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Festival International De Jazz De Montréal 2018: Part 2

Mark Sullivan By

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2018 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Various Venues
Montréal, Canada
July 3-7, 2018

It is always a pleasure to return to Montréal for the festival. This is only my third year, which makes me a relative newcomer; many of the journalists I have met have been regulars for ten or twenty years. But I have always felt welcome, and experienced hands have freely shared their knowledge with me. I suspect that this edition will be long remembered for its challenging weather. It was in the 90s all week, with a heat index approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat wave finally ended on Friday, making it much more comfortable to be outdoors. It was strange to see attendees wearing jackets in the evening!

The heat had the most impact on the free outdoor stages and street food vendors, although the crowds seemed normal (large!) to me. The high-profile acts—jazz and otherwise—all performed in air-conditioned theaters, where the outside temperature only affected audiences coming and going. According to the festival organizers at the wrap-up press conference, attendance was lower during the afternoons of the heat wave, but went up in the evening, effectively balancing out the total attendance numbers.

July 3: Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band / SHPIK

Montréal's SHPIK took the stage immediately after being presented with the TD Grand Jazz Award, complete with a Commerce Clearing House-style giant check. Pianist/composer Arnaud Spick-Saucier (who accepted the award onstage) was joined by double bassist Etienne Dextraze, drummer Philippe Lussier-Baillargeon and saxophonist/flutist/soundscaper Alex Dodier. This was clearly a real band, albeit one with the pianist in the leadership role. They even had a band logo hung above the stage.

Their music was impressionistic, in the ECM mold, recalling someone like Tord Gustavsen. Dodier barely functioned as a jazz horn soloist at all, emphasizing electronic modification and looping; much of the time his contributions brought to mind soundscapers like Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset more than other horn players. So the total sound was like a contemporary piano trio with electronics. Dodier's parts were frequently in the background as atmospherics, but he occasionally was in the foreground. One piece featured a looped flute interlude, and concluded with a soundscape of wordless vocals. The overall audience response was lukewarm, but the band did succeed in getting the crowd to clap along to the final piece, built around Spick-Saucier's manic rhythmic piano part.

The audience was clearly there for drummer Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band (in fact, many had apparently not even noticed that there would be an opening band in the festival program), and they were not disappointed. I have been fortunate to hear Blade in a number of live settings, including Chick Corea and John McLaughlin's Five Peace Band; the Chick Corea Trio (here in Montreal in 2016); the Wayne Shorter Quartet; the tribute band Still Dreaming (Montreal, 2017) and the John Patitucci Electric Guitar Quartet. In all of those settings Blade brought energy, excitement and unpredictability to the table. Along with unbridled joy; I can think of no other musician who looks so happy to be making music when onstage. It always makes me happy just to watch him. I'm also a fan of the Fellowship Band recordings, but this was my first opportunity to hear them live.

The group was very guitar-oriented in the beginning, including both electric guitar and pedal steel. But, while there was a guitarist (Dave Devine) on their most recent album Body And Shadow (Blue Note, 2017), the role has become far less central. So this guitar-less quintet never sounded less than complete, all of the parts covered and performed with verve. Even without a guitar the sound tends to have a traditional, folk music-like atmosphere. Their recordings are often quite succinct. In performance they took the opportunity to stretch things a bit, but not dramatically so. They were a powerful group of improvisers individually, but collectively there was an emphasis on composition rather than blowing.

Pianist Jon Cowherd played a few beautiful, expansive solos, and it was always memorable when the band pared down to the rhythm section as a piano trio. He also took to the harmonium for the traditional song "Shenandoah," from Landmarks (Blue Note, 2014). The arrangement runs just under two minutes long on record, but Cowherd's contemplative introduction alone was longer than that, before being joined by the horns for a glorious reed sound. "Farewell Bluebird," also from Landmarks, was an absolutely electrifying performance. It demonstrated all of the band's strengths: an unaccompanied opening by Blade, using brushes; a feature for the rhythm section; and a powerful demonstration of dynamics when the horns re-entered. Then Myron Walden's testifying alto saxophone solo lifted the energy level to another plane. Tenor saxophonist Melvin Butler didn't even try to match Walden's intensity, instead going a reflective route for his solo, which was just as satisfying in its own way.

