We’re delighted to announce the very first artists of the 36th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan—just in time to add them to everyone’s Christmas wish lists! Tickets for these concerts go on sale this Friday, December 5 at noon… although Spectra Newsletter subscribers (subscription is free at infolettrespectra.ca), can purchase them Thursday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Steven Wilson — June 27, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis — Twenty years into his career, the versatile and prolific Steven Wilson ranks among the most fascinating artists on the British rock scene. While multitasking as leader of a series of equally cutting-edge groups—Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield and Bass Communion—the many-headed musician makes his Festival entrance with his new album, Hand. Cannot. Erase., a gem of progressive rock delivering mind-blowing rhythms and soaring melodies in the Pink Floyd tradition.
Snarky Puppy — June 30, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis — A massive big band with fluid membership, Snarky Puppy dresses up a stylin’ instrumental jazz brimming with guitar, brass, strings, woodwinds, keyboards and percussion. Led by the versatile Michael League, the group sets itself apart with its stunning musical mastery and creative maturity, building an international reputation with a border-smashing fusion of compositional excellence and improvisation, from melodic funk to harmonic soul, inspired as much by Herbie Hancock as by Björk, James Brown or Radiohead. A true YouTube phenomenon, the group lands with a new album due in April 2015.
Jesse Cook — July 2, 7 p.m., Maison symphonique de Montréal — With over 1.5 million albums sold in a 20-year career, and a Juno and three Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards among the prestigious awards on his mantel, acoustic guitar virtuoso Jesse Cook ranks among the most beloved regulars at this Festival. Playing with an eclectic stylistic palette that blends gypsy, Spanish, jazz and rumba influences, he returns with songs from a new album due in April.
The Stanley Clarke Band — June 27, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA — He floored audiences with his memorable participation in the 2012 Invitation series, and now virtuoso bassist Stanley Clarke returns with a new highly ambitious album, aptly entitled Up. Unveiling a high-voltage jazz fusion with a profusion of funky melodies, the rhythmic opus turns out to be his most energetic and playful to date. He’s a master renowned for taking the bass anywhere he wants to, landing here with a pair of brilliant companions, Beka Gochiashvili and Mike Mitchell.
The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman — June 28, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA — When a group renowned for its versatility and innovative brilliance meets a star saxophonist at the height of his artistic abilities, buckle up: jazzy sparks will fly. It’s an elite rendezvous between The Bad Plus, the rock fan’s favourite jazz trio (and vice versa), who’ve been burning up our stages for over 10 years, and the dazzling Joshua Redman, a friend of this Festival for over two decades. This combo is guaranteed to blow us away with collective improvisation and unmatched creative chemistry.
Dee Dee Bridgewater with Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra — July 3, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA — Take the fabulous Dee Dee Bridgewater, a jazz singer equally accomplished in all styles and repertoires, from Malian music to Billie Holiday, Édith Piaf to Latin; add famed trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, founder and artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and the brilliant orchestra in question, dedicated to the development and heritage of New Orleans jazz. That astonishing assemblage of talent led to a recording this year, which they’ll re-live in an evening of top-flight jazz.
Bebel Gilberto — June 26, 6 p.m., Club Soda — Almost 15 years after her last visit to the Festival, songbird Bebel is back with the bossa nova sounds that run in her veins. Daughter of the legendary João Gilberto, the lovely singer with the purring voice offers a trademark style of Brazilian music tinged with electronica, seasoned with contemporary sounds and modern musical spices. Her new album, Tudo, unveils original songs in Portuguese, English and French, along with a few covers including her irresistible version of Harvest Moon by Neil Young.
Richard Galliano, duo with Sylvain Luc. Tribute to Édith Piaf — June 30, 10:30 p.m., Gesù — Richard Galliano, one of the greatest accordionists of the modern era, and unimpeachable jazz guitarist Sylvain Luc collaborated in the ’90s before going their separate musical ways. The two musicians now reunite their talents for this duo project dedicated to the grande dame of French chanson. The result is a virtuoso jewel, showcasing and reawakening the freshness of the Piaf repertoire in this, the 100th anniversary of her birth.
Eliane Elias, Made in Brazil with Marc Johnson, Rubens De La Corte and Rafael Barata — July 3, 8 p.m., Monument-National — Recognized for her warm, sensual voice and ability to transport us to the languorous, idyllic beaches of Brazil, singer-pianist Eliane Elias returns with pieces from a new album, Made in Brazil. Plunge into Brazilian music from the ’30s to today, grooving through bossa nova by Antonio Carlos Jobim and her own compositions. She’ll be accompanied by her husband Marc Johnson (bass), Rubens De La Corte (guitar) and Rafael Barata (percussion).