The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is thrilled once again to unveil its free outdoor concert program, returning to transform the heart of the city into a major musical fiesta, from June 28 to July 8 2007. In just a few weeks, Montreal will sing in tune with a planet of music for 11 days and nights at this profoundly unifying event that will turn North America’s French capital into a mecca for everyone, from aficionados of pure jazz to fans of all its musical relatives.
The Festival site is unique in that a major part of the downtown core is closed from traffic for the entire run. The only one of its kind in the world, it includes ten free outdoor stages set up on the streets and in the parks around Place des Arts, as well as some dozen indoor venues located in the same perimeter, for a total of close to 50 concerts per day presented with the highest technical standards. The site is also unique in that a major part of the downtown core is closed from traffic for the entire run.
The Festival presents no fewer than three free outdoor mega-concerts on its main stage, the Scène General Motors. This year, festival-goers will be treated to the Seun Kuti: Afrobeat party with over 20 musicians and dancers (July 3). The Festival dedicates this event to Fela Kuti, who passed away ten years ago. Owing to the huge success enjoyed last year by Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Band, the Festival in collaboration with Alcan, Canada-based global manufacturers of primary aluminum, light gage sheet, foil and packaging materials, once again brings the curtain down with a great closing party: an Arabian Night with Rachid Taha and special guests (July 8). This series of free mega-concerts will kick-off with a rhythmic and colorful concert blowout, Brazilian carnival bash with Carlinhos Brown (June 28)
The most prestigious series, Les Performances General Motors, presents high-level concerts. Among the many excellent artists taking part are Neapolitan saxophonist and former James Brown collaborator Enzo Avitabile, backed by the Bottari ensemble; Le Sacre du Tympan, an astonishing big band from France that combines jazz, film music, old rock and carnival music; and the “blonde tornado,” Lulu Hughes, who joins the Montreal All City Big Band for powerhouse versions of legendary songs immortalized by Frank Sinatra, James Brown and Etta James.
Other artists featured at the Festival include: Boom Pam, Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective, Mahmoud Ahmed, Souljazz Orchestra, Shakura S’Aida, Jacques L’Heureux, Jim Zeller, Guy Bélanger and Carl Tremblay, Forestare, Bryan Lee, Juan Carmona, California Guitar Trio (with American Paul Richards, Belgian Bert Lams and Japanese Hideyo Moriya), The Klez Dispensers, God Made Me Funky, Emily King, the Simon Legault Quartet, Atcha and many more!
All of the free concerts come in addition to the 150 ticketed concerts of the indoor program, unveiled this past May, as well as the many artists and groups offering (ticketed) shows in downtown bars and clubs as part of the Nuits de Montréal and Soirées Jazz Upstair programs (June 28 to July 7) in collaboration with Heineken, Enja / Justin Time, Champion Imaging and Healthy Shoppers. Among these, catch “Prince of the Piano” Wray Downes, with his quartet, the brilliant multi-ethnic group Minsarah, the stunning Sean Jones Group, and – a central figure on Montreal’s jazz scene since the mid-‘70s – Dave Turner & the Earth Tones, to name a few. For tickets, visit Ticketpro.ca, or call 514-908-9090 or 1-866-908-9090.
For more information, please visit montrealjazzfest.com.