For an encore, Blade announced the lullaby "Friends Call Her Dot," again from Landmarks. It was a calm, mostly through-composed way of winding down for the night, and a wonderful first experience hearing the band live. I look forward to many more.

July 4: Renee Rosnes / Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain & Chris Potter Trio / Theo Croker

Canadian pianist/composer Renee Rosnes was presented with the festival's 2018 Oscar Peterson Award (which recognizes a performer's musicianship and exceptional contribution to the development of Canadian jazz) onstage, just before her opening set in a double bill with the Trio. The first thing she did was introduce her band mates: drummer Lenny White; bassist Robert Hurst; and vibraphonist Steve Nelson. They began the program with "Elephant Dust," from her recent Beloved of the Sky (Smoke Sessions, 2018)—a much faster tune than anything with the word "elephant" in the title should be.

The set list also drew from Written in the Rocks (Smoke Sessions, 2016), beginning with the 6/8 modal swing of "Lucy From Afar." The performance included a lovely piano/vibes breakdown and a humorous double bass tag to end the piece. "From Here to a Star," from the same album, shifted to a deliberate, moderate tempo, with space for a virtuosic solo from Hurst and a section with the entire band trading fours. "Beloved of the Sky" was an impressionistic, sectional composition to end the set. It included a blazing vibraphone solo from Nelson and a memorable drum solo from White (accompanied by an ostinato pattern from the rest of the band). This was a veteran group of musicians, and they delivered their usual high playing standard in service of Rosnes' music—a most fitting sequel to the award presentation.

Another award presentation onstage preceded the next act. Percussionist Zakir Hussain was given the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award (which honors artists distinguished in the field of world music and whose influence on the evolution of jazz and cultural crossover is widely recognized). Claiming that he did not deserve the award, he allowed that it at least "proves I'm on the right track." The concert began with Hussain playing an unaccompanied introduction to double bassist Dave Holland's "Lucky Seven," which also featured a virtuosic soprano saxophone solo from Chris Potter. "Island Theory" was a new Potter composition which Holland thought may have been inspired by the group's recent travels. Here, as elsewhere, I was struck by Hussain's nearly telepathic ability to follow the contours of the solos he was accompanying. It was as if he knew what was coming even before the soloist did!

Hussain's "J Bhai" (J Brother) was written in honor of guitarist John McLaughlin, one of the playing partners from whom he has learned. It was marked by call-and-response between bass and saxophone during the theme. This was a pretty exposed setting for a bassist, and Holland dextrously moved between timekeeping and soloing, with the percussionist taking up a shaker for the first part of the tune. Closing the set, Potter's "Good Hope" began with a virtuosic unaccompanied turn on tenor saxophone, and ended with an exciting extended percussion solo supported by a repeated riff from saxophone and bass. For the encore, Hussain took up a frame drum, producing an entirely new set of sounds. The section where the band traded eights was marked by humorous mouth sounds and other light-hearted rhythmic interjections: a fun ending to a wonderfully musical set.

American trumpeter Theo Croker played the late "Jazz dans la nuit" slot in the intimate Gesù space. His mostly acoustic quintet was completed by alto saxophonist Irwin Hall; keyboardist Jan Michael Looking Wolf; double bassist Eric Wheeler; and drummer Kasa Overall, who also co-produced Croker's last album, Escape Velocity (DDB/Okeh, 2016). Croker back-announced the first three titles. The set opened with a premier live performance of "Crestfallen," which the group has recently recorded. King played most of the tune on Fender Rhodes, contributing to the contemporary jazz feel. He switched to grand piano for his solo, though, and overall he was the most technically impressive player on stage (he also played bongos occasionally).

"Real Episode," from Escape Velocity, was a kind of ballad, featuring an expansive double bass solo accompanied by drums and King's synthesizer. "To Wisdom, The Prize" was composed by pianist Larry Willis—Croker said he thought it should be a standard. It had a slightly funk rhythmic feel. Like the rest of the set it recalled groups like the Jazz Crusaders: jazz with a contemporary sound (and a nod towards popular music) without going "smooth."

