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The 39th Edition Of Montreal's International Jazz Fest starts on June 28th


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June 28th of 2018 marks the start of the 39th Montreal International Jazz Festival. Recognized as the world's largest jazz festival by the Guinness Book, this 10-day event brings together an international roster of artists that encompass genres beyond jazz. The over 150 performances take place in 16 indoor and outdoor venues in and around downtown Montreal.

The highlights include such luminaries as fiery and introspective saxophonist Archie Shepp who appears with his quartet at Maison Symphonique de Montréal on June 30th. Also featured are tireless, nonagenarian composer and tenor man Benny Golson, at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill on July 1st and 2nd, and ever innovative pianist Carla Bley on July 2nd at Monument-National.

Of the younger talent acclaimed saxophonist Kamasi Washington leads his band on June 30th at MTELUS and cool toned trumpeter Theo Croker headlines on July 4th at the Gesu.

There are also a number of virtuoso vocalists on the program including Crocker's mentor the versatile Dee Dee Bridgewater and her Memphis Soulphony on June 30th at Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts. While the Maison Symphonique, on the last day, hosts the singular and masterful composer and voice acrobat Bobby McFerrin.

Various blues styles are also represented at the festival. The great harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite joins guitarist Ben Harper on July 3rd at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts. Blues-rock legend George Thorogood brings his Destroyers to the same stage on July 1st and soulful singer Beth Hart graces the Théâtre Maisonneuve on July 7th.

Classic rock acts such as Seal and Jethro Tull appear on either end of the event at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. Other notables include French singer songwriter and award-winning actress Charlotte Gainsbourg and such legendary world music practitioners as guitarist Ry Cooder and percussionist Zakir Hussain.

It has been a number years since this festival consisted exclusively of jazz concerts in the traditional sense of the word. It, however, still promises to provide many a stimulating listening experience for purists and general music fans alike.

Hrayr Attarian

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