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Wednesday July 11, 2018

From Zeal! NYC

Montréal Jazz Festival Embraces All the Colors of the Musical Palette
By: Doug Hall

Celebrating its 39th year, the Montréal Jazz Festival has remained true to its mission as stated by president/director general Jacques-André Dupont to offer “a massive festive urban event with a major component of free programming” while also “delivering a superb cross-section of music from all over the world.” The 10-day Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 28-July 7), with over 500 concerts, spread out into 13 venues and on seven outdoor stages, remains the largest in the world. With a daily performance schedule of concerts running in multiple venues from 11 a.m. to way past midnight, there is a massive amount of talent to enjoy. Not surprisingly, Montreal’s listeners are faced with a musical paradox—finding themselves with so many options performance-wise, there’re trying to be at the edge of two stages or three stages, all at the same time. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong. The choices are all great. Here are highlights from this year’s 2018 season:

Terence Blanchard featuring E-Collective: Fresh from the release of Live (2018), Terence Blanchard, Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and a “Young Lion” in his early days with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, with a small electric synthesizer and horn brought a heavy vibe of Miles Davis into the air, laying down a brief set of notes then left to sizzling interpretations and solos by band members. With a stand-in keyboardist Gerald Clayton on a be-bop mission with bounding chords and Chick Corea-like tempo, and the 20-year-old guitarist Matt Sewell from Berklee College of Music (mentored by Blanchard) showing all signs of brilliance with running jazz scales up and down the fretboard, coupled with Oscar Seaton, a drumming force of nature and long-time Blanchard collaborator, there was a fantastic momentum of sound. A performance full of cosmic-jazz compositions with a “bad-ass attitude.” With Blanchard breaking through with soaring synthesized trumpet solos, he was taking no prisoners.

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