qu'elle adressait à la foule était sans vie . Ou était les jeux de lumières (aucun spotlight sur un solo) Des solos trop court et pas vraiment apprécié de la chanteuse. L'an prochain avant de payer 180 $ je vais y réfléchir deux fois plutôt qu'une. J'Ai un goût amer de mon premier spectacle payant...
Daniel Legros

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Enrico Rava and Ray Anderson (Salle du Gesu) 6/7/2001

Great concert, not being a jazz expert, but one who enjoys the music, their music gave a broad range of feelings. At some point I felt like walking through a park looking at people picnic,,,,at other times I felt on the run. It was a trip, a good trip, a real adventure. I went in thinking one way and came out with a totally different perception.
For example, a number of times you hear very familiar tunes and then Enrico and Ray take you in a direction you never thought to go in. Also the musical dialogue between Enrico and Ray has to be heard and seen, it was a dance that amazed. Over all it is hard to describe the Jazz Europa done at this concert, it was exotic, North American in some aspects but not.
This group is really worth seeing and hearing, but one where you have to be alert, because of all the interactions, after two ovations they finally got some much needed rest. Hope they are back next year!!!!


Enrico Rava and Paulu Fresu Quintet (Salle du Gesu) 5/7/2001

It was a very good concert, Polished, very professional and with panache. Could hear Miles in the music. The pianist was great. Good concert.


Enrico Rava & Stefano Bollani (Salle du Gesu) 4/7/2001

Bollani's musical imagination, mastery of the keyboard, and absolute comfort on the piano made the duo's interpretation of mainly Rava-composed tunes a top-notch concert-going experience. Bollani's artistry promises to secure him a place in the constellation of jazz stars. Watch for him in the future! He was able to feed each piece with a mind-boggling variety of arpeggios, chord progressions, and solo licks that subtly complemented Rava's cornet and trumpet. The performance was peppered with improvisational flights that were strongly influenced by an intimate knowledge of authentic American jazz. The two exchanged on-going musical jokes. For instance, while deciding on which tune to play next, Bollani banged out the intro to "New York, New York" and said, "Let's do My Way!" This led the audience to believe that Rava and Bollani didn't know their Broadway hits. Later on, however, "New York, New York" was alluded to again and given another title. Spectators soon understood that the butt of their joke was not the Italians but those who doubted their familiarity with Americana. Bollani's sparkly sequined jeans, red shoes and wild, frizzy hair added pizzaz to the jazz. Hats off to Rava for giving a podium to Bollani's genius.


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Ex Voto Zurzolo Band (Scene General Motors) 4/7/02 & 5/7/02

Congratulations on the festival! My party and I had loads of fun. The music was great and we had a very memorable time. I particularly enjoyed the musical stylings of italian Ex-voto Zurzolo Band (GM stage) and wished to purchase their cd. However, all copies were sold out. How could I come upon a cd by this band?


Ex Voto Zurzolo Band (Salle du Gesu) 30/6/2001

The concert on Sat. 30 June was wonderful. The space in the Salle du Gesu was so apt. With the stone pillars and the lighting there was an ambience of a village plaza in Italy with an energetic and engaging band. They generated so much energy that the audience was swept up. Even if you wanted to be a stiff it was hard to. The music was reminiscent of Nino Rota (did the music for many Fellini films) and seemed to blend 'traditional' tunes with 'Middle Eastern' strains. The accordion and the big drum (sorry, but don't know the name, the kind that marching bands have) leant strains that were at once melancholic and commanding. And the leader was amazing. If only for him one felt obliged to enjoy! He worked hard at encouraging both the players (all other 8 of them) and the audience to get into things. And everyone responded. He spoke a few words in French and then spoke in Italian a lot. Very heartfelt. All the musicians had solos. They all seemed to be having a very good time and it was infectious. A woman was invited up from the audience (part of the group?) to sing. Rich and moving. True to the form there was the encore after the standing ovation and then.... as the well-trained audience started leaving... on came the leader again and with a sweep of his had brought the other players on stage and gestured to the audience to stay. That final finale was so characteristic of the entire evening's performance. A joy!! I would definitely go again to see them.


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Femi Kuti & the Positive Force (Métropolis) 2/7/2000

