Press release for immediate distribution

Here comes the Jazz Festival…

Lionel Richie & Cassandra Wilson, Steve Miller Band & The Doobie Brothers, Paolo Fresu, MAnu Katché, Robert Glasper, Allen Toussaint,
Gipsy Kings, The Manhattan Transfer, Boz Scaggs, Sonny Rollins, Cesaria Evora, Terence Blanchard, Wax Tailor, Caravan Palace, Richard Bona, Tord Gustavsen Trio, Joan Armatrading, Andrew Bird, and the return of the Battle of the Bands with the Harry James Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Orchestra…

Major names flock

to the 31st edition!

Tickets go on sale Thursday at noon

Montreal, Monday, March 29, 2010 - March heralds the return of springtime… and a whole new batch of concerts springing up at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal! And with this early glimpse of the 31st edition presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, we can guarantee that the Festival marquee will shine more brightly than ever, lit up by the biggest names in the music! Fans of jazz and its source music, and musical expeditionaries hunting for new discoveries can start loading up their musical agendas! Tickets for the concerts of this 31st edition, running from June 25 to July 6, go on sale this Thursday, April 1 at noon.

Two very special evenings for this 31st edition!

Opening Gala: Lionel Richie in concert, Cassandra Wilson and her musicians - June 25, 7 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series) - Last year it was the unforgettable Stevie Wonder event… this year, the Festival hits another homerun, with another artist whom organizers have dreamt of presenting since the very beginning of the Festival: Lionel Richie! The king of the slow-dance classics (Say You, Say Me, Endless Love…), a human jukebox of dance hits (All Night Long), a prolific lyricist and composer (Lady for Kenny Rogers, We Are the World for… the world) and, of course, the singer and soul of the legendary Commodores-THE Motown stars of the ’70s-Richie has led an extraordinary and exemplary career and left his indelible mark upon American music, gold-plating four decades of our musical culture with hits we’ve all hummed, whistled-or sung at the top of our lungs! On the other side of this incredible evening, welcome back Cassandra Wilson, a dear friend of the Festival-recipient of our Miles-Davis Award in 1999-who never fails to bewitch us with her deep, velvety, sensual voice and a blues sensibility that is perfectly at home on the legendary Blue Note label. A Special Event filled with musical thrills!

Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers - July 5, 7 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series) - Festival organizers land another masterstroke, bringing together two legendary names in ’70s American rock on the same stage! The Doobie Brothers? How about What a Fool Believes, Listen to the Music, Rockin’ Down The Highway, You Belong to Me, and other songs that helped define their respective eras. Independently, the various Doobies have played with so many other notable artists (Air Supply, Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston…) that we’re left wondering how they ever found the time to craft their own legendary “rock’n’soul” hits! The Steve Miller Band? How about The Joker, Jet Airliner, Fly Like an Eagle, Abracadabra, Take the Money and Run, Rock’n Me, and other classics from a 40-year, 15-album career guaranteed to rock this night into the history books! It’s a supremely rare opportunity to catch these legends in concert for their first-ever Festival performance!

The return of the Battle of the Bands!

Battle of the Bands with the Harry James Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Orchestra - July 4, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA - This unique concept show, plunging its audience into the ambience of the great New York ballrooms of the late ’30s, has been a runaway success-so much so that it’s now touring out into the Canadian and U.S. west! After two straight years of blowout Festival success, the Battle of The Bands throws down the musical gauntlet anew, inviting-for the first time ever in Montreal-the Artie Shaw Orchestra, this year’s challenger, to measure up against last year’s champ, the Harry James Orchestra, in a no-holds-barred battle of friendly musical fire!

Choices, choices… and more choices!

Boz Scaggs - June 25, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (En voix Rio Tinto Alcan series) - Gifted with one of the most distinctive voices in popular music, Boz Scaggs began his career in the ’60s, but reserved one of pop’s rare perfect albums for the mid-’70s: Silk Degrees, featuring Lowdown, We’re All Alone, Harbour Lights and Lido Shuffle among others. Many other Hits would follow, as amply illustrated by the title of that compilation. Performing in Montreal for the very first time, we’re hoping he’ll favour us with a memorable live version of his legendary Loan Me a Dime, the extraordinary blues classic so beloved during the heyday of a certain local FM radio station…

The Manhattan Transfer - June 26, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (En voix Rio Tinto Alcan series) - In 2008, The Manhattan Transfer, icons of American pop jazz singing for the past three decades, released The Definitive Pop Collection, a double album compilation of their greatest hits. Two years later, the famed quartet-whose album Vocalese is second only to Michael Jackson’s Thriller for most Grammy Award nominations-returns with a new repertoire, the songs of the legendary Chick Corea, mainlining all the magic, charm, verve and complexity of the music and proving that, after 37 years, they remain fully deserving of their extraordinary reputation.

