Montreal International Jazz Festival is in Full Swing

A Look at Some of the Indoor Performances for the 38th Edition of Jazz Fest

The reveal of a few performers for the indoor shows for this year’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. Photo Mark Di Franco
The reveal of a few performers for the indoor shows for this year’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. Photo Mark Di Franco

Do Uzeb, Men Without Hats, The Barr Brothers and Bob Dylan ring any bells? If so, it might be because these artists have performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in the past. If not, you might just get the chance to catch them this summer.

The Jazz Fest has unveiled its indoor program inside the Astral concert hall, located on the corner of Ste. Catherine and Bleury. The lineup features an eclectic array of acts from different musical genres and will give its audiences the opportunity to discover and rediscover a number of artists.

The ensemble of participating musicians in this gigantic musical extravaganza will be a diverse one, with acts coming from countries like the United States, France and Cuba to name a few. The United Kingdom seems to feature the most prominent presence at the festival this year.

“I think that one of the main lines for the program this year is that we have lots of UK artists,” said André Ménard, co-founder and Vice President of the event, explaining how the country in question will play an important role for this year’s festival.

For many years, Ménard has been trying to showcase artists from the UK at the Jazz Fest, bringing out the jazzy side of that country.

This big presence won’t outshine the other countries’ artists, though. Laurent Saulnier, the Vice President of the indoor program, reveals how the festival was able to successfully secure such a multicultural lineup.

“Our first thought was to have as many countries as possible and we achieved it,” explained Saulnier. He mentioned how the festival team has achieved their goal of incorporating 17 different countries.

The diverse lineup is a big move on the organization’s part, but isn’t the only exciting goal that the festival committee has managed to achieve this year.

For its 38th edition, the festival has created a new concert series called “Re:Creation.” In this category, artists will look to recreate famous past concerts as well as the works of popular acts from other eras. For instance, Jesse MacCormack will revisit the repertoire of blues performer Muddy Waters, and John Roney will recreate Keith Jarrett’s famous 1975 concert that took place in Köln, Germany.

The festival’s new concert series is itself quite exciting, but not as exciting as the artists who’ll be performing in it this summer. Acts like Robert Glasper, the Currie brothers from The Sheepdogs, King Crimson, Charlotte Cardin and more will be there.

Lorraine Desmarais, an artist that has frequently appeared at the festival, will showcase her trio. They’ll be performing songs from the repertoire of jazz pianist Bill Evans.

This year will mark her 38th concert at the Jazz Fest. The first time she participated was in 1983 at the music club Le Grande Café located on the corner of Saint-Denis and Ontario street. The following year, she won the Yamaha award from the festival for presenting future stars in Canadian jazz.

Despite her prolific body of work and her extensive live performances in Montreal, she continues to be a regular at several venues in the city throughout the year. Theatre Outremont, Club Soda and the Lion D’or, just to name a few.

“The people, the love and the passion that they have for music, jazz and the eclecticism,” she exclaimed. She notices how the festival engages with various musical influences that lets the crowd get familiar with different genres of music.

Montreal International Jazz Festival // // June 29 – July 8 // Ticket sales began April 28, 12 p.m.