Well, I have had the pleasure of seeing Femi Kuti & the Positive Force once before at the Barbican in London, England. I thought it was the best show I had ever seen (well, on par with a Nina Simone concert I saw). So I had no qualms about paying $38 to see them again, and they not only did not disappoint me, but blew me away.
They were preceded by Antibalas, a group I had not heard of before, and must admit was anxious for them to finish and move onto the ‘real’ show. My thoughts regarding this group may be somewhat jaded as I was only there to see one act.
When the curtains rose at 10:30, the crowd was already hysterical. They came out one by one, first musicians, then the hypnotic dancers, and then Femi himself. From then on it was a wild ride of sheer extacy, joy, and energy. At least it was for me.
To be honest I hardly looked at the rest of the group, although the music they made was so amazing. Except for the keyboardist and the horn player who each took a turn at the spotlight. Notably, Femi would join the brass section at the back to play his sax when this occurred.
The reason for this is that I was just too utterly mesmerized and spellbound by Femi himself, and his incredible dancers. Femi – how can one describe him?! Talented, beautiful, confident, authoritative, incredibly sexy, overflowing with energy to share and shower us with. And those women are hard to tear your eyes from. Awe, pretty much sums up my feelings towards them – and the whole performance in every way. So beautiful, sexy, energetic, (ENERGY was a common theme throughout the night). I can only dream of moving the way they do. And on the rare occasions that they added backing vocals, I thought their voices were beautiful too.
They group played some songs I knew, i.e. Beng Beng Beng, Sorry Sorry, Black Man Know Yourself. All the best I’d ever heard them, stretched out, improvised on, added to.
And also some songs by his father, who he mentioned several times.
He spoke a little bit about Nigeria and Africa, AIDS, and issues affecting them there. I could not call it preaching, he just used his position to raise a little bit of awareness. With a crowd like that hanging on your every word and movement, what better time? It really makes you wonder that such a ravaged continent, in such an unstable country, with so many years of corruption and oppression under its belt, can house a group so vibrant, and full of life, absolutely overflowing with infectious energy like that (so much African music is like that though). Music is really a release for them. And they share that with us. I found myself thinking about globalization, and how there are some undeniably good points about it, if it brings that music to us, and then a group so diverse as the crowd who enjoyed them, together.
I found their music unifying. At the end of what turned out to be a half hour or more encore he invited various individuals (black, white, one in full African dress) from the front of the crowd to come on stage and dance.
All in all, the whole 2 hour and 15 minute show was absolutely incredible, much better than the one at the Barbican if only because there was more room to dance (I thought the venue was awesome, compliments to the lighting technicians) and they went for much longer it seemed.
After the crowd roared upon their first departure from the stage for an encore, he kept asking, "Montreal, aren’t you tired yet?!!", and "Tu es fatiguee?!!" to an emphatic "NO" from the crowd. He proceeded to take us on an energy burning finale, telling us to sing and jump up and down and shake our asses. I left with burning feet, and although I never wanted it to end, could hardly have lasted any longer on my feet – but was incapable of sitting down!

Rachel Weston

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Ivana Santilli 5-6/7/2000

The first night she performed, I went with my brother, and she had mentioned she would be at Music World the next day. I own her debut CD, and for me the album was a real introduction to jazz, so I wanted to get to meet her in person. Within the five minutes I spoke to her, I really felt she was a very down to earth performer (that's due to the fact that she is Canadian, I'm sure!). She did sign my CD with a really nice message, and I ended up watching her show again, this time with my friend. Ivana Santilli should definitely be invited again for next year.


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James Carter Chasin' The Gypsy (Spectrum) 5/7/2001

James Carter: Chasing Who?

Thirty-two year old saxophonist James Carter's concert was supposed to be a tribute to Django Reinhardt but after a while I thought I was at the wrong concert! His new CD Chasing the Gypsy had little to do with gypsy music let alone Django. Although a superb showman with a remarkable talent, he over did it with his display of ability to squeeze out all manner of squawks and squeaks from the tenor and soprano saxes. Although humorous at first, the jaunty effect gave way to sonic saturation after a while. His cousin Regina's violin playing was the closest to the Django sound as it reminded me of the sweetness of Stephane Grapelli. Carter's tribute to Eddie Lockjaw Davis was a fine rendition of the finer jazz ballads, but once again, it wasn't a gypsy he was chasing.


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Jay Jay Johansen 1/7/2000

very interesting. Jay Jay Johnsen has trip-hop rhythms moving into contemporary pop, but a slower, expressive voice that vaguely reminded me of Paul McCartney. I did think that Metropolis was maybe not the right venue - he would have been much better in a smaller, more intimate setting like a club. But then I guess they could not have sold as many tickets, and he was only here for one night!


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Jimmy Cliff & Jah Cutta 6/7/2000

Unfortunately, the sound in both halves of this reggae night was the pits. You couldn't hear the singer's voice over the overamplified/ electrified guitar, bass, and drums. What resulted was a horrible sound mix that did not allow you to distinguish one instrument from the other. The most irritating part was that the singer's message was terribly muffled. Jah Cutta started off the show with a fiery display of energy. In a pastel turquoise robe, the lead jumped and moved his body like a limbo dancer. The energy quickly fizzled out when the second singer came out. His corpulence did not permit him the grace and agility of the lead and his bass voice muffled the words even more. The sound engineer seemed to have had more of an appreciation for heavy metal than for the importance of the lyrics in reggae!