An Evening with Sonny Rollins - June 27, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series) - It’s already been five years since his last Festival visit! This year, on the cusp of his 80th spring, the Saxophone Colossus returns just before he’s set to receive the prestigious 51st Edward MacDowell Medal, an honour being presented to a jazz musician for the very first time. One of the last survivors of the postwar jazz scene, this giant of tenor sax brings us his new edition of Way Out West, his brilliant 1957 album, to help us relive decades of historic jazz genius.

Cesaria Evora (opening act: Lura) - June 30, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series) - There are some artists we can never hear enough: artists like Cape Verde singer Cesaria Evora, 69 years young, the international veteran of the stage who brought the house down-once again-in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in September 2008, as part of the Jazz All Year Round series. She returns with her bewitching morna and a new album, Nha Sentimento, launching a new career chapter with all the intensity and emotion we’ve come to adore, pitched perfectly between joie de vivre and melancholy. Opening act: her adoptive compatriot (born in Lisbon), the magnificent singer Lura.

Terence Blanchard Quintet - July 1, 8 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, PdA (Jazz Beat TD series) - He is a trumpet virtuoso, artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, film music composer (much of it for the films of Spike Lee), winner of four Grammy Awards (2010: Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for the piece Dancin’ 4 Chicken, on Jeff “Tain” Watts’ album Watts) and the Grand Prix du Disque 2009 from the Académie Charles-Cros for his most recent work, Choices. And yet, despite that busy agenda, he’s headed back here for his first Festival gig since 2005. Let us not mince words: this is a truly exceptional event.

Wax Tailor and Caravan Palace (double bill) - July 1, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes Bell series) -French DJ Wax Tailor is one of the leading lights of the international electro hip-hop scene. A bracing gust of trip hop, orchestral hip hop and downtempo, his cinematic sound has blown away musical boundaries. After last autumn’s packed performance in L’Astral, he and his group return to share the bill with new sensation Caravan Palace, an eccentric sextet whose jubilant, frenetic and improbably futuristic Charleston-a danceable, melodic sound-moved over 120,000 albums in France and was a smash hit of this past winter’s Jazz All Year Round series.

Richard Bona - July 2, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (En voix Rio Tinto Alcan series) - Let’s hear it from the Los Angeles Times: “Imagine an artist with the virtuosity of Jaco Pastorious, the vocal flow of George Benson, the musical and harmonic sense of Joao Gilberto, all blended with African culture, and you have Richard Bona. After his five memorable Festival concerts in 2007, the gifted Cameroonian bassist-a veteran of collaborations with Higelin, Keita, Metheny and Malone-returns with songs from The Ten Shades Of Blues, a transcendent and progressive ode, a musical overview not just of America, but also Africa, Andalusia, Ireland and Asia.

Tord Gustavsen Trio - July 3, 8 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, PdA (Jazz Beat TD series) - Returning to the Festival for a 3rd time, Tord Gustavsen presents his latest opus, Restored Returned, a deep, multi-layered musical fjord. This time, the incredible Norwegian pianist and his trio adopt an organic approach, moving to the waves and vagaries of the rhythms with the subtle groove for which he is justly renowned. Filled out by bassist Mats Eilertsen, saxophonist Tore Brunborg and passionate singer Kristin Asbjørnsen, the Tord Gustavsen Trio is truly a breath of fresh air.

An Evening with the Gipsy Kings - July 4, 7:30 p.m., Bell Centre - Yes-it’s their very first visit to the Festival! They’ve conquered the entire world and sold millions of albums in their career, and this summer, the Gipsy Kings take over the Bell Centre (complete with a real dancefloor) to fire up Festival fans with the diabolical rhythms of their globally-beloved Andalusian classics-Bamboleo, Djobi Djoba and their other irresistibly uplifting hits! Now genuine superstars, the Gipsy Kings have oft been imitated, but remain the undisputed masters of their genre!

Presented by evenko and the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.

