Jazz en rafale: Back on Track!


This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

After going AWOL in 2018, Jazz en rafale, Montreal’s early-spring jazz fest, is back on track this year. In lieu of its usual time slot, this event has spread itself out over a four-month period. Its current edition, the 18th, got off the ground late last month, with a pair of Saturday-evening livestream broadcasts, the first showcasing, the Brazilian native pianist Manoel Vieira and the music of his debut recording Rhizome, the second headlined by saxophonist Benjamin Deschamps.

The remaining shows, seven all told, will be accessible online only, with access codes given to ticket buyers (see information below). Next up is the August Quartet of bassist and festival headman Alain Bédard. His Feb. 4 show will allow him to launch the band’s newest side, Exalta Calma, on the in-house Effendi label. A fortnight later saxophonist Yannick Rieu presents his Generation Quartet, an all-acoustic jazz affair rounded off by the highly touted local piano upstart, Gentiane Michaud-Gagnon.

As much as Rieu has explored both acoustic and electric avenues in his career, pianist Yves Léveillé has steered clear of the latter. His current foursome, rounded off by double bass, drums and sax, proves the point. On March 6, he will express his own breath of freedom (a.k.a. Souffle de liberté, according the show’s heading), in which introspection and lyricism set the tone. Next up, on March 13, trumpeter Jacques Kuba Séguin presents Microcosme, a Bartókian title that reflects both the music, comprising short compositions, and the band, paired down to bass and drums. Seven days later, Bédard, once again, will be front and centre, directing his eight-piece Jazzlab Orchestra through a program of his own music, all documented on an album coming out that evening and whose title is a real mouthful… LogusLabusMuzikus!

In April, the festival winds down with two dates set for the 10th and the 24th. First, pianist François Bourassa will perform one of his rare solo outings, and release L’impact du silence, his first album ever in that format in his 35-year career. Last but not least, pianist Felix Stüssi, a mainstay in Bédard’s two bands, takes the curtain call with his own Super Nova 4, aided and abetted by the great threesome of Jean Derome, Normand Guilbeault and Pierre Tanguay.

Confined as we are in these challenging times, it has been something of an ordeal not to witness the making of music first-hand. While not the ideal solution to this situation, if there is one, online events like Jazz en rafale provide some solace for the listener and work for the performers. If life without music would be a mistake, as Nietszche once wrote, we are that much poorer for not being able to experience it right there and then.

Information : www.jazzenrafale.com
Tickets and viewer access codes: 

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Marc Chénard is a Montreal-based multilingual music journalist specialized in jazz and improvised music. In a career now spanning some 30 years, he has published a wide array of articles and essays, mainly in Canada, some in the United States and several in Europe (France, Belgium, Germany and Austria). He has travelled extensively to cover major festivals in cities as varied as Vancouver and Chicago, Paris and Berlin, Vienna and Copenhagen. He has been the jazz editor and a special features writer for La Scena Musicale since 2002; currently, he also contributes to Point of Departure, an American online journal devoted to creative musics. / / Marc Chénard est un journaliste multilingue de métier de Montréal spécialisé en jazz et en musiques improvisées. En plus de 30 ans de carrière, ses reportages, critiques et essais ont été publiés principalement au Canada, parfois aux États-Unis mais également dans plusieurs pays européens (France, Belgique, Allemagne, Autriche). De plus, il a été invité à couvrir plusieurs festivals étrangers de renom, tant en Amérique (Vancouver, Chicago) que Outre-Atlantique (Paris, Berlin, Vienne et Copenhangue). Depuis 2012, il agit comme rédacteur atitré de la section jazz de La Scena Musicale; en 2013, il entame une collabortion auprès de la publication américaine Point of Departure, celle-ci dédiée aux musiques créatives de notre temps.

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