Jimmy Cliff, one of the great Ambassadors of Reggae, sang his original "The Harder They Come" and " Many Rivers To Cross " as well as tunes like " Buffalo Soldier" (Bob Marley), " Hakuna Matata" (from The Lion King), " Wide World" (Cat Stevens), and " I Can See Clearly Now" (Johnny Nash). Again, the sound (not necessarily too loud but definitely too muddy) detracted from the message of peace and brother/sisterhood. Nonetheless, the audience got into the spirit of humanity and swayed contentedly to the beat. Cliff told the spectators that he had no idea what to expect from the Montreal crowd but was pleasantly surprised by the warm reception. It was good to hear the hopeful ''70's message about the environment, women's rights, etc. again! A new generation of kids born in that era came to the concert recycling their parents' period clothes. Hope they will carry on the fight for a better world!


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Jim Zeller(Scene Labatt Blues) 30/6/2001

Un petit mot sur le spectacle extérieur de Jim Zeller et son Band: 3 jours après, je n'en reviens pas encore: super bon show...
Malheureusement, aucun commentaire le lendemain par les journalistes. Aucune image. Je ne comprends pas. Jim Zeller a soulevé la foule,
tout le monde dansait (surtout au show de 23h00) malgré le torrent de pluie qui nous déferlait dessus. Nous étions tous mouillés, mais WOW...
Quel plaisir pour nos oreilles! Je trouve dommage d'avoir passé sous silence ce merveilleux spectacle.
Bravo à Jim Zeller et son Band.

Céline Desjardins

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Joe Bonamassa(Scene Labatt Blues) 8/7/2001

What an extraordinary and intense performance! The finest blues-rock I've heard in years.

Henry H.

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John Hammond sings the songs of Tom Waits (Spectrum) 6/7/2001

This show was pure magic from start to finish. Renowned interpreter of southern blues classics John Hammond was backed up by Augie Meyers of the Texas Tornados on keyboards and accordion as well as a very able bass player and guitarist, not to mention a percussionist who was the spitting image of Tom Waits himself. Hammond, a long-time habitué of the Spectrum, charmed the packed house by introducing every song in a very creditable French and by fixing his own broken guitar string!
From the moment they ran out on stage, all the musicians appeared to be having a marvelous time, pumping out sophisticated renditions of Tom Waits classics such as "Heart Attack and Vine," "Get Behind the Mule," "Shore Leave," "Murder in the Red Barn" and "Sixteen Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six." The Tex Mex influence was front and centre on their up-tempo version of "Hey Little Bird, Fly Away Home," with accordion accompaniment by Augie Meyers. John Hammond sang, as always, with soul and heart.
The audience responded with enthusiastic claps, whistles, hoots and hollers and would happily have stayed on into the wee, small hours to soak up such generous, authentic performances by these extremely accomplished, yet unassuming, musicians.
The band hugged each other as they exited, which seemed to exemplify both their camaraderie on-stage and extraordinary rapport with the audience.

"John, John,

He’s long gone."

But we hope he’ll be back soon!

Cynthia Adam (with thanks to Steven Morris)

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Johnny Dread (Scene du Maurier Terre Plain de Maisonneuve) 28-29/6/2001

Bonjour a toutes
Moi ca fait 4 fois que je vais au festival cette année  pour les soirée des bleues et les soirées toniques Et je croie que celle qui va etre dure a battre c`est les soirées toniques de JOHNNY DREAD (etats- unis) IL etait super bon bravo bravo j`espere qui va etre de retour l`an prochain
merci bye bye

Pierre-Yves Lafrance

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Kristi Stassinopoulou and Ekova 2/7/2000

Kristi Stassinopoulou and Ekova at the Spectrum were good in that world beat way. However I'm glad I didn't have to pay for the ticket. My feeling after the concert was that one no. on a compilation album would have been enough for me. A caveat to that is I'm not familiar with traditional Balkan and Greek music which they drew on a lot. So might have missed finer points. I was reminded of our local artist Raffi Nizbilian whose music seems v. similar to theirs (at least as far as I am concerned).


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Maraca Y Otra Vision 6/7/2000

Le groupe "maraca y otra vision" était génial, je n'ai pas pu rester jusqu'à la fin mais j'adore leur façon de danser, tous les instruments donnent une dimension fantastique et rythmique de la musique. Que ce soit le piano, la flûte, la trompette, et autres, ils ont de bons musiciens. Même si tu ne sais pas danser dessus, tu as quand même envie de t'y essayer. En plus je crois que C,était leur première fois au Canada. Ce serais bien qu'ils viennent en France, je ne manquerais pas d'aller les voir.


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Michael Brecker with Charlie Haden & Danilo Perez (Monument National) 1/7/2001

For his fourth concert at the Jazz Festival Michael Brecker joined forces with stand up bass player Charlie Haden and pianist Danilo Perez at the Monument National.
For the first half hour of the show Brecker brought us solo pieces. The concert really got under way when Haden was called on stage to perform some of his own compositions with the saxophonist. Bass and sax formed a perfect marriage for the laidback music and was enjoyed by all in the cosiness of the old theatre hall. Danilo Perez, whose concert with Wayne Shorter at the Théâtre aisonneuve overlapped with the beginning of the Michael Brecker concert, joined in on the piano for the latter part of the evening.
The trio played Charlie Haden compositions such as Silence, Ornette Coleman's Turn Around, some of Herbie Hancocks's work and pieces of Brecker's last CD The Nearness of You.
Brecker told us that this was the very first time during his series of concerts at the Festival that he mentioned his new CD for which he had an incredible line up of not only Charlie Haden, but also Herbie Hancock and Jack DeJohnette. Last evening's concert would have been perfect in the company of drummer DeJohnette as the rhythms of a drummer would have enhanced the music.

