Even More Surprises!


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Seal, Patrick Watson, Patricia Barber & Kenny Werner Duo, Emir Kusturica, Timber Timbre, Tord Gustavsen in four Invitation series concerts, as well as stage musical The Rat Pack Is Back! and the must-see Battle of the Bands with The Duke Ellington Orchestra vs The Count Basie Orchestra Tickets on sale Friday at noon. Exclusive pre-sale for Spectra Newsletter subscribers: starts tomorrow!

Montreal, Tuesday, March 13, 2012—Organizers of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan are proud to unveil these new names in the program of the 33rd edition, running June 28 to July 7, adding yet more wonderful surprises to a program already packed with them. Once again, you'll find a refreshing diversity, guaranteed to satisfy devotees of every genre. Tickets for these concerts go on sale Friday, March 16 at noon... although Spectra Newsletter subscribers can buy them starting tomorrow upon reception of their latest issue of the newsletter, and exclusively until Thursday at 6 p.m.

Patricia Barber & Kenny Werner Duo—June 29, 7 p.m., Maison symphonique de Montréal—This fascinating face-à-face between renowned singer and pianist Patricia Barber (returning three years after her tribute to Cole Porter) and erudite pianist Kenny Werner (hailed for his solo performance last year) would be an event in and of itself. Add in that it's a Canadian exclusive, hosted in the Maison symphonique, and you've got pure, prestigious pianistic pleasure. Two proximate pianos, four felicitous hands, one smooth voice... in one concert that promises to be both playful and passionate.

Patrick Watson—July 4, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series)—Our Patrick Watson has come a long way since his first appearance at the Festival, in 2005, when he opened for John Cale in the Spectrum. Four years later, his remarkable musical trajectory landed him on the Place des Festivals for an unforgettable Grand événement featuring star turns by Lhasa and Guy Nadon. This time, the Montrealer settles into the prestigious Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier with a new 4th album, Adventures In Your Own Backyard. It's elementary, dear Watson.

Emir Kusturica—July 5, 6 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes series)—Two years after their electrifying outdoor performance on the Place des Festivals, Serbian filmmaker-actor-musician-composer-producer Emir Kusturica (Underground, Black Cat, White Cat...) and his formidable No Smoking Orchestra return to make us kick up our heels... and clink our glasses. This time, the mad lads pack into Métropolis with their wild gypsy/electro/rock rhythms. And what a privilege: Montreal is, in fact, the sole North American stop this summer by our fave globetrotting Emir!

Seal. Opening act: Macy Gray—July 6, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series)—A multi-platinum selling, award winning artist, Seal is one of the most prominent singers on Planet Pop. His hits over the past two decades have showcased his versatility in all music genres including pop, rock, dance, soul and RnB. In his first visit to the Festival, this globally known artist brings us his latest, Soul 2, a second collection of soul classics (the first hit the charts in 2008) packed with songs launched into the music firmament by such masters as Marvin Gaye (What's Going On?) and Al Green (Let's Stay Together). Class incarnate. The evening opens with yet more soul from singer and actress Macy Gray, the unforgettable voice behind mega-hit I Try.

Timber Timbre—July 6, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)—Timber Timbre weaves a blend of folk, pop, blues and doo-wop of strange beauty. With their most recent album, the spectral Creep On Creepin' On, singer and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Kirk conjures a young Leonard Cohen if he'd been dropped into an episode of Twin Peaks. You get the idea. After having handled opening sets for Feist on her American tour, the Montreal-based trio creeps into the Festival for the very first time. Prepare to be spellbound.

The Rat Pack Is Back!—July 7, 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)—Now strollin' and finger-poppin' into the Festival after having conquered MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, it's the show that's toured the world... and has enjoyed a 13-year Las Vegas run! The North American troupe has taken joyful precision in faithfully recreating the famed shows by the quartet-Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and Joey Bishop-in the 1960s. The magisterial songs, the comic skits and a 12-piece orchestra transport us back to the Vegas of the era, a larger-than-life ring-a-ding-ding from Come Fly With Me to That's Amore to Mr. Bojangles and more!

Battle of the Bands: The Duke Ellington Orchestra vs. The Count Basie Orchestra—July 8, 2 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series)—It's a guaranteed red-carpet trip down memory lane with this unique spectacle taking us all back to the era of the great ballrooms of New York City in the late 1930s! This 5th edition of the Battle of the Bands faces off two legendary groups facing one another for the very first time: on our left, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, conducted by Paul Mercer Ellington (Duke's grandson). On our right, conducted by Bill Hughes, the Count Basie Orchestra. And first and foremost, the music! Invitation TD series

Tord Gustavsen Ensemble with Tore Brunborg, Mats Eilertsen and Jarle Vespestad—July 4, 6 p.m., Gesù—Centre de créativité—Returning after his sold-out concert at the Festival in 2010, Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen treats us to 4 performances as part of this year's Invitation series. For his first performance, he unfurls re-readings of some of his compositions and introduces us to his most recent opus, The Well, just released by ECM. Gustavsen performs with saxophonist Tore Brunborg, bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad, his faithful road companions for the past three years.

Tord Gustavsen Trio with Håkon Kornstad and Jarle Vespestad—July 5, 6 p.m., Gesù—Centre de créativité—In his 4th participation in the Festival, Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen receives a musical carte blanche. For his 2nd rendez-vous in the Invitation series, the Norwegian pianist shares the stage with two redoubtable Nordic countrymen whose reputations are assured: brilliant saxophonist and composer Håkon Kornstad is one of the most sought-after reedmen on the new Norwegian jazz scene; and loyal drummer Jarle Vespestad has kept time with Gustavsen for almost 10 years. Together, these three brilliant artists create a sensual contemporary jazz, dedicated to free improvisation and melodic exploration. A musical aurura borealis.

Tord Gustavsen Solo—July 6, 6 p.m., Gesù—Centre de créativité—One of the leading musicians on the Norwegian jazz scene (whose star burns no less brightly internationally), pianist Tord Gustavsen is more accustomed to working in a trio or quartet. In this 3rd of 4 performances in the Invitation series, he performs solo at his piano. It's a very rare opportunity to see and hear this dedicated improviser in intimate dialogue with his instrument. On the program: jazz standards, original compositions and pieces borrowed from rich Scandinavian folklore.

Tord Gustavsen with Solveig Slettahjell—July 7, 6 p.m., Gesù—Centre de créativité—In his 4th and final Invitation evening, Tord Gustavsen introduces us to another artist from his native Norway, popular singer Solveig Slettahjell, a successful, seductive jazz vocalist for the past decade who's also made the odd incursion into pop terrain. Together, Gustavsen and Slettahjell have already collaborated on a Christmas disc recorded in a church in Bethlehem. In that spirit, they'll interpret spiritual airs from different traditions and revisit their own material. An intimate rendez-vous with musical subtlety and finesse.

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This story appears courtesy of Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.
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