Press release for immediate distribution

Wrap-up of the 31st edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

A superb edition!

Montreal, Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - Wow! What a year, and what an edition! It can now be said that, at 31, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan is in its prime! With a jam-packed program (800 performances!), supercharged activities (600!), the resounding return of our huge free outdoor events and performances worthy of the greatest stars this music has to offer, this 31st edition of the Festival had all the atmosphere of an anniversary: thrilling from top to bottom, from the opening concert on the Place des Festivals-featuring incredible acoustics that amazed audiences at every performance-right through to a memorable “double bill” on the final day, with the staggering Mardi Gras Parade and the New Orleans concert that followed. Crowds… music… pleasure-a Jazz Festival! Music ruled the city for 12 straight days, from the grandest scale to the most intimate encounters, in a ceaseless relay of musical variety, from the purest jazz to the most poignant blues, played and sung in every known language and accent. With millions of visitors listening to thousands of artists in hundreds of concerts on dozens of stages, this utterly unique festival walked tall once again!

And let us state from the get-go, this marvelous 31st edition could never have been this impressive without our major partners, who gave us the unprecedented means to offer fans a memorable festival: start with TD, who became our new major sponsor and presenter this year, ensuring that the Festival will be stable for the next five years; Rio Tinto Alcan, who inked a five year renewal of their status as Festival co-presenter and naming-rights partner of the Maison du Festival; and Bell, our major partner in technology and information for another five years, who also contributes to the growth of the Festival and its extraordinary impact on the city. Furthermore, we must mention the non-recurrent support ($3M) of Industry Canada who, along with our three principal sponsors, offered the most concrete evidence of the importance of solid partnerships in the existence and growth of large-scale events, especially those that, like the Festival-a non-profit organism-offer so many free concerts.

This edition closes out on a remarkable note: we had fans who were thrilled, musicians who were skilled and fulfilled, journalists who had their musical dreams re-instilled, ticketing goals achieved ($4.25M, not counting the Montreal Guitar Show, which was a blockbuster success once again-witness the increase of tourist layovers), wonderful weather, solid on-site sales and a general increase in the sale of tourist packages to Festival fans from near and far, who stayed an average of three nights in the city, allowing the Festival to make up a record $31M budget.

A global musical alphabet, from A to Z

A musical treasure-trove

Whether here to listen to their idols or to discover new talents, Festival fans reveled in the diversity that has made the Festival’s reputation: something for everyone, in both quantity and quality, covering every spectrum of jazz. And let’s not leave out all the new additions! Start with the Musique au MAC series, showcasing new discovery Basia Bulat, the marvelous Toronto folk singer of Polish extraction (3 evenings), and move on to the return of the inimitable (was the word invented for him?) Lewis Furey (3 evenings) and magnificent polyglot NEeMA (1 evening); and how can we forget the superb El Duende Flamenco series presented by Air France, spotlighting the best of Hispanic music and dance in performances by the Dorantes Trio, Chano Dominguez, Diego “El Cigala” and the Juan Carmona Quintet; and the new Super sessions, crowning every joyous jazz day with revamped late-night jam sessions in L’Astral, led by Dan Thouin and his musicians, who welcomed a solid cross section of artists visiting our Festival.

The Festival hit the ground running with its opening concert, presented by TD, featuring the legendary Lionel Richie, as well as Cassandra Wilson and her musicians, a double event that was also presented twice! That set the tone, with icons from every genre reminding us why they were household names: Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Smokey Robinson, Cyndi Lauper, Wanda Jackson, Gil Scott Heron, and the Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers, doubling up to close the Festival. Among the many magical moments presented indoors, we must mention John Zorn’s incredible “Marathon,” with a galaxy of musicians spread over two concerts in the same evening; the welcome return of Joan Armatrading; as well as the entire Invitation Hyatt Regency Montréal series-sold out virtually every evening-presenting brilliant Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu, drum virtuoso MAnu Katché, iconoclast Robert Glasper and Louisiana R&B legend Allen Toussaint.

Needless to say, our own local artists were just as busy! They flocked to the Festival: loyal regulars like Guy Nadon, Lorraine Desmarais, Chet Doxas, André Leroux, François Bourassa, Vic Vogel and Harry Manx-performing this time with a band, and still slaying fans and critics alike-and newcomers and rising stars, including folksinger Émilie Clepper, the live presentation of the debut album by the now globally renowned Nikki Yanofsky, remarkable guitarist Jordan Officer, the luminous Elisapie Isaac, blues revelation Matt Andersen, and the sexy folk-rockabilly of the charming Sally Folk.

