33rd Edition of Festival International de Jazz de Montréal


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Once again, it is clear that quality and diversity will reign supreme at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, as we prepare to celebrate a 33rd edition. Fans can already start filling in their summer calendars with some of the greatest names on Planet Jazz, discover flamenco from a new perspective, take a musical trip to Brazil, return to electro-new age England or thrill to the return of a marvelous Italian voice. It's musical happiness at your fingertips! Tickets for these concerts wenton sale Saturday December 10 at noon.

A funk evening with Esperanza Spalding and her Radio Music Society—June 29, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes series)—With her ample talent and beauty, singer, double bassist and composer Esperanza Spalding instantly found herself ranked among the darlings of this Festival... and the entire world, as amply attested by her 2010 Grammy for Best New Artist-the first time the award had gone to a jazz musician in 35 years. After wowing us as a jazz soloist and with a string trio, she returns with her new album, Radio Music Society, and an utterly surprising left-turn into... funk! Every Esperanza concert announcement is an event, but this time, we're literally salivating over the opportunity to discover this new facet of her inestimable talent! And best of all, we know we'll have room to dance to it in Métropolis!

Wayne Shorter Quartet—June 29, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)—Ever since his very first visit to the Festival in 1981 (then only in its 2nd edition) with Weather Report, the group he founded, Wayne Shorter has been intimately linked to the history of the world's biggest jazz festival (which presented him with the Miles Davis Award in 1996)... and to jazz, period. Perhaps the greatest living composer in jazz, with a career spanning over 40 years of adorning jazz with his playing and voracious musical appetite, the saxophonist and virtuoso improviser has long since established himself as a great among greats—and one we can't wait to welcome back, accompanied by his faithful collaborators, Brian Blade, John Patitucci and Danilo Pérez.

Eliane Elias Brasileira Quartet—June 30, 6 p.m., Club Soda (Jazz Beat Hyatt Regency Montréal series)—After charming us in 2009 with Bossa Nova Stories, a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the genre, the undeniably talented jazz pianist and singer returns, this time bringing us Light My Fire, a romantic album of covers by The Doors, of course, but also Gilberto Gil, Stevie Wonder and even Take Five by Dave Brubeck. As sensual as ever, the Brazilian native and longtime New York resident is enjoying the best response any of her albums has ever received. One listen and you'll understand why. We simply cannot wait to hear it live!

Tangerine Dream—June 30, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series)—Now this truly merits the term “special event": 45 years after their formation, this legendary German group takes the stage in a Festival premiere! Widely considered the pioneers of electronic music, Tangerine Dream has gone through an infinite and mysterious amount of line-up shifts over the decades, with the sole true constant being founding guitarist Edgar Froese... and the band's resounding success! With their exceptional longevity, voluminous discography-27 million sold worldwide-and impressive array of soundtracks for film and TV, this iconic band's Festival show is a Dream come true!

CéU—June 30, 10 p.m., Club Soda (Couleurs SAQ series)—Possibly the hottest Brazilian artist in recent years, CéU quite simply causes a sensation everywhere she goes. The world music revelation of 2006 in Europe and America-the year she first visited the Festival-young Brazilian singer-songwriter CéU has since proven herself among the finest of the new generation of Brazilian musicians. And after a six-year absence, it was high time she returned to visit us again with her poetry, hot rhythms rolling between samba, electro-jazz and Afrobeat, beauty and pure musical pleasure! After all, CéU is Portuguese for both “sky" and..."heaven"!

Chris Botti—July 1, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)—We knew he'd be with us this summer... we just didn't know the format! This fabulous American trumpeter has a gift for surprising us at every turn. Whether as a solo artist, as part of a tribute to Paul Simon or an orchestra, playing jazz, classical or (especially Italian) pop, alone or with the likes of Paul Simon, Sting, Michael Buble or Andrea Bocelli, this most romantic of trumpeters has audiences swooning. At the very least, we know he'll have an album out in the spring (a series of duets with major names, apparently) and therefore, new pieces for this upcoming Festival concert!

Get The Blessing—July 1, 10:30 p.m., Gesù—Centre de créativité (Jazz dans la nuit series)—Get the Blessing is the absolute buzz band of the moment! Four devoted practitioners of jazz and rock, including two members of the Portishead family (bassist Jim Barr and drummer Clive Deamer), a shower of much-coveted awards from the release of their debut album (including Jazz Album of the Year, according to the BBC) and, above all, a sound from somewhere else. It is a sound that recalls the 1980s, but also folds in lounge, pop, rock and of course jazz, and plenty of improv, performed by musicians dressed to the nines who occasionally also wear brown paper bags on their heads... all of which adequately conveys the idea that we're talking about a band that defies categorization. Let's just say that Get The Blessing is a formidably droll beat machine as precise as it is chaotic, joyously breaking down barriers and inventing a new, diabolically refreshing sound. “The new heroes of the UK jazz scene" raved the London Metro. We couldn't agree more!