Joan Armatrading - July 5, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (En voix Rio Tinto Alcan series) - Although considered a true blues artisan, this one-woman orchestra brings us music inspired more by her rock roots with This Charmed Life, the 20th album of her 30-year career. With a plethora of prizes and awards to her credit, including three Grammy Award nominations, Joan Armatrading finally honours us with her first-ever Festival performance after a prolonged absence from our city’s stages. She affirms that she continues to write songs “because it’s what I love to do”… which works out perfectly-because we love what she does, too!

Andrew Bird - July 6, 7:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (En voix Rio Tinto Alcan series) - He is a fantastic specimen of rare talent and lyrical, luminous voice-a Noble Beast, to echo the title of his latest album, whose vibrant strings and airy, emotion-charged vocals recall Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright-in fact, he made his Festival debut opening for Martha in 2006, utterly charming the packed house. Lauded all over the globe, the Chicagoan alights in Montreal with music of freshly-hatched brilliance, an ambitious perfectly-presented sound that sings like a… Bird.

The Invitation series… so very inviting!

Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa - June 25, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - What better opening for the Invitation series-dedicated to sublime jazz collaborations-than this remarkable Italian trumpeter musician famed for his many inspired Montreal pairings? In this first evening the longtime friend of the Festival (already making his 11th appearance here!) takes the stage with the great Omar Sosa. The keyboard wizard, whom some consider to have invented a new type of Latin jazz, arrives with a sensual hip hop-accented music inspired by his Cuban heritage as well as African and Arab music. It’s the Italo-Cuban musical summit Paolo had been hoping for!

Paolo Fresu and Ralph Towner - June 26, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - Paolo Fresu’s CV features an incredible variety of collaborations, making his every visit here an example of artistic renewal and a source of joy for all true fans of musical discovery. He surprises us with each performance-who can forget the excellent tribute to Ferré or his collaborations with John Hassell and Pat Metheny?-and this evening will be no exception, as he welcomes a guest artist of impeccable finesse whose presence we’ve missed terribly, Ralph Towner, guitar wizard and founder of the group Oregon. This onstage collaboration, following on the sumptuous Chiaroscuro on ECM Records, is nothing less than an event within an event!

Paolo Fresu, Nils Petter Molvaer and MAnu Katché - June 27, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - Last call for our virtuoso Italian trumpeter! As astonishing as ever, the master brings us a most intriguing trio, sharing the stage with avant-garde Norwegian trumpeter Nils Peter Molvaer, nu jazz pioneer and fierce proponent of electronic music, and our next Invitation series hero (hosting the following two evenings), internationally-renowned drummer MAnu Katché. Expect high-voltage improv!

MAnu Katché Quartet - June 28, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - He is as cyclical as certain famed comets: appearing in the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal heavens every fifth year! And similarly, every sighting is an event! In 2000 with Sting, in 2005 with his electro-jazz project Tendances and, this summer, three is the magic number! After opening the prestigious Invitation series as a guest of Paolo Fresu, “the most precise and sought-after drummer in modern times” (Voir) lights up the night with a quartet and a new album, Third Round, released by ECM. With Tore Brunborg (saxophone), Alfio Origlio (piano/Fender Rhodes), Laurent Vernerey (double bass).

MAnu Katché, Sylvain Luc and Richard Bona - June 30, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - France’s MAnu Katché is the Man of a Thousand Collaborations: from Tracy Chapman to Joni Mitchell, as well as Jean‑Jacques Goldman, Cabrel, Di Meola, Simple Minds, Voulzy, Satriani, Garbarek, Dire Straits and the Bee Gees, not to mention the Peter Gabriel tour directed by Robert Lepage or music for such films as Léon (Le Professionnel) and The Last Temptation of Christ. This time out, the fabulously melodic drummer lines up with two virtuosos: guitarist Sylvain Luc, the French jazz icon who shone so brightly in concert with Biréli Lagrène, and Richard Bona, Cameroonian bass prodigy who hosted four remarkable evenings in the 2007 Invitation series!

Robert Glasper Trio - July 1, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - This pianist, whose name is on everyone’s lips, left such a deep impression with his 2007 Festival show that fans couldn’t wait for his return. Unluckily, Glasper had to cancel his concert… but consider it, rather, a postponement. And how: he’ll offer us no fewer than three concerts this year, at the heart of the prestigious Invitation series! To open the exciting trilogy, he welcomes double bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Chris Dave, presenting his excellent new album, Double Booked, released by Blue Note.