Sidebar: Montréal Jazz History

The city of Montréal has a considerable history of jazz, dating well before the founding of the festival in 1980 and much of it hidden unless one knows where to look. Monument-National (long a festival venue) is the oldest operating theater in the province of Québec, and has a permanent exhibition, MONUMENT-NATIONAL: A Site of Great Undertakings (1893-today), depicting the history of the building and many of the world-famous performers who have appeared there (including several jazz luminaries). The festival headquarters, Maison du Festival, houses an exhibition devoted to the history of the festival, including displays of awards and autographed musical instruments.

The festival sponsored a walking tour with Leah Blythe, an experienced guide who put together a city tour emphasizing jazz history. It began in Windsor Station, a train station that had once been a primary Canadian rail hub. It was also a significant source of employment for the local black population (as train porters). Because of that, there was an area nearby with a number of black clubs that often included jazz.

The corner of St-Antoine/de la Montagne showed little evidence of the clubs in her historical photograph, but there were still some residential buildings dating from that period. Chez Parée (now a strip club) hosted performers like Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, and Blythe played a live Parker recording made from a performance there. The area still known as the Golden Square Mile was once an elite residential location before becoming a downtown entertainment area with nightclubs. Rue Metcalf was a center, with one club above Dunn's restaurant, which may have been the location Leonard Cohen's first recording, reciting a poem with jazz instrumental accompaniment. There was also still evidence of two large theaters (we saw a photograph of Cab Calloway and his band performing to a mixed race audience), one now an upscale yoga studio. The tour was a fascinating experience, rewarding even in the extreme heat.

July 5: Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio with Chris Potter / Vincent Peirani & Émile Parisien / Steve Kuhn / David Binney's Alhambra Quartet

Veteran American organist Dr. Lonnie Smith began his run of Invitation TD concerts at Gesù with his regular Trio (guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jonathan Blake) and special guest tenor saxophonist Chris Potter. Kreisberg began organ great Jimmy Smith's "Mellow Mood" with funky rhythm guitar, and it just kept on from there. Smith joked that it wasn't really very mellow. He opened the second tune with an organ bass line that grooved like crazy, and which was the watchword for the night. I had not seen him perform live before, and was struck by the way he directed the band with gestures and head nods. He gave his players a lot of space, but was clearly in charge. Everyone on stage looked like they were having a good time! At the end of this tune he directed repeats of the head, before the band went into a gentle coda. "For Heaven's Sake" was the ballad of the set, its melody reminiscent of "Our Love is Here to Stay." Kreisberg played the opening melody phrasing with a volume pedal, followed by an especially brilliant solo.

Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser" featured a drum solo, then an organ/drum duet, with Smith quoting pianist McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance" during his solo. During the slow coda, which demonstrated Smith's ability to creatively arrange even well-known tunes, as Blake (often a very busy player, though never at the expense of the groove) showed how restrained he could be when called for. For the encore, the band played what sounded like "Alhambra," which always features Smith's sampled trumpet and strings. It segued into "My Favorite Things," following saxophonist John Coltrane's famous arrangement. At one point, Smith played an "All Blues" quote using a trumpet sound, a callback to the great Miles Davis. Potter stuck to tenor saxophone for the entire set, the horn most often used in organ groups. His solos were so consistently good I can't even single one out, but his playing was clearly inspirational to the rest of the band. A great night of organ jazz.

French duo Vincent Peirani (button accordion) and Emile Parisien (soprano saxophone) opened the Steve Kuhn show with a dazzling display of virtuosity and wit. I have never heard an accordionist who could match Peirani's technique, and Parisien is right there with him (as well as possessing the widest variety of physical contortions while playing that I have ever seen). Their music was hard to place stylistically. Jazz was part of it; they played two compositions by the great American soprano saxophone innovator Sidney Bechet. But the set also included a Franz Schubert arrangement, and a composition by Michel Portal (a French composer, saxophonist and clarinetist known for film composing and as one of the founders of European free improvisation). The stage presentation had elements of cabaret: the first piece included two false endings, which was hilarious, albeit not the sort of thing usually seen at a jazz show. Along with the fun, the pair played one fast, intricate tune after another. It was a fascinating and surprising programming choice for this concert.

