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Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2014

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2014
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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Ambrose Akinmusire By Invitation
Tigran By Invitation
Tord Gustavsen Quartet / Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana, Mehliana
June 26-July 6, 2014

There simply isn't a festival in the world like the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Where else in the world can you find a city where, with a population of well over 1.5 million people, six square blocks are closed down for the entire duration of the festival—in this year's case 11 full days running from June 26 to July 6, 2014? Where can you find a festival that, with six outdoor stages putting on free performances from mid-afternoon until early morning, you can catch some truly world class acts like Partisans
Partisans
Partisans
b.1996
band/orchestra
or Rob Mosher
Rob Mosher
Rob Mosher

sax, soprano
without paying a penny? Or have the pick of thirteen different ticketed indoor venues where an even broader cross-section of some of the best jazz, blues and world music can be found?

For its 35th edition, FIJM had one of its best overall rosters in recent years. With three By Invitation series guests including Harry Manx, Ambrose Akinmusire
Ambrose Akinmusire
Ambrose Akinmusire
b.1982
trumpet
and Tigran Hamasyan, there was the chance to see these largely up-and-comers in some remarkable contexts, like Akinmusire in duet with guitarist Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
b.1951
guitar
(taking a day off from his own tour of Guitar in the Space Age, seen just a few evenings prior at the 2014 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival); Tigran in duet with pianist Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano
; and Manx playing with everyone from eight-string wizard Charlie Hunter
Charlie Hunter
Charlie Hunter

guitar, 8-string
to Kevin Breit and David Lindley.

Large scale shows featured a terrific mix of performers this year as well. Singers including Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson
b.1955
vocalist
, Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
b.1956
vocalist
and Stacey Kent
Stacey Kent
Stacey Kent
b.1968
vocalist
shared the Place des Arts Théâtre Maissonneuve with Ginger Baker
Ginger Baker
Ginger Baker
b.1939
drums
's Jazz Confusion, festival stalwart Marcus Miller
Marcus Miller
Marcus Miller
b.1959
bass, electric
, Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard
b.1962
trumpet
and Oliver Jones
Oliver Jones
Oliver Jones
b.1934
piano
, amongst others; while at PDA's recently opened Maison Symphonique de Montréal it was possible to catch everyone from the mercurial but marvelous Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
and singer/songwriter Elvis Costello to Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin
b.1950
vocalist
and Brad Mehldau solo. With Mehldau making a number of appearances at this year's FIJM, he also delivered his recent electronica-informed Mehliana (Nonesuch, 2014), with drummer Mark Guiliana; pianist Fred Hersch
Fred Hersch
Fred Hersch
b.1955
piano
, the Heath Brothers, Ben Sidran
Ben Sidran
Ben Sidran
b.1943
piano
and Peter Bernstein
Peter Bernstein
Peter Bernstein
b.1967
guitar
all had two-night residencies at the city's longstanding Upstairs Club; Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
b.1926
vocalist
, Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

vocalist
, Diana Ross and B.B. King
B.B. King
B.B. King
b.1925
guitar, electric
were all performing at PDA's large-scale Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier; while, earlier in the week, Canada's own Daniel Lanois
Daniel Lanois
Daniel Lanois
b.1951
guitar
, blues legend Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper, Pink Martini and soul-meisters Earth, Wind & Fire all performed at the same venue.

A truly international festival, up-and-comers and/or talent deserving wider recognition were represented by Israel's Shai Maestro, France's Baptiste Trotignon and American bassist Charnett Moffett
Charnett Moffett
Charnett Moffett
b.1967
bass
, all joining Mehliana and others at the festival's own L'Astral club, situated on the ground floor of the Maison du Festival that was opened five years ago at FIJM's 30th anniversary edition; sublime Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen
Tord Gustavsen
Tord Gustavsen
b.1970
piano
shared PDA's Théâtre-Duceppe with incendiary saxophonist Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
b.1960
sax, alto
, Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
's remarkable Us Five group and trumpeter Tom Harrell
Tom Harrell
Tom Harrell
b.1946
trumpet
's beautiful Colors of a Dream (HighNote, 2013) project; while the late night Jazz Dans La Nuit series, back at the Gésu—Centre de Créativité venue that also hosted the By Invitation series earlier each evening, brought a variety of its own, ranging from saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
b.1971
sax, alto
's Gamak group, the Now This trio featuring Gary Peacock
Gary Peacock
Gary Peacock
b.1935
bass
, pianist Marc Copland
Marc Copland
Marc Copland
b.1948
piano
and drummer Joey Baron
Joey Baron
Joey Baron
b.1955
drums
, and Jeff Ballard
Jeff Ballard
Jeff Ballard
b.1963
drums
Trio, to the Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
b.1972
bass
Trio, Dr. Lonnie Smith
Dr. Lonnie Smith
Dr. Lonnie Smith
b.1942
organ, Hammond B3
Octet, Monty Alexander
Monty Alexander
Monty Alexander
b.1944
piano
and Felix Pastorius .

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