Renate De Neve

Michael Brecker and Mike Manieri « Steps Ahead » (Monument National) 29/6/2001

Le vendredi soir 29 juin au Monument national, le spectacle de Michael Brecker et Mike Mainieri était un vrai régal ! Accompagnés d’un batteur endiablé, d’un bassiste et d’un pianiste surprenant, ils nous ont servi des plats de résistance pendant plus de 90 minutes. Les baguettes rouge du xylophoniste Mainieri se transformaient en lutins espiègles et enchanteurs. Nous ne connaissions point ces musiciens avant, mais dorénavant nous les chercherons en spectacle et chez le disquaire.

Mylene Cros and Unto Ruus

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Michel Camilo & Tomatito (Theatre Maisonneuve) - 4/07/01

Last night the music of Dominican Republic pianist Michel Camilo and Spanish flamenco guitarist Tomatito warmed up the always so cold air conditioned Maisonneuve Theatre. The both extremely well experienced musicians, started their world tour in Montreal to promote their CD Spain.
The programme promised us "music we call jazz with a fling of flamenco". I wasn't quite sure if the combination of a piano and guitar would work for the strongly rhythmic and raw flamenco music, traditionally supported by handclapping. But be assured : what we saw and heard on stage last night was a real revelation !
Michel Camilo proved that piano can work wonders when it comes to flamenco. This virtuoso gave me the impression of having to tame his instrument rather than play it, as if he found himself in the middle of a Spanish bullfight ring. Had he had double the amount of ivory keys, he would have played all those as well. His fingers flew from left to right and backwards with the same fast tempo as with which the flamenco guitar was finger picked on. He switched from legato to staccato and thus drew the necessary accents in the different movements of each piece. Camilo played his piano in a sublime energetic way with an incredible speed.
Tomatito created a warm, fiery and sensual atmosphere that is so typical of flamenco guitarists. His amazing finger work brought out the heat of the Andalucian temperament. He displayed an exceptional talent.
Camilo and Tomatito played versions that proved their creative and innovative interests. The CD title track Spain, written by Chick Corea, became a mixture of flamenco and rumba. So did Besame Mucho. The duo brought us "bulerias", one of the flamenco genres based upon a 12 tempo meter, Argentinean tangos, and the Spanish classic Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo.


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Michel Cusson and Alain Caron 1/7/2000

Michel Cusson who I was hearing live for the first time was amazing. I'm not a musician so can't comment on the finer points but the blending of different music and the great guitaring was wonderful. Also his relaxed and jocular interaction with the audience (his home fans!) was entertaining.


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Mukta 5/7/2000

Two people who seem to have some India connection. One plays sitar. It was great -- the late afternoon sun (6:30 pm), the music, especially the raga-based stuff. Other material was a bit too much like Balsara and the Singing Sitars of the late '60s and also Ananda Shankar who did things like Jumpin' Jack Flash. But the audience seemed to like the 'western' stuff a lot.


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New Art Jazz Quartet (Salle du Gesu) 7/7/2001

This was jazz at its improvisational best. Running through the capillaries of extemporaneous sound, was a strong melodic backbone, amply presented at the beginning of each piece by guitar/songwriter, James, "Blood" Ulmer's deep bass voice. These are obviously great jazz musicians, hailing from Coleman/Coltrane/Monk tutelage. And proof of their genius was in their ability to explore the limits of each melody spontaneously and yet return with ease to the main theme, never allowing the length of the solos to outrun the audience's interest in the tune. I still have " If you want to fax me" running through my head! With pianist, John Hicks ;drummer, Rashied Ali; bassist, Reggie Workman, and guitarist James Ulmer, each showing off the skills they've honed over decades, we were witness to the coming alive of an authentic, " free jazz" moment. Yet it wasn't a nostalgic artistic experience, but very much a current one. These guys can teach the new generation a lesson or two about how to keep jazz fresh and vital: don't stray far from the tune!


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Orchestra Instabile 1/7/2000

An unforgettable Felliniesque experience!! At times I thought I was watching a circus scene from Otto e Mezzo!! A "free jazz" concert a la Ornette Coleman, rendered by set of highly talented jazzmen shamelessly exploring the sonorous limits of their instruments. Never had I seen a concert this democratically performed. The show consisted of band members conducting their own pieces: perhaps a manifestation of the deep roots of Italian communism? (one musician even looked like Carlo Marx!) or just a need for some order to be provided to the brassy cacophony? Pino's performance was a lot of fun. He seemed to be doing a musical critique of fascism, marching with his megaphone and gesticulating as if giving militaristic commands. At one point he skipped across the stage and rhythmically threw his derriere in the air. Another band member donned a flowing robe when it was his turn to conduct. The audience was extremely responsive right from the start as musicians strolled onto the stage one by one. Folk elements "to ward off evil spirits" were incorporated into the first number led by the wild wailings of a primitivist sounding cornette. I thought of wolves howling and the fear of peasants in the villages of yesteryear described by novelist Ignazio Silone in works like Pano e Vino. Local Italian organizations had obviously contributed to bringing in the many members of this big band to town.