Steve Kuhn's performance was billed as a celebration of his 80th birthday, but the only indication of that was an audience member shouting "Happy Birthday!" during one of the American pianist's stage announcements. Kuhn commented that it's a big number, but there's nothing to be done about it but to keep on. And keep on he certainly did, in the company of British double bassist Aidan O'Donnell and American drummer Billy Drummond.

The trio played a mix of standards and Kuhn originals, opening with "There Is No Greater Love." "Two By Two" was an original blues, followed by the lovely Johnny Mandel/Johnny Mercer standard, "Emily," with Kuhn reminding the audience that it was introduced in the soundtrack of the movie The Americanization of Emily. Kuhn's arrangement of Billy Strayhorn's "Passion Flower" was introduced with an excerpt from Claude Debussy's "La Plus Que Lente," and featured a melodic drum solo from Drummond. In addition to his fine timekeeping, Drummond's performance was marked by surprises: he did not always play the usual thing, which contributed to the freshness of the trio's sound. The set concluded with the jazz standards "In A Sentimental Mood" (the ballad of the set) and "Confirmation," followed by a medley of two Kuhn originals: "Triads"; and "Oceans in the Sky." Even at age 80, Kuhn has not lost a step. His creativity and technical brilliance were both on display, making this performance a classic example of the jazz piano trio.

The late spot at Gesù belonged to veteran American alto saxophonist David Binney, who named his Alhambra Quartet not for the place in Spain, but the neighborhood in Los Angeles where he grew up and recently returned to, splitting his time between there and New York City. His mostly young Californian compatriots are pianist Luca Mendoza (age 19, and son of renowned composer/arranger Vince Mendoza), double bassist Logan Kane (21) and drummer Nate Wood (the old man at 38). Not only a gifted pianist, Mendoza also contributed two compositions that were performed by the group: "Daytona"; and "La Casa."

Binney seemed invigorated by the company, blazing his way through solos. It's amazing that he is not often mentioned when contemporary saxophonists are listed, at one point playing a John Coltrane-style saxophone/drum breakdown. Binney had teased the possibility of surprise guests on social media, and the audience was delighted when Chris Potter brought out his tenor saxophone to sit in on one tune. One of the joys of this year's festival has been the opportunity to hear Potter play in several different musical contexts, and he once again excelled here. Later in the set, Binney finally made use of the electronics on the floor in front of him, first setting up a saxophone loop, then dropping it down an octave and using a harmonizer. He continued manipulating the repeating vamp for some time, effectively creating an electronic solo piece before bringing the rest of the band back in. It's the sort of thing one might expect from a band as exploratory as this, and I look forward to hearing what they do in the future.

July 6: Dr. Lonnie Smith Evolution / Shai Maestro

Dr. Lonnie Smith devoted his second Invitation concert to Evolution, a large group with his Trio (guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jonathan Blake), four horns (trumpeter Andrew McFinch, trombonist Robin Eubanks, tenor saxophonist John Ellis, and baritone saxophonist Jason W. Marshall), and vocalist Alicia Olatuja. The official program described it as a recreation of his Evolution (Blue Note, 2016), the organist's return to the label after many years. But while the large group roughly mirrored the record, the repertoire also included material from the recent All In My Mind (Blue Note, 2018), plus standards and older Smith originals.

"Falling In Love" featured the first of several excellent tenor saxophone solos from Ellis, plus powerful statements from Kreisberg and the leader. "Too Damn Hot" spotlighted solos from Marshall (including a quote from "It Ain't Necessarily So") and Eubanks. Then, Smith brought out vocalist Alicia Olatuja to reprise her role on the title tune from All In My Mind. Smith is no slouch as a soul vocalist, but Olatuja was powerful and memorable. After "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," Smith brought Olatuja back onstage to sing his own "Pilgrimage," which he said was another sad song: "I don't know why I write so many of those; maybe it's the world." Kreisberg provided an electrifying, overdriven guitar solo.

The audience wanted more from Olatuja, so Smith obliged by adding "Talk About This" to the set, which he humorously introduced with the first line of the song, "We talk about this, we talk about that, that ain't right." McFinch finally got a solo. I was feeling bad for the guy, but Smith explained that he had stepped up at the last minute as a substitute, and this was his first appearance with the band.

