The Montreal Jazz Fest packs Place des Arts with the very best musicians on tour, whether they come from the world of rock and blues, straight up jazz, world beat, or indie and pop. It allows for such a diversity of talents to grace the stages of the major downtown venues, as well as a number of free shows. In addition, there are always special events and awards to performers who have had a major impact on music. This year, the festival recognizes the work of George Thorogood, Zakir Hussain, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Renee Rosnes, Ben Harper, and Ry Cooder.
While the tickets for the indoor shows go fast, here’s what we recommend you jump on if any are left.
at the Gesù (1200 de Bleury) Thursday June 28, 6 p.m.
Jill Barber waltzes from folk to jazz to rock in a single song. She’s simply lovely and several years ago, we had a chance to speak to her: Interview HERE. For tickets to see how far she’s come along since then, click HERE.
at Salle Wilfred Pelletier, Place des Arts (175 St Catherine St W) Thursday June 27, 7:30 p.m.
After one mega hit that still moves people to tears, you could retire to the Cayman Islands and never do another thing in life again. Not Seal. The vocalist has been touring his jazz album Standards since last November. Want to hear him perform, click HERE.
My Brightest Diamond
at L’Astral (305 St Catherine W) Friday June 28, 10:00 p.m.
She’s from Texas and Sufjan Stevens has taken her under his wing. Pop electronica at its best. Get your ticket HERE.
Kamasi Washington with Anomalie
at MTELUS (59 St Catherine E) June 30, 8:30 p.m.
Kamasi Washington is a heavy hitter in the jazz scene because he takes jazz to new places. Y’know hip hop and all that. He’s worked with Herbie Hancock and Snoop Dogg and Lauryn Hill. Tickets for his show are HERE.
George Thorogood and the Destroyers with Jordan Officer
at Place des Arts (175 St Catherine W) July 1, 7:30 p.m.
He’s bad to the mutherfuckin’ bone. Tickets HERE.
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones with the Delvon von Lamarr Organ Trio
at Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts (175 St Catherine W) July 1, 8:00 p.m.
Get your tickets for this banjo pickin’ genius long lasting band in its current configuration of Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, and Roy Wooten HERE.
Herbie Hancock and Thundercat
at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier Place des Arts (175 St Catherine W) July 2, 7:30 p.m.
This is the kind of guy who makes the jazz fest amazing. Piano legend along with singer/bassist Thundercat will get everyone moving. Funk, fusion, jazz. It’s all so cool when there’s a potential for a keytar. Tickets HERE.
at Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts (175 St Catherine W) July 2, 8:00 p.m.
Singer and guitarist Boz Scaggs is a cool dude. On occasion he even headed up the Steve Miller Band. I told my dad he was coming and now my parents are en route to Montreal this summer. There’s three fewer tickets for all you. Get your tickets HERE.
at MTELUS2 (59 St Catherine E) on July 3, 7:00 p.m.
If you want to do a little bit of a lo-fi punk rock DIY sound check out one of Canada’s iconic performers Julie Doiron. Doiron began her career as a member of Eric’s Trip but has been bringing her rocking self on a space odyssey around the country solo for quite some time now. Check her out HERE.
Ani di Franco
at Theatre Maisonneuve Place des Arts (175 ST Catherine W), July 4, 8:00 p.m.
Beloved of all those who preferred ladies with guitars and a message of social justice in the 90s, Ani di Franco is still strong. She leaves no artistic sphere untouched and still managed to put out her 20th studio album. Tickets HERE.
at Maison Symphonique, Place des Arts (175 St Catherine W) July 5, 7:00 p.m.
Trained as an opera singer but now Canada’s smokiest toned, sexiest lady jazz vocalist, Holly Cole gets a room to cry with longing and laugh with the moment all in the same song. She makes the oldies into newies. Tickets HERE.
Bonobo and St. Germain
at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier Place des Arts (175 St Catherine W) July 5, 7:30 p.m.
I never tire of seeing Bonobo lead from the centre on bass as he takes his ambient electronica to the stage. I’ve seen him play live with his band in more places than I care to mention. He just seems to be on tour all the time in places I seem to go. Tickets HERE.
Bobby McFerrin with David Worm, Joey Blake, and the Jireh Gospel Choir
at Maison Symphonique (1600 St Urbain) July 7, 7:00 p.m.
Yes, he really has an incredible career beyond Don’t Worry Be Happy. If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing this acapella wizard at work, make sure you get a ticket for his show HERE.
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull
The Jazz Fest this year takes place from June 27 to July 7. Schedule can be found HERE.