We had a ball!! These musicians are certainly unique - both in appearance and presentation. It was quite hard to take them seriously at first, as they were such a motley crew. We found the first half of the performance a bit too off beat, discordant, not terribly pleasant. However, the second half was more musical, interactive, and funny.

Mary Rivard - David

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Petite Ecole de Jazz (La)

Je voulais simplement vous dire quel point moi et ma fille de 3 ans avons apprécié le spectacle de la petite école de JAZZ! C'Etait vraiment bien, merci pour ce beau divertissement GRATUIT :)

Évelyne et Éloïse

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Pietro Tonolo et Danilo Rea (Salles du gesu) 28/6/2001

The concert was good, certainly the musicians were very good at their craft, particularly the pianist. My first impression was that this was a high quality "Kenny G." style of saxophone and piano. I soon increased in complication, with the piano able to create mostly any mood with absolute mastery. This reminded me very much of the style so well played by Keith Jarret in the "Koln Concert". The saxophone sounded thin (this may have been due to the sound technician..... The musical style might best be described as "free jazz", very accessible and harmonically ..... For myself, one hour was more than enough, as each piece, although distinct, was very similar.
On a VERY positive note my highlight concert at the jazz fest was the 6:30 July 1st concert presented by Canadian guitar virtuoso Dan Ross. This was an hour of shear delight, full of stunning original compositions, and heart warming stories presented by this solo master.
Sometimes we don't need to go out of our own borders to hear the best music.

Ross Brownlee

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Rachid Taha  (Métropolis) 28/6/2001

Rachid Taha et son groupe sont visiblement en forme pour entamer une tournée nord-américaine. Bonne soirée pour ceux qui aiment danser dans une ambiance conviviale. Nous avons eu droit à certaines pièces de son dernier CD, Made in Medina, les classiques de son album précédent, Diwân, et certains de ses vieux succès plus rock et techno (un Voilà, Voilà très réussi). On peut regretter un peu que les chansons de son dernier album n’aient pas été plus mises en valeur, le public n’a pas semblé y réagir beaucoup.
Lorsqu’on a eu la chance d’assister à son concert au Spectrum, ses prestations au Métropolis ont un goût d’inachevé... Le son n’y est évidemment pas aussi bon et il était absolument impossible de comprendre et d’entendre ce qu’il disait au public. Mais Rachid a su communiquer son enthousiasme au public. Après le concert, on aurait aimé que le party continue, surtout que la musique de DJ qui passait était excellente et constituait une excellente transition. La formule du concert suivi d’un DJ devrait être exploitée davantage et pas seulement dans le cadre du Festival.


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Ranee Lee 3/7/2000

Ranee Lee's concert was simply classic. I must say I enjoyed her well-experienced performance and her talented band. Each piece that she played was short and did not bore me once. With her personal story telling music and humor, she is truly an entertainer.

Samson Tekeste

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The Ray Brown  Trio 2/7/2000

The Ray Brown trio was an adventure in listening. Ray Brown was a mentor to the younger group which accompanied him. They played a broad range of jazz, with each accompanying musician being highlighted during the evening. The highlight was the duo of John Clayton, a former student of Ray Brown, and Ray Brown. Considering that the theatre was full, you could hear a pin drop, we were all entranced by the pair, the teacher and the student. They went from jazz to a harmony of classical, with John Clayton playing the classical and Ray Brown playing a shadow in jazz. I believe that it was a once in a lifetime experience. Overall it was a marvelous listening adventure.

Roger Mclean

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Roy Hargrove Special Trio, Russel Malone & Christian McBride (Monument National) 5/7/2001

This was a most exciting, enjoyable, memorable musical experience with these accomplished trio jazz artist: Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Christian Mc Bride on doublebass and Russel Malone on guitar. The packed audience was entertained to a musical extravaganza, permeated with heartwarming melody, sweet harmony, perfect rhythms and consummate skill! The musicians established a complete rapport with the audience. They were truly an elite group! The standing ovation and the three encores were well deserved.


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Shakti (Salle Wifrid-Pelletier) 30/6/2001

Shakti Still Sensational After All These Years

Veteran Shakti members John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain's 25-year musical odyssey continued last night at Wilfred-Pelletier Hall. The sounds that resulted from this "spiritual exploration" came from the one and only John Mclaughlin on electric semi-acoustic guitar, the sensational Zakir Hussain on tabla and other manner of percussion as well as the young and impressive prodigious talents of  U. Shrinivas on electric mandolin and V. Selvaganesh on percussion.
Anyone familiar with Shakti is aware of the excellent musical talent of its members and the superb performances that they have given both in the studio and in concert halls around the world.
Last night was no exception as each performed to his best ability .The Indian rhythms supplied by master tabla player Hussain and the young  Selvaganesh provided a basis for the virtuoso McLaughlin and equally impressive Shrinivas to flourish with soft slow melodies and impressive runs played at breakneck speed.
Undoubtedly a first-rate performance of sublime sound along with musical mastery.

