Jazz Fest (Festival International de Jazz de Montréal) already? Is summer over? No, it’s still spring. Relax. But, the good news is that for those of us who see the annual Jazz Fest as a chance to bliss out on music and more music, the indoor programming is now available. Tickets go on sale tomorrow on April 29, so we thought we’d give you a few tips and picks of who you might want to catch.
There’s no denying, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier has night after night of unmissables. First it’s Rufus Wainwright with a full orchestra performing his opera Prima Donna and then his greatest hits on July 2 and 3. Kool & the Gang celebrate July 4 with their funktastic songs. It’s a CELEBRATION, right? The next two nights are Ms. Lauryn Hill who hasn’t been at the festival for 14 years. July 7 is Brian Wilson joined by Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin to mark the 50th aniversary of Pet Sounds. And personally, only July 9, Noel Gallagher, of Oasis fame, will be flying in with his High Flying Birds. I’ve had Noel Gallagaher’s High Flying Bird’s albums accompany me around everywhere this past year as the soundtrack to my life, so this is a not-miss for me.
But getting out of Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, there’s plenty more to see. I saw Taj Mahal perform a few years ago and was stunned into a state of awe. Check him out July 2 at Theatre Maisonneuve. If you miss Rufus Wainwright’s concert/opera, you can still listen to The Wainwright Sisters at Theatre du Nouveau Monde on July 6-8 at the Theatre du Nouveau Monde. Brandi Carlile, alt-country folk singer from the US is on her way on July 8. She’s six albums in and has never been to Montreal before, so let’s check this pt’t lady out at Theatre Maisonneuve.
Let’s face it, Jazz Fest is hardly about jazz these days. June 29, Cat Power who is punk-grunge-folk mix will be at the Metropolis. July 1 and 2, John Jacob Magistery brings his indie-folk to the Metropolis. The Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster’s Furious Five founders, Melle Mel and Scorpio are going to bring the party with a hip-hop/rap mash up on July 2. If DJs are your thing, Pantha Du Prince brings us some Berlin minimalism on July 3 at Metropolis. Shyre is new to me, but I’m hoping to check their stuff out on July 3 to 5. Everyone remembers the whistling of Peter Bjorn and John, but these guys have a lot more to sing about. Check them out on July 8.
Local acts to see? Multi-instrumentalist, electronic music maker DJ Champion et ses G-Strings appears on June 30 at Club Soda. Oliver Jones performs July 7 in a farewell concert. He’ll open first with his trio and then perform with the Orchestre national de jazz de Monreal at Maison symphonique. Florence K de Québec has charmed plenty with her sultry voice. She’s around at Theatre du Nouveau Monde on July 9. And I’m kind of into this next one. Motel Raphael has been silently gaining a major following. I recall over-hearing them talk about making a music video in a coffee shop near me and loved them even before I’d ever heard them. Now that I’ve seen them perform, they’re on my buzz band list. They’ll be at Club Soda on July 9.
Jazzfest runs from June 29 to July 9. If you want to get tickets, here’s where to find details: HERE. Prices vary per show. We’ll have a list of free shows up closer to Jazz Fest.