Review: Montreal Jazz Festival

Sebastian Scotney (London Jazz News) reports for Jazz FM from the biggest Jazz Festival in the world.

Sebastian Scotney (London Jazz News) reports for Jazz FM:

The Montreal Festival is the biggest in the world by visitor numbers. I've been told there might be half a million people who drop into the city centre site, the “Entertainment District” or “Quartier des Spectacles” at some point during the festival. I keep on meeting Americans, for example, who are here on holiday, love the relaxed vibe of the city, just taking it all in. The choice of gigs among the 800 in total is mind-boggling.

The festival runs over ten days, and I am here for six of them. Five down, one to go.

The biggest event of the festival was on July 4th, a concert by Jamie Cullum and his regular band with a Montreal big band on the biggest of the festival’s free-stages. I think there must have been over 30,000 in the square. Jamie with his energy can warm up any crowd, but he feels a special connection with Montreal, and he gave a powerful two-hour long show

Among the other things I’ve seen I was bowled over on Thursday by the new Chris Potter sax /bass / drums trio. That was pretty special. On Friday I was in a club less than two feet away from two Canadian musicians the sisters Ingrid and Christine Jensen which was pretty special.

I’ve also heard Chick Corea in a trio with Christian McBride and Brian Blade. These guys are all virtuosos, but wear their skills lightly and want to have fun.

One sight I won’t forget is the Japanese baritone saxophone saxophone massive Tokyo Chutei-Iki. They’ve been performing in the streets. An amazing sound and it’s almost like formation dancing with a bit of science fiction going on.


More from Music News