Serafim Holheadaeh & Renate De Neve

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Shirley Horne Trio with Charlie Haden (Salle Wilfrid Pelletier) 29/6/2000

Charlie Haden


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Sonny Rollins 5/7/2000

Last night I heard Sonny Rollins -- really wonderful. He has a great sense of self but at his age and in terms of his contributions well-earned. He was also v. generous with his musicians, allowed them a lot of time. He was also v. generous with the audience in terms of the time he gave us. Great concert.


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Sphere, 5/7/2000

Named after Thelonius Monk's middle name, this band definitely honored the be-bop tradition. The concert was excellent but perhaps a little conservative. Even Monk's legacy which began in revolt against the big band tradition and tried to make space for artistic exploration, now sounds a little staid. The performance was flawless but perhaps a little uninspired despite the top quality of the music. This may be a little unfair to say since I really enjoyed the beautiful improvisations by the saxophonist (very smooth), pianist (the best!) and contrabassist (whose talent emerged later on in the concert). The percussionist played sensitively, but when he did solos, his renditions reminded me of Sesame Street's Gonzo the Great. Perhaps because of this, the band may have cut his solos short. He played with his gloves on (literally). Sphere started with a typical be-bop piece (lasting about 45 minutes) filled with an impressive display of virtuosity. It improved afterwards with more ensemble playing and members less obviously strutting their musical genius. When they ended the concert with an improv on " The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" and " A Nightlingale Sang in Barclay Square" , I came away feeling that I had witnessed a piece of American jazz history rather than a "happening" event.


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The Steve Lacey Quartet (Salles du Gesu) 3/7/2001

The Steve Lacey quartet put on a virtuoso performance at the Salle Gesu before an extremely appreciative audience: The set lasted 90 minutes including an encore and included pieces by dizzy gillespie and Lionel Hampton.
Steve Lacey's soprano saxophone plying was exemplary and restored my belief that the soprano sax is a wonderful jazz instrument. The pieces started with Steve or Steve and Georges lewis a superb trombonist paying a duet and then each member of the quartet would improvise on the opening theme of the piece. The brass solos were exceptional and the drum solos were equally impressive.
The Steve Lacey Quartet presented a wonderful evening of music for a highly appreciative audience.

Ronald Spivock

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Wayne Shorter Quartet  (Théâtre Maisonneuve) 1/7/2001

The great saxophonist Wayne Shorter played last night at the Théâtre Maisonneuve in the company of bassist John Patitucci, Brian Blade on drums and Danilo Perez on the piano.
From the very first second of the concert onwards the three musicians accompanying the amazing saxophonist were really into it and each played their instruments with lots of joy and energy, providing the audience with a real treat ! They somehow gave the i mpression of being more involved in the music than Shorter who seemed to be unsatisfied with his soprano sax. Undoubtedly the notes and rhythms that Shorter blew away into the night displayed a high level of professionalism. However, it was only after the intermission - during which the soprano sax quickly got a check up - that he also seemed to get joy out of performing. Indeed, after a couple of notes, he nodded in absolute satisfaction. It made the second half of the concert more energetic and more fun to listen to.
Drummer Brian Blade not only provided a lot of rhythm but also sonic texture using mallets, brushes, rim shots as well as his hands. His entire body was involved as he "danced" over his drums. The bass player John Patitucci equally seemed totally possessed by his instrument.
Although Shorter continues to demonstrate a high level of adeptness, he seemed a bit nonchalant and to be resting on his laurels by his attitude of not even addressing one single word to the audience and his very coldish stage presence.

Renate De Neve

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5 juillet, 2003

Tommy Emmanual m'a fait capote

The guitar work of Tommy Emmanual was a revelation and the highlight of the free concerts.  You must bring him back next year.
The guitarist for Rick L. Blues was also a pleasant surprise:  inventive, uncliched (not easy in the blues idiom), unsirtuosic (an underestimated virtue).
You should have someone from the press review the free concerts as well. Last year's Bauchklang was exceptional. Congrats,

Dave [back to top/ haut de page]

4 juillet, 2003 

L'aménagement du site est géniale, elle me permet de découvrir des coins de la ville qui m'étaient jusqu'alors inconnus, des artistes de la musique absolument sublimes, un esprit festif "gelé" le restant de l'année! 