Robert Glasper with Terence Blanchard - July 2, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - Renowned for his exploratory fusion of jazz with other musical styles and a great proponent of collaborations with players from every genre (Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Mos Def…), Robert Glasper would never approach this Festival with anything less than a brilliant artistic combo in mind! In this special evening, the Texas pianist is joined by a jazz trumpet star making a rare Festival visit, Louisiana virtuoso Terence Blanchard. A fiery duo in a church hall… it’s heavenly!

Robert Glasper Quartet with Bilal - July 3, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - Musically speaking, this supremely gifted Houston pianist does it all (Herbie Hancock, Radiohead…)-and does it all brilliantly! But above all, he prizes hip hop and R&B. We’ve already thrilled to his collaborations with Mos Def, DJ Jari Sundance, Q Tip, Beyoncé… This time, he performs with his trio and the special guest saxophonist Casey Benjamin and welcomes another star of the genre, Bilal, with whom he collaborated on the hip hop portion of his recent diptych, Double Booked.

Allen Toussaint Solo - July 4, 6 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - In 2006, he performed with Elvis Costello an entire evening to him, right here at the Festival. The following evening, the septuagenarian pianist and singer joined in the tribute to Paul Simon, our massive outdoor event. This, however, will be the first time the Festival has welcomed the Louisiana R&B legend for a concert-or make that two-all his own! Already an event in and of itself, this rare solo concert from the legendary pianist, composer and producer will confirm his prestigious position in the history of American music.

Allen Toussaint, Bright Mississippi with Nicholas Payton, Don Byron, Marc Ribot, David Piltch and Jay Bellerose - July 5, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA - Bright Mississippi is a superb (and rare) recorded jazz offering from an artist who rates as a defining figure in New Orleans rhythm’n'blues. One listen, and you’ll be wondering why he hasn’t done this more often! For a project of this magnitude, Toussaint required the crème de la crème for his surrounding cast: now just imagine what happens onstage when he unites talents on the order of Nicholas Payton, outstanding New Orleans trumpeter; Don Byron, a clarinetist as explosive as he is intelligent; and the unclassifiable Marc Ribot on guitars. Double bassist David Piltch and drummer Jay Bellerose complete the portrait with an impeccably subtle rhythm section. The critics made no mistake, unanimously ranking the album in last year’s top 5. Bright Mississippi lights up Montreal!

… as well as these previously-announced concerts

… in this 31st edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (tickets already on sale, details at montrealjazzfest.com): David Sanborn and Joey DeFrancesco; the Harry Manx band; Taj Mahal double bill with The Fabulous Thunderbirds; George Benson; Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and John Zorn; and John Scofield & The Piety Street Band.

… in the Jazz All Year Round series (tickets already on sale, details at montrealjazzfest.com): in L’Astral (Lee Oskar with the David Rotundo Band; Molly Johnson; Susana Baca; Arthur H solo; Fortin-Léveillé-Donato-Nasturica; Marcus Miller, Tutu Revisited featuring Christian Scott; Andrew Jr. Boy Jones; Cindy Blackman; David Binney Quartet; Steve Hill and the Majestiks; Tuck & Patti; the Stephen Barry Band, 3rd Anniversary Concert with special guests Susie Arioli and Jordan Officer; Steve Strongman) and in Métropolis (Jesse Cook, The Rumba Foundation; George Thorogood and the Destroyers).

… as well as these concerts in the Guitarissimo series, part of the Montreal Guitar Show: David Reinhardt, Matt Andersen, Sylvain Luc, Loueke, Yamandu Costa, Andy McKee, Charlie Hunter, Bob Brozman, Monte Montgomery and the Evening with CandyRat Records.

Tickets go on sale this Thursday, March 1, at noon

Tickets for the 31st edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal go on sale Thursday, April 1 at noon and will be available from the Festival’s central box office, located in Métropolis (59 Ste. Catherine St. E.), or from Ticketpro (ticketpro.ca, 514-908‑9090 or 1-866-908‑9090) and Admission (admission.com, 514 790-1245 ou 1 800 361-4595), excluding those concerts presented at Place des Arts, which will be available at 514 842‑2112, at 1 866 842‑2112 or at laplacedesarts.com.

To get the jump on the crowd, sign up for the Spectra Newsletter and have the scoop on the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal emailed to your inbox. For further information, call the Bell Info-Jazz Line at 514 871‑1881, toll-free at 1 888 515‑0515, or visit montrealjazzfest.com.

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