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Press release for immediate distribution

30 years of archives… and jazz treasures for all!

Inauguration of the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse
History is here

Montreal, Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - Organizers of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan are proud today to inaugurate the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse. Located on the 3rd floor of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, this all-new jazz resource centre and cinémathèque, accessible to the public free of charge, was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of La Presse. The newspaper enlisted as sponsor of the Médiathèque and will contribute to archiving and preserving this priceless resource, as well as making it accessible at both the local and international level.

A new Mecca for jazz

The unique collection in the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse-along with the one in Montreux, the largest of its kind in the world-is a massive treasure trove of jazz memorabilia. Visitors will discover the collected printed archives of the Festival-and its founders-including tens of thousands of photographs and articles published all over the world, as well as the programs from the last 30 editions of the event, an impressive collection of Festival audiovisual recordings, including hundreds of concerts, (many of them uncut and never before seen) interviews and coverage, excerpts from press conferences, rehearsals, etc., as well as the immense and unique Festival CD collection (over 5000 albums!). The Médiathèque will also be the repository of jazz collections entrusted to the Festival by organizations, private foundations and individuals, notably those of the City of de Montréal. In short, it’s an incredible source of knowledge, and a powerful tool for the promotion of our musical heritage, sure to thrill jazz newcomers, fanatics and researchers alike!

Jazz by the numbers

The Festival has digitized and uploaded 1275 tapes for a total duration of 682 hours of recording, including 385 concert tapes (385 hours), currently available for screening, and 890 rehearsal/interview etc. tapes (297 hours) which will be accessible soon. The concerts were broken down into numerous video files (one per piece of music), for a total of 7275 files, all encoded in the QuickTime format in high resolution, accessible via iTunes on one of the 11 computer stations in the Médiathèque (2 additional stations are available for users who just want to surf the internet). The iTunes library also contains a collection of close to 50,000 audio files (to which 1500 titles will be added per year)-for a total of 229 continuous days of listening! The Festival’s searchable image catalogue program, FotoWeb, also contains close to 20,000 (!) photographs digitized over the past year and representing the last 30 years of the Festival, bolstered by the addition of close to 500 archival photos taken from black-and-white negatives. Visitors can also flip through the 460 magazines available onsite, or consult the Festival’s archive of press reviews (in digital versions, dating back to 2004; and in print, dating back to 1989). Finally, close to one hundred monographs on jazz-dictionaries, guides, biographies, history books, photographs-complete the extraordinary collection. Serge Lafortune, Médiathèque head librarian, will be responsible for the maintenance and development of the documentary collection.

However, let’s not overlook the Archives section of montrealjazzfest.com, which contains capsule histories on 30 years of the Festival, a complete recap of concerts presented since the very beginning, and an array of interesting articles on jazz, along with musical and audiovisual excerpts. So for your urgent jazz information needs, and research at your fingertips, the Festival website remains a first-rate destination for all jazz fans who aren’t within visiting range of the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse!

Alain Simard, president and founder of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, was delighted to finally witness the dream become a reality: the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse is an incredible resource for the preservation and dissemination of the Festival’s precious archives. “I am happy that we can finally invite the public to share in the colossal archives and information that the Festival has amassed over the past three decades. It’s not just a remarkable way to promote music, but also a wonderful gift for all jazz fans, who have the opportunity-thousands of opportunities!-to revisit and re-experience some of the greatest moments in the history of jazz!”

Caroline Jamet, vice-president of Communications for La Presse, added: “The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is a crucial event that has created and hosted unforgettable and unique musical encounters for over 30 years. The Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse finally allows us to relive these unique moments, and follow the careers and artistic evolution of the greatest names in music. La Presse has been associated with the Festival for over 25 years, and we are thrilled to once again demonstrate our support by participating in this project, showcasing an important part of our collective memory, and thus contribute to its profile and influence, not just in Montreal, but around the world.”

A 1st birthday for the Maison

One year after its inauguration, Festival organizers are proud to be able to point to the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan-a new tourist attraction for the city-as one of the major destinations in the cultural life of Montreal. L’Astral, where 234shows and events featuring 175 groups and artists have welcomed and thrilled a total of 46,975 spectators (representing a 60% occupancy rate since its opening) is one excellent example. The surplus generated by L’Astral and the bistro Le Balmoral, on sales of 2.3 million dollars for this inaugural year, helped to operate the Maison and present its free activities, including those hosted by the Galerie Lounge TD, which welcomed 12,000 visitors for the Leonard Cohen Artworks Exhibition and over 3000 for the Herman Leonard Exhibition, The Greatest Photographer in the History of Jazz. The Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse is certain to benefit from the popularity of the Maison, and to in turn greatly enhance the prestige of this new space devoted to jazz!

A relaxing and welcoming environment

The Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse, offering an unobstructed view of the Place des Festivals, is an accommodating space where guests can sip a coffee, take a comfortable seat and enjoy watching a Festival show. The Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse is open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday starting today and, for a limited run, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day of the Festival (from June 25 to July 6). Take the elevator in the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, 305 Ste. Catherine St. West. Admission is free at all times.

Finally, the Médiathèque project was completed according to the original schedule and the initial budget forecast. We offer our thanks to La Presse, principal sponsor, without whom a project of this scope could never have been imaginable. Thanks also to the various government agencies: the ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, Canada Heritage, Canada Economic Development, Industry Canada and AV Trust.

The 31st edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal will be held from June 25 to July 6, 2010.

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