An encore was demanded, and the band hastily threw together a funky blues to comply—it looked like they really may have already played everything they knew. So it may have sounded a bit looser than the rest of the set, but the spirit was certainly there.

Israeli-born/New York-resident pianist Shai Maestro took the late Gesù slot with his trio: double bassist Joe Martin; and drummer Ofri Nehemya. Maestro announced that they would be improvising the set order, and began playing an original that sounded like a standard ballad, later identified as "Gal," from 2013's The Road to Ithaca. Unaccompanied at first, the pianist was joined first by the drummer, and then the bassist. There was a period of calm, featuring a melodic double bass solo, then a fast, intense ending.

Maestro began "A Man, Morning, Street, Rain," from 2016's The Stone Skipper, whistling along with his piano, which dissolved into textural sound as he played inside the piano, accompanied by skittering scraping noises from bass and drums. Music like a chorale emerged from that; this trio moves between a wide variety of musical gestures. "From One Soul To Another," also from The Stone Skipper, began with Maestro's contemplative solo piano. After the bassist joined in, drummer Nehemya began to sing along with the piano part, a simple, folk song-like line. Maestro encouraged the audience to join in, and before long he had a full sing-along, which he soloed over accompanied by the rest of the band. It was quite magical, a feeling I expect to remember for a long time. The band played "Parlo" as an encore, a piece which they recently recorded for his fifth album, due out in October. Maestro mentioned that the trio had never played together in this formation before, something one would never have guessed from their empathetic, beautiful music-making.

July 7: Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio / Soft Machine / Jamie Saft

Dr. Lonnie Smith took the stage for his last Invitation concert with only his current Trio (guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jonathan Blake)—the core group that had welcomed guests onstage the previous two nights. This was kind of backwards from a programming perspective: the usual practice in this series has been to start with a small group and add guests as it progressed (or sometimes to feature a different grouping each night). No doubt there were logistics at play here.

It was good to hear the trio by themselves, if a touch anticlimactic. Their set leaned heavily on the current All In My Mind, which Smith plugged several times. After an atmospheric introduction, the band launched into the laconic groove of "Devika," which showed off Kreisberg's bebop chops, at one point employing Wes Montgomery-like octaves. Slide Hampton's "Frame For The Blues" appeared on Spiral (Palmetto, 2010), but the rest of the program was from the current record.

"50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" was a creative arrangement of Paul Simon's hit, spotlighting Blake's high energy drumming. "On A Misty Night" wound down for a mellow blues. "Alhambra" showcased just about everything of which the band was capable. Beginning with Smith's rubato sampled trumpet and strings (which he found a way to incorporate into the set all three nights), the groove really kicked in with Kreisberg's rhythm guitar, and there was room for Blake's big unaccompanied drum solo. For the encore they brought the temperature down with a slow ballad.

Legendary British rock/fusion band Soft Machine appeared in Montréal for the first time since 1974. It's a band that has always been influential far beyond its relatively meager album sales. But any group that has been around more or less continuously since 1966 will have gone through some changes, so different fans may have different ideas about what the name "Soft Machine" even means. Is it the psychedelic trio with organist Mike Ratledge, bassist Kevin Ayers (replaced by Hugh Hopper), and drummer/vocalist Robert Wyatt? Or the free rock/jazz fusion version with saxophonist/keyboardist Elton Dean added and drummer John Marshall replacing Wyatt? Or the guitar-oriented fusion version with Allan Holdsworth, later replaced by John Etheridge?

In the Soft Machine timeline, bassist Roy Babbington first appeared on Fourth (Sony, 1971), joining the band as a member in 1973; drummer John Marshall joined in 1971 for Fifth (Sony, 1972); guitarist John Etheridge joined in 1975 for Softs (Harvest, 1976); and new kid Theo Travis joined the Legacy band in 2006.

This version of Soft Machine grew out of Soft Machine Legacy, which originally combined Dean (later replaced by Travis) and Etheridge with Hopper and Marshall. The Legacy band has always created new music as well as drawing on past repertoire, so it seems appropriate that the current lineup has reclaimed the Soft Machine name. While they do not reflect the precise membership of any of the earlier versions, they have a shared history that spans almost the entire life of the group; the ability to play a wide range of the earlier material with authority; and the skill to create new music in the same tradition.