An evening with Van der Graaf Generator—July 3, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)—Well, it was to be expected: after successive appearances by the band's leader (Jazz All-Year Round 2008) and the group itself, at the Festival the following year, we were sure to get hooked... Done deal-so thank heavens we'll have this marvelous opportunity to spend a full evening with these pioneers in British psychedelia, led by the versatile and atypical Peter Hammill. Over 40 years and 20 albums into their career, the English band has managed to maintain its mysterious aura and magical onstage presence, sometimes flirting with musical chaos, delivering nothing short of onstage unpredictability and excitement! A highly anticipated return-along with a new album!

Strunz & Farah—July 3, 10 p.m., Club Soda (Couleurs SAQ series)—Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah, the harmonious pairing of musicians from Costa Rica and Iran, respectively, return to take us on nothing less than a Journey Around the Sun! The album, released this past March, is in fact a megadose of healthy solar energy, a musical tapestry woven from jazz, flamenco and Latin and Middle Eastern influences, all of it played to perfection on two acoustic guitars, with all the passion that conquered the crowd when they headlined one of our major outdoor events in 1994. A musical love affair renewed with each and every visit.

Gianmaria Testa, Vitamia—July 4, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)—If we leave out the performance he delivered with his compatriots in the unforgettable tribute to Ferré at the Festival, it has already been seven years since Mr. Testa took to one of our summer stages. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, it's doubly true in the case of this Italian singer-guitarist, who's left us wanting more in the 5 years since the release of his last album. Finally, here's his latest, Vitamia (My Life), an artistic statement in measuring life in days instead of years. It's a change in perspective, then, but rendered with the same wonderful voice, the same high-quality collaborators, the same sorrow and poignant warmth. Prepare for an encounter with emotion, with musical life... in 210 days.

Dorantes, Renaud Garcia-Fons and Theodosii Spassov, Free Flamenco Trio—July 7, 7 p.m., Maison symphonique de Montréal—Spain's David Peña Dorantes (piano)-who caused a sensation at the TNM two years ago-French Catalonian Renaud Garcia-Fons (double bass), Bulgarian Theodosii Spassov (on kaval, the Bulgarian flute you'd swear had been specially created for flamenco), and, as a special treat, percussionist Tete Peña-have poured their passion into a freer approach to flamenco. But take note: not free in the sense of the musical whatever attempted by some musicians; rather, a musical libertad that calls for abolishing constraints, drawing inspiration from the older generation, the very essence of flamenco. As an added pleasure, the evening will open with the formidable Renaud Garcia-Fons, solo. We're already trembling with anticipation at the idea of hearing all this in the magical acoustics of the Maison symphonique...Tickets already on sale

Flamenco Hoy by Carlos Saura—June 27 to July 1, 6 p.m. (7:30 p.m. for the June 27 premiere), Théâtre Maisonneuve—A tableau of living paintings? A musical fresco? A... film? Flamenco Hoy by renowned filmmaker Carlos Saura transforms flamenco into living images onstage, via the masterful eye of a cinematic genius. The spectacle, with its mind-boggling dancing, dynamic music and poignant vocals, stars twenty absolutely passionate artists from the new generation of Spanish flamenco, executing the intoxicating choreography of Rafael Estévez and Nani Paños, under the musical direction of flamenco piano master Chano Dominguez. A dazzling journey into the very heart of today's contemporary Andalusian flamenco! Tickets go on sale Saturday, December 10 at noon

Tickets for these concerts go on sale Saturday, December 10 at noon and will be available from the Métropolis box office (59 Ste. Catherine St. E.), or from Admission and Ticketmaster (admission.com and ticketmaster.ca, 1 855 7901245), excluding those concerts presented at Place des Arts (175 Ste. Catherine W.), which will be available at 514 8422112, at 1 866 8422112 or at laplacedesarts.com and at Club Soda (1225 Saint-Laurent Blvd., clubsoda.ca or 514 286-1010)

To get the jump on the crowd, sign up for the Spectra Newsletter and have the scoop on the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal emailed to your inbox. For further information, call the Info-Jazz Line at 514 8711881, toll-free at 1 85JAZZFEST, or visit montrealjazzfest.com.

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