Browsing: Mainstream Jazz

Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal — Under the Influence Suite Justin Time JTR 8597-2 Two years after its debut release on the ATMA label, Montreal’s premiere jazz orchestra, the ONJ, has finally released its second effort, this one on Justin Time. Its move from a classical label to a jazz one certainly makes sense. The presence of saxophonist and composer Christine Jensen may explain this, because Justin Time has already produced two albums of her own big band. The title of this latest disc pretty well tells the story, as it is a programmatic work that pays tribute to five…

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Eighty years young as of this last September, trumpeter Guido Basso returns to his native Montreal from his Toronto home for an evening dedicated to him. On November 4 he will perform in the neighbourhood of his youth, Little Italy, as an honoured guest of his cultural community. He will appear at the Casa d’Italia on Jean-Talon Street (see sidebar below) where he will be inducted into a newly created Hall of Fame for contributors of distinction and native sons of the city. The ceremonies — to take place in the recently refurbished concert hall — will include a concert…

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For some, 18 is the age adulthood. Montreal’s Off Jazz Festivals reaches that milestone this month, even though it attained real maturity seven years ago when it switched its dates from summer to fall. What’s more, it achieved this without growing bigger every year. In the course of its nine-day run starting on October 5, there will be a manageable slate of 22 concerts, four of which are paired in double bills. True to form, the event showcases local acts and new project premieres. Of these, six groups will perform music from their CDs, four of them to be launched…

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Once you play the music, it’s in the air. It’s gone. But when you record it, it comes back to haunt you. – Eric Dolphy What is it that attracts music lovers to jazz (improvised music)? Is it the loose structure, or the beat or the notes and melodies we have never heard before and will never hear again, unless the performance has been recorded; or is it the musician’s uncanny ability to spontaneously translate feelings that inform the notes into the language of music? Perhaps it is his audacity and courage — daring to play without a script; to…

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Based on previous experience, the live jazz scene really shifts into overdrive early in October. Not so this year. In fact, it’s off and running just after Labour Day. On September 6, Upstairs Jazz Bar presents a season-opening concert and record launch pairing Israeli saxophonist Tevet Sela and John Roney (see opposite page for album details). At the same venue, French native and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, now firmly ensconced in town since his move here two years ago, holds his monthly trio gig, with dates on Sept. 18, Oct. 27 and Nov. 18. Now in its fifth season, the Orchestre…

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Those who believe in the death knell of the CD better think twice. Justin Time Records and Disques Effendi, the local jazz labels, don’t seem to buy into this dire prediction. The former kicks off the season this month with three new titles. Matt Herskowitz Trio + 1 – Forget me Not (Homage to Lew Soloff) Quadro Nuevo with Cairo Steps – Flying Carpet Cecile McLorin Salvant – Dreams & Daggers Not to be outdone, Effendi has four titles on tap for this fall. Simon Legault – Hypnagogia Polis Emie R Roussel Trio – Intersections Tevet Sela / John Roney…

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With its roster of some 20 member events, Jazz Festival Canada is an umbrella organization that enables national and international artists to coordinate tours from coast to coast in the early summer. Canadian jazz festivals showcase a veritable cornucopia of styles for just about every taste. Here then are a few picks from the pack of shows scheduled during the upcoming festival blitz. Donny McCaslin – Now Beyond A year ago, saxophonist Kamasi Washington was pretty well the toast of the international jazz festival circuit. This time it’s Donny McCaslin’s turn to make the rounds. His appearance on David Bowie’s…

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Montreal St-Ambroise Fringe Festival Montreal, until June 18 The most convivial and bilingual event of the season, the Montreal St-Ambroise Fringe Festival takes place in the heart of the city on the Main. What makes it different? A program determined by lottery! Theatre, comedy, dance, music, and drag…no less than 153 talented companies from all over the world will be battling for your attention. The best way to pick is by reading the audience reviews posted in Parc des Amériques ­– an exercise that’s sure to make you a real fringier. My bets are on inVitro, by Pretium Doloris, the…

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Donny McCaslin Beyond Now / Motema Music Tenorman Donny McCaslin saw fit to doff his cap towards the man once known as Ziggy Stardust, including two of his tunes (“A Small Plot of Land” and “Warszawa”) on this his latest release. His appearance on Blackstar, Bowie’s musical testament issued but two days before his passing in early 2016, represents quite a career boost for this most deserving saxophonist. Not a tribute album per se, this outing has all the earmarkings of the slickness and polish of pop music that Bowie excelled at. In the disc’s nine tracks (a tenth available…

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INTERVIEW: with Lawrence Brownlee (and Opera Philadelphia general director David Devan). The busy life of one world-class tenor just got that much busier, and the American opera scene stands to benefit mightily by it. On March 30, Opera Philadelphia announced that renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee will be its newest “artistic advisor” – a role in which the artist will carry an impressive brief of prerogatives for advancing the programming, outreach, and project development of a company already regarded as among the most progressive, energetic and innovative in the country. Brownlee is, of course, an international performance star, appearing regularly on…

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