      David & Nadia [back to top/ haut de page]

 4 juillet, 2003

Membre du Festival depuis une quinzaine d'années, j'ai assisté à des spectacles qui m'ont plus ou moins plu, ce qui est normal en raison des très nombreux "risques" que je prends. Dans l'ensemble,  je suis ravie de ce que vous m'offrez car je peux y exulter en écoutant mes artistes préférés ou y découvrir des perles. 
Le pot maintenant.  Hier soir, je suis allée voir Michael Bublé.  Ce concert faisait partie de ma carte de membre honoraire, et j'étais curieuse de juger par moi-même de cet engouement pour le jeune crooner.  Aucune surprise, je nai pas aimé ça.  Je suis toutefois consciente qu'il y a un large public pour ce genre de manifestation et j'accepte de bonne grâce que le Festival intègre sa programmation. 
Par contre, j'ai trouvé tout à fait insultant qu'on me présente en première partie deux "musiciens" très amateurs.  D'abord rien ne m'indiquait qu'il y aurait une première partie, source de contrariété qui s'est répétée pendant la semaine.  En effet, je passe un temps fou à planifier mon horaire afin de réduire au minimum les conflits, alors j'aimerais savoir à l'avance s'il y aura une vedette américaine.  Mais l'irritation n'était rien à côté de la médiocrité de la chanteuse.  Et que dire du pianiste qui se trompait constamment d'accord, qui perdait le rythme.  Pathétique.  Vous voulez
étirer la soirée pour vendre plus d'alcool?  Soit.  Mais de grâce, respectez le public et offrez-lui un minimum de qualité. 
Malgré cette mauvaise note, je vous remercie de la belle programmation de
2003.  J'ai déjà hâte à l'année prochaine!  Le jazz est si rare pendant l

Maryse Berger [back to top/ haut de page]

1 juillet, 2003 

Cette année je suis vraiment déçu de Radio Jazz Bell et j'aimerais bien qu'il soit ainsi moyen de le faire savoir aux commanditaires,  Bell et Dumoulin. On y gaspille des heures de belle écoute en nous ramonant les oreilles avec un fort % de music d' "after hour" style DJ quelque chose...  

Pierre Desroches, Montreal [back to top/ haut de page]

14 mai, 2003

Puis-je savoir pourquoi les billets pour voir un concert au théâtre Gesus, au Monument national et autres salles dont les sièges sont numérotés, ne sont pas vendus par siège mais bien par admission générale, c'est-à-dire premier arrivé, premier servi ?
Lorsque j'ai posé la question au guichet du théâtre Gesus, on ne comprenait pas votre politique, d'autant plus qu'il était plus facile pour eux de fonctionner par place réservée.
Merci pour votre organisation et tout le plaisir que les festivals m'apportent.

Norma Bakhos [back to top/ haut de page]

11 juillet, 2002 

Bonjour à toute l'équipe du FIJM.pour cette année, j'ai découvert 2 nouveaux groupes. Nathan and the zykedo chacha qui était tout simplement enlevant et aussi Billy Craig et le millenium jazz orchestra qui avait une présence sur scène qui me rappelle un peu Tom Jones et aussi le valentino orchestra (meme si je crois que l'orchestre des pas perdus a manqué un peu de savoir-vivre lorsqu'ils se sont mis à pratiquer en même temps que le valentino orchestra tellement qu'ils les enterrait!) mais au moins cette année la température était du bord du FIJM! Donc à l'en prochain et j'espère que les Costards seront invités en 2003! merci et bravo à toute l'équipe.

johanne [back to top/ haut de page]

5 juillet, 2002

Gloria [back to top/ haut de page]

3 juillet, 2002

Patrick Lavoie [back to top/ haut de page]

21 juin, 2002

I am interested in the ways new music is making its way. For me (free) jazz is one, electronics is two, and multimedia is three. I AM INTERESTED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE "MUSICAL GESTURE". Are you?
Congratulations with the program of this year's festival. It's overwhelming, like always. My question is: "Do you want to create new spaces and new sound routes for the future"?
What is your aim regarding the 3rd millennium? Continuing the 20th century, or creating new adventures and taking new risks?
Being one of the organisers of the European Sonic Acts Festival in Amsterdam, I am interested in new approaches, from crross-cultural, interdiscplinary and/or meta-media design perspectives.Are you? Please contact me if so.
With all best wishes.

Frans Evers [back to top/ haut de page]

De Tanisma [back to top/ haut de page]

14 juin, 2002

Depuis que je suis toute petite.. je vois les annonces du Festival à la télé.. et je revais d'y aller.Malheureusement étant native du Lac - St - Jean et n'ayant pas les moyens de venir à Montréal pour ouvrir mes oreilles.. je me suis dit qu'un jour j'allais enfin voir ce Festival que tout le monde parle.. internationalement..
Et ce jour est enfin arrivé! Déménagée depuis peu sur la Rive - Nord, j'ai décidé de passer quelques journées à m'enrichir le cerveau de nouvelles notes..
Mon rêve va enfin se réaliser..Drôle de reve quand même.. pour certains qui ont toujours eu ce merveilleux Festival à leurs portée.. Mais pour une p'tite fille qui a 7 ans jouait déjà du contemporain sur son piano.. rendue à 23 ans qui peut enfin se permettre de crier qu'elle va aller au Festival cette année.. Pour moi c'est déjà énorme.
Merci au Festival de me permettre enfin d'aller apprécier ce que j'aime le plus au monde.. la Musique.
Aussi.. je suis très heureuse d'apprendre qu'un band du Lac - St - Jean, Le Dixieband, que je connaissais d'avance, va faire des prestations au Festival..
Dans le fond.. le Lac - St - Jean.. c'est peut - être un peu.. loin.. mais on y sort de joyeux talents!

