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Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2017

John Kelman By

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Those of a superficial mindset might compare some aspects of this music to Pat Metheny's Brazilian period, beginning with 1984's First Circle (ECM) through to The Road to You: Live in Europe (Geffen, 1993)—and there's no doubt that, in his very earliest days, the influence of the older guitarist loomed large over Rosenwinkel. Still, that's long since been subsumed within his increasingly personal, instantly recognizable approach. Rosenwinkel has, especially since his Verve debut The Enemies of Energy (2000) and 2001 follow-up The Next Step, asserted his own style, one which has become as influential to the next generation(s) of guitarists as Metheny was on his own.

It was a set that may have been a radical departure for Rosenwinkel but, based on the enthusiastic responses he received after each and every song and the clear disappointment when, after "Little B," a set-closer that built to a transcendent climax and conclusion, it was clear that no matter how loudly the crowd applauded—no matter how much they hooted and hollered—there was to be no encore, Rosenwinkel and his Caipi band's performance ended on the perfect note, leaving the audience hungry for more as they moved en masse to the merchandise table to pick up copies of the album.

With a performance this unexpected yet this strong, where Caipi goes, beyond the new material, has yet to be seen. But based on this show, it will be something well worth following; as strong as this set was, with the group well-honed after a Canadian tour, it can only get even better.

With King Crimson coming up on July 3 and then moving on to Toronto for the band's July 5 gig—reviews of both shows appearing in Part 2 of this coverage—in the meantime, as ever, it was a total pleasure to be at Le Festival International de Jazz de Montréal for another year. From a press room staff that truly made every journalist feel, when dealing with them, that they were the only one in town to the volunteers who kept the streets remarkably immaculate, the FIJM staff really knows how to make an event this size a truly warm and welcoming experience. Returning next year is a given.

Meanwhile, off to Toronto...and a second night of Crimson. More to come...

Photo Credit: Dave Kaufman

Part 1 | Part 2

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