Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

11

2013 Montreal Jazz Festival: June 28-July 2, 2013

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Montréal, Canada
June 28-July 7, 2013
After taking a year off to curate an All About Jazz Presents: Doing It Norway at Norway's 2012 Kongsberg Jazz Festival, it was great to return to the city that hosts what must surely be the largest jazz festival in the world. Where else can an artist like Stevie Wonder open up the festival with an outdoor Grand Spectacle, in front of nearly a quarter of a million people? Or guitarist Pat Metheny finish his world tour in support of Pat Metheny's last record, 2005's The Way Up (Nonesuch) with a powerhouse outdoor show in front of over 125,000? The answer is? Only in Montréal, Canada, the city that, for the duration of its annual jazz festival, closes off six square blocks of the downtown core and turns it into a place where, whether you're there for a day, a weekend or a week, it's like living in a jazz bubble; everything that's needed is right there, within easy walking distance—hotels, restaurants and indoor ticketed venues, while the numerous outdoor stages provide additional world class performances, free of charge. In fact, while plenty of people from around the world make Montréal an annual destination for the breadth of artists who, sometimes, put on events that can only be seen in Montréal in ticketed venues—ranging from the multi-room Place des Arts to more intimate spots like L'Astral, the club situated in the festival's Maison du Festival that opened during the festival's 30th anniversary in 2009, or Gésu, a room that's seen everyone from Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjornstad and guitarist Eivind Aarset (together and individually) to American guitarist Bill Frisell—there are those who come to the festival solely for the outdoor events, and walk away equally happy.

This year's line-up was, as ever, representative of the broadest possible purview that jazz has to offer. Celebrating its own anniversary this year, the By Invitation series opened with a tremendous three-night run by saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Three outstanding shows brought his current quartet, last heard on Athens Concert (ECM, 2011); his more improv-heavy trio with drummer Eric Harland and tabla master Zakir Hussain, responsible for 2006's remarkable Sangam (ECM); and an evening of duos and trios featuring Lloyd Quartet pianist Jason Moran—documented as a duo for the first time this year on Hagar's Song (ECM, 2013) and a first-time encounter with guitarist Bill Frisell, who'd delivered his own solo performance at L'Astral the prior evening.

Pianist Vijay Iyer was the festival's second invitée, but with so many venues, so many choices, it's impossible to cover even a small percentage of the 800 concerts taking over the festival's 10-day run. Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel's New Quartet performance overlaps with pianist Steve Kuhn's outstanding trio with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joey Baron (who gave the 2013 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival one of its best shows of the year just a few days earlier); Lloyd's Sangam show intersected with a spectacular 80th birthday celebration for saxophonist Wayne Shorter, that included, in addition to his now 13 year-old quartet, performances by Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano's Shorter-inspired Sound Prints group (which also gave a knockout performance in Ottawa last year) and Trio ACS, a new constellation with pianist Geri Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Esperanza Spalding will have to decide between one guitarist/vocalist and another, Boz Scaggs, who performed just a few hundred meters away in another of Place des Arts' beautiful theaters.



It's also a treat to see all the construction taking place on Rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, when last visiting FIJM in 2011, largely completed, too. Two years ago, the street was completely torn up, making it difficult to get from one side to the other—not a problem for those who knew that there was an indoor tunnel from the shopping mall abutting the Hyatt Regency Hotel that goes directly into Place des Arts, but still something that disrupted the jazz bubble that year. Now, with work mostly done, the whole outdoor festival area is back to being a beautiful place to hang between shows, where, along with the free shows at the outdoor stages, it's possible to see mimes, brass bands parading down the street, and so much more. The first day of the festival may have been marred by some heavy rain, but the clouds began to lift on the second and, by the third day, the weather had returned to the sunny, warm summer climate that's always made this the perfect time of year for a visit to FIJM.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms Live Reviews Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms
by Martin Longley
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook Live Reviews Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Little Feat at the Paramount" Live Reviews Little Feat at the Paramount
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Miles From India at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Miles From India at SFJAZZ
by Walter Atkins
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Amadou & Mariam At Stern Grove" Live Reviews Amadou & Mariam At Stern Grove
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "The Comet Is Coming at Black Box" Live Reviews The Comet Is Coming at Black Box
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 8, 2017