LibertaD :)[back to top/ haut de page]

8 mai, 2002

Merci d'avance

A. Marquette [back to top/ haut de page]

juillet, 2001

Variety is certainly a mark of Montreal's Jazz festival. For example, these three shows: the American trumpeter Roy Hargrove's Special Trio (July 5), Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava (July 4-7), and Canadian drummer Guy Nadon (July 7).
Hargrove, along with Christian McBride on Bass and Russell Malone on guitar, is contemporary American Jazz at its best, combining instrumental virtuosity with an ease in styles ranging from blues to swing to bop to jazz-rock, soul-jazz and modal, all traversed, at times, in a single tune. 
Rava, on the other hand, improvises lyrically on themes by film writer Nino Rota and on his own pieces. The blues is not a prominent aspect of his style, and the time feel is more tarantella than swing...yet, there is the excitement and sense of adventure of jazz.
What is Canadian jazz? Well, Guy Nadon's big band is an example. A somewhat backward looking, somewhat self-deprecating, but humorous and idiosyncratic take on standards marks Nadon's style...especially his chart writing. The blues is prominent, as is a reliance on the tried and true swing, latin, and waltz rhythms of jazz of the past. Reactionary? Maybe. Spirited? Indeed.

Paul Serralheiro [back to top/ haut de page]

Amar Belarbi [back to top/ haut de page]

I thoroughly enjoyed the festival again this year. The atmosphere of all the outside venus is enthralling. I just never get tired of "La Louisiane" sound and I also spent quite a bit of time at the "Scene: Banque Nationale." I usually ended the evenings listening to all the great blues at the "Scene: Labatt Blues."

I was able to attend four of the indoor shows and include my humble words here:

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Winton Marsalis

Loved all the brass. The tribute to John Lewis was touching. The informal approach to the first piece after the intermission (I can't remember the name) with only part of the orchestra members was great. Marsalis was very down to earth with his comments towards the members of the audience who had written to him.

George Benson

A little too much synthesizer. It really is amazing how versatile a performer he is. Not only is he a fantastic guitar player, but also has a great singing voice. He is a very animated entertainer on stage (as are the members of his band). He relates very well with the audience. He played a wonderful version of Take Five!

Oscar Peterson

We knew we were witnessing the final moments of a jazz legend. The piano genius is still there for us to marvel at. However, it was sad to watch the crippled walk, the lack of use of the left hand and the tired look on his face. He also gave a nice tribute to Moe Koffman and John Lewis.

Enrico Rava

Salle Gesu is a nice intimate hall for this kind of show. Wonderful atmosphere. The music was not as mainstream as the other three shows, but still very good. Liked the bebop. It is the first time that I have seen the guitar played as a percussion instrument.

Thanks for the memories.

Steve Babb [back to top/ haut de page]

Lisa Lanier Allen Keller [back to top/ haut de page]

juillet, 2000

Martin Ferreira [back to top/ haut de page]

La parade de la louisianne avec le groupe "The new birth brass band" était extraordinaire. Ca te donne envie de danser et surtout de t'amuser. Ils m'ont donné envie d'aller en Louisianne. Les costumes aussi sont très beau, et j"adore la musique. En France aussi on aime beaucoup les musiques "noires", le jazz, le blues, les rythmes latinos, africains, etc.

Julie [back to top/ haut de page]

Emery Moore [back to top/ haut de page]

Je comprends que les organisateurs voulaient, cette anneé, redonner une image plus 'jeune', plus 'branchée' du Festival. Sauf qu' avec la programmation de cette année, on attire peut-être les branchés, mais on fait fuir les habitués. J'adore cette ville, et j'adore ce festival. Je ne veux pas le voir disparaître tout simplement parce que le jazz n'est plus à la mode. S'il vous plaît, l'an prochain, ramenez le Jazz à Montréal...c'est son âme.

Anne-Marie Rivard [back to top/ haut de page]

Here are some of my high and low-lights of the Montreal jazz fest. Hands down winner in my books was the Dave Holland quintet. The smoothness of the bass, the raw energy of the rhythms and the ambience of Monument National will reverberate in my head for a while. Most definitely, for lack of originality, and arrogance, the prize goes to 1+1 concert of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. As one critic pointed out, this time 1+1 was equal to 0. Al Di Meola with his collaboration with Argentinian musicians was a delightful surprise. Another surprise for me was Steve Tibbetts and his percussionist Marc Anderson. It was a nice to see a concert where the percussionist was the Star. Thats all. see you next year

Gopal Subramaniam [back to top/ haut de page]