As the 35th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan fast approaches, fans can already warm themselves with the notion of what summer will hold in store for them. From grand premieres to shows on the leading edge of dance or film, here's a heart-pounding glimpse of what will happen from June 26 to July 6. Tickets for these concerts go on sale this Friday, March 7 at noonŠ although Infolettre Spectra subscribers (free subscription at Montrealjazzfest.com) can take advantage of an exclusive pre-sale running from tomorrow, 9 a.m., to Thursday, March 6, 6 p.m.!
Diana Ross - July 3, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA - Événements spéciaux TD series - A true Diva if ever there was one, a showbiz icon and living legend, Diana Ross couldn't have offered fans a better gift than this very first visit to the Festival. The personification of glamour right down to her fingertips, holder of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Diana's repertoire is a musical odyssey spanning 50 years, from such Motown classics as Love Child to disco smash Love Hangover to the jazz of Lady Sings the Blues. Love it is!
Keith Jarrett solo - June 28, 8 p.m. Maison symphonique de Montréal - Le Festival à la Maison symphonique series - The brilliant pianist, daring composer and peerless improviserŠ in a solo concert? For those who rank The Köln Concert among the crown jewels of the music world, a tête-à-tête with Keith Jarrett is like winning the lottery, even more so when we remember it's been almost 25 years since the virtuoso has treated us to such a proposition. It's a signature evening in the company of a living legend of the Festival, considered by many to be one of the most important musicians of the past half-century.
Bobby McFerrin - June 30, 7 p.m. Maison symphonique de Montréal - Le Festival à la Maison symphonique series - A vocal virtuoso, a hypnotic performer and an artist of peerlessly contagious joyŠ a Bobby McFerrin concert is an experience as dizzying as it is unforgettable. The utterly deserving winner of the 2003 Ella Fitzgerald Award, a musical adventurer who takes jazz vocal to new lands, McFerrin returns to a Festival that loves him with his latest album, Spirityouall, featuring the musical legacy of his father, a renowned performer of Negro spirituals and the first Afro-American singer in the Metropolitan Opera. A jubilant musical pilgrimage.
Zappa Plays Zappa - July 2, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis - Les Rythmes series - Zappa Plays Zappa is the fabulous, inspired and slightly mad project conceived by Dweezil Zappa, eldest son of the late, lamented and heroic Frank: to revive his father's wildly eclectic and ambitious repertoire, which he's done over 500 times on the world's stages since 2006, winning a Grammy along the way. Accompanied by his group, he'll take us on an epic journey through musical time with the Roxy & Elsewhere tour, playing that legendary Zappa/Mothers album in its entirety.
Dianne Reeves - June 27, 8 p.m. Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA - Les Grands Concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series - Recipient of the 2002 Ella Fitzgerald Award and 4 Grammys besides, Dianne Reeves has long since won her place in the pantheon of jazz singers. A flamboyant onstage performer, loved by critics and audiences alike, she's here to present her new album, Beautiful Life, a lovely marriage of R&B, Latin music, pop and jazz in both new compositions and covers of Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac and Marvin Gaye. Produced by Terri Lyne Carrington, the album also features the talents of Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter and the late George Duke.
Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion with Pee Wee Ellis, Alec Dankworth and Abass Dodoo - June 30, 8 p.m. Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA - Les Grands Concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series - In his very first visit to the Festival, legendary British drummer Ginger Baker, former member of Cream with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, father of the drum solo and rock titan, arrives at the head of a quartet filled out by Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone), Alec Dankworth (bass) and Abass Dodoo (percussion). The menu will feature top-flight high-energy jazz that crosses swords with African rhythms reminiscent of the great Fela Kuti, with whom qui Baker previously collaborated.
Farruquito - Improvisao - July 2, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA - Les Grands Concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series - Hailed as one of the greatest male flamenco dancers of the century by The New York Times, Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya "Farruquito" built his reputation on a perfect mastery of authentic and visceral flamenco, melded to his innate talent for improvisation and a passionate and flawless balance. Vocals, guitar and dance are fused in a spectacle of complete freedom, creating an utterly unique performance every night.
Piazzolla Plays Piazzolla by Escalandrum - July 3, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, PdA - Jazz Beat Hyatt Regency Montréal series - Under the baton of Daniel "Pipi" Piazzolla, grandson of illustrious bandoneonist and composer Astor Piazzolla, Escalandrum returns after the smash success of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE 2013, back to vigorously and respectfully reinvent the late maestro's songbook. Sailing between the tango legacy and an interpretation steeped in jazz, Daniel Piazzolla (drums), Nicolás Guerschberg (piano), Mariano Sívori (double bass), Damián Fogiel (saxophone), Martín Pantyrer (clarinet and saxophone) and Gustavo Musso (saxophone) pull off their daring gambit: bringing together the best of two musical worlds.
Tom Harrell Colors of a Dream with Esperanza Spalding, Jaleel Shaw, Johnathan Blake, Ugonne Okegwo, Wayne Escoffery - July 6, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, PdA - Jazz Beat Hyatt Regency Montréal series - Uniting the talents of legendary trumpeter and bugle player Tom Harrell and the most fascinating bassist on the music scene, Esperanza Spalding, Colors of a Dream promises nothing less than great art. Add in a handful of other musicians blessed with similar talent and creativity, including the flamboyant Jaleel Shaw on alto saxophone, and you have a high-voltage summit with today's jazz elite. It's like a dream come trueŠ
For the Record: Tarantino in Concert - June 25 to 30, 7 p.m., and June 28 and 29, 2 p.m., Cinquième Salle, PdA - Culte ! series - Somewhere between film, music and theatre, you'll find the electrifying spectacle of this mad cavalcade. Expect a killer show from this troupe of 28 dancers, musicians and performers, serving up the 360º musical version of cult scenes from the modern master of American cinema, Quentin Tarantino. From Reservoir Dogs to Django Unchained, it's the perfect opportunity to relive the diabolical twists and supercharged turns twists of the films. Son of a Preacher Man, Hooked On A Feeling, Bang BangŠ So what do you think, will you lend anŠ ear?
Rufus Wainwright solo - June 27, 28 and 29, 8 p.m., Théâtre du Nouveau Monde - Nouveau Monde series - Back from a tour that took him all the way to Turkey, Rufus Wainwright unveils gems from his latest release, Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright, an overview of a career that counts 7 albums and one international reputation as a peerless singer and songwriter. And two years after thrilling the Place des Festivals, Montréal's beloved native son promises a very special treat this time around: a series of solo shows in the intimate confines of TNM.
Trixie Whitley - June 27, 7 p.m. Club Soda - Just a few months after unveiling a debut full-length album, Fourth Corner, that immediately made her a female artist to watch, the daughter of late-lamented soul-bluesman Chris Whitley once again enfolds us in her incandescent blues-soul universe. Gifted with stage presence as magnetic as her voice, the young artist is well on her way to major successŠ starting with her Female Artist of the Year Award from the Music Industries Association, and the new album on the way.
Bombino - July 1, 7 p.m., Club Soda - Last summer, rising young guitar star Omar "Bombino" Moctar, a Tuareg from northern Niger, blew away a FrancoFolies audience with his Tamashek desert blues-rock, music literally born of rebellion. Since then, he's toured the world with his second album, Nomad, produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, from Australia to Holland and from California to Poland, winning instant international success; and we're grateful to be hosting him here in Montreal once again!