The set opened with keyboardist/reed multi-instrumentalist Karl Jenkins' title tune from 1975's Bundles (Harvest), which featured guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Etheridge came as close as anyone could to Holdsworth's unique brilliance. Founding member Mike Ratledge's "Gesolreut" was the first of many nods to the band's founders, in this case from the live album of the original two-LP set, Six (Sony, 1973). Its Ornette Coleman-like start and stop theme was a direct reference to the jazz tradition that inspired it, while Etheridge's octave-doubled guitar solo demonstrated how the band has incorporated modern sounds unavailable to them when the original recording was made. At this point Etheridge introduced the band members, referencing their years of service in earlier versions of the band. "Chloe and the Pirates" was another Ratledge composition from Six, this time from the studio LP. The original had a lot of studio processing; here, Travis played his flute part with echo, and Etheridge accompanied with a backwards guitar loop.

"Voyage Beyond Seven" was one of the recent originals, from Legacy's Burden of Proof (Moonjune, 2013), which included a free rubato section, the whole band blazing away. Softs' ballad, "Song of Aeolus," featured an intense, sustained guitar solo; another Karl Jenkins composition from the same album, "Tales of Taliesin," featured an intense guitar/drums breakdown. Ratledge was further represented by Bundles' "The Man Who Waved At Trains," while Hopper ("our original bassist, who we really loved," said Etheridge) was featured through his "Kings and Queens," from Fourth, the oldest album (and tune) in the set.

"The Relegation of Pluto/Transit," a recent original from Legacy's Live Adventures (Moonjune, 2011), gave Marshall the spotlight for an unaccompanied drum solo. "The Nodder," from Alive & Well: Recorded in Paris (Harvest, 1978) was the encore, featuring an odd-metered ostinato with the theme integrated—a Soft Machine trademark. Regardless of which version of Soft Machine a listener knows, the current band proved capable of supplying a satisfying live representation. If you want to experience a living piece of jazz/rock history, go see them. You will not be disappointed.

My final late "Jazz dans la nuit," show in the intimate Gesù, belonged to American solo pianist Jamie Saft. The concept was simple: he sat at the piano and played songs he likes. Many of them were pop songs, but he also included jazz tunes and originals. It was pretty genre-free stylistically; he doesn't radically re-harmonize the pop songs, or swing them to make them sound like jazz. He just interprets them, in a very pianistic way, full of lush arpeggios and melodies doubled in octaves. He did not make any announcements until he had played three songs: Curtis Mayfield's "The Making of You"; his own "The New Standard"; and a Joni Mitchell medley of "The Dawntreader," "Black Crow," and "Moon at the Window." His tune had such a folk-like melody that it fit right in, sounding like a song you might have heard before.

Next was "Ode To A Green Frisbee," trombonist Roswell Rudd's dedication to composer Carla Bley, featuring some of her typical loop-like repetition. A medley of Jimi Hendrix's "Angel" and John Coltrane's "Naima" made them sound completely natural together. Saft went to another Canadian source (he said the Joni Mitchell tunes were a natural for the Canadian setting), this time Montréal native Leonard Cohen. "Be For Real," written by Frederick Knight," was sung by Cohen on his 1992 The Future (Columbia). With that I had to take my leave because of an early morning flight. Saft's solo piano playing was a marvel: quietly virtuosic and unabashedly beautiful. It was a lovely way to end the festival.


As this was the 39th edition of the festival, next year will be a big landmark. I can only imagine that the festival organizers will outdo themselves for the occasion, and can hardly wait.

The final wrap-up press release teased one new thing, the ambitious "Hubs" project, writing: "Specifically, the Festival aims to be a vehicle for all, promoting the discovery of cultural and social wealth by anchoring itself in various neighbourhoods throughout the city. While continuing to occupy its central site in the Quartier des Spectacles with large musical gatherings, indoor shows and family activities, this global Festival will also get very local thanks to the launch of new festival centers called 'Hubs.' These hubs will promote encounters between citizens and generate new spin-offs for the boroughs, in a spirit of inclusion and integration. They will be accessible free of charge and offer the same artistic quality the Festival is renowned for."

Sounds like a great excuse to see more of the lovely city of Montréal.

Photo Credit: Dave Kaufman
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