And let’s not forget the highly-anticipated return of classic rock immortals Eric Burdon and The Animals, the exquisite freshness of Emilie Simon, funk godfather George Clinton and his group, Parliament, The Roots, who indubitably confirmed their status as the greatest live hip hop group on the planet, the distinctive voice of Boz Scaggs, in Montreal for the first time ever, the jazzy pop of young Meaghan Smith, the vocal magic of Bobby McFerrin and his VOCAbuLarieS concept, new revelation Bobby Bazini, making his grand Montreal premiere and presenting an additional show by popular demand, the now-traditional Battle of the Bands with this year’s outfits, the Harry James Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Orchestra, a very rare visit from The Moody Blues with their pop-rock classics, the exceptional evening presented by the Terence Blanchard Quintet and the wildly successful Gipsy Kings, who had fans dancing in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier! And, of course, the closing concert delivered by a legend among legends, pianist Dave Brubeck, a beloved Festival regular whom we love welcoming back.

Furthermore, the Festival has given this year a special issue Miles Davis Award to Dave Brubeck to honour his 90th birthday and his remarkable career. This exceptional nod was of course added to the already famous Festival Awards who, each year, highlight the exceptional contributions of musicians from here and abroad. Thus Smokey Robinson received the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award, Richard Bona the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, The Manhattan Transfer the Ella Fitzgerald Award, Sonny Rollins the Miles Davis Award and Don Thompson the Oscar Peterson Award. Created last year to honour a non-musician who has left a mark on the world of jazz or contributed to the development of the music, the Bruce Lundvall Award was given to photographer Herman Leonard. Finally, the Montreal Guitar Show Tribute Award, created in 2009 to highlight the outstanding contribution made to guitar history and to the music of the leading international guitarists, chose to honour one of the most respected guitarists in jazz, George Benson. Finally, Parc-X Trio received the TD Grand Jazz Award, and the Galaxie Rising Star Award was given to Darren Sigesmund for his piece Dance for Leila. The jury also attributed a special mention to Cameron Wallis Quartet for the professionalism of the musicians.

Concerts under the stars

This year, the Festival welcomed visitors to the site with carnival characters at the various entry points…. an indication of what awaited: 7 major free outdoor concert events, starting with the Grand événement d’ouverture TD presented in collaboration with XM Satellite Radio, starring the Brian Setzer Orchestra, which literally upended the Place des Festivals with majestic rockabilly, while Lulu Hugues, accompanied by the Montreal All City Big Band, lived up to her reputation as a “blonde tornado” with one of the most powerful voices in Quebec. The Événement spécial Bell with Beast-and their marvelous multimedia projections-almost set off another earthquake! At the 2/3 mark, Festival organizers treated fans to a surprise, presenting new sensation Caravan Palace in a major free outdoor concert by popular demand, the night after their immense success in Métropolis… and it was a surprise that became one of the biggest parties in Festival history! And let’s not forget the Dan Bigras Big Band and their collection of “bar tunes”, revving up the crowd before the masses celebrated the 100th anniversary of Django Reinhardt’s birth with zany trio The Lost Fingers, and really let loose to the ultra-festive music of Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra. Finally, Festival fans followed Zachary Richard and the Mardi Gras Parade during the Grande soirée Mardi gras à Montréal, running along Ste. Catherine Street to the Place des Festivals, crossing the space with the Soul Rebels Brass Band and climaxing with the Closing show presented by Rio Tinto Alcan with Trombone Shorty and Allen Toussaint. What a crowd, what musical pleasure, what a swingin’ good time! It was an utterly unique Festival premiere: a Mardi Gras evening in mid-July!

A million Miles

The Festival-land of legends? Absolutely! This year, fans could discover-or rediscover-one of the greatest names in jazz, in any number of ways: the We Want Miles exhibition, presented in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, showcasing an incredible portrait of the trumpeter-and no worries if you haven’t been yet, the program runs until August 29; the Galerie du Festival, in concert with the musician’s estate, presented a Miles Davis silkscreen, Chariot of Gods; the Cinémathèque québécoise screened a series of films on Miles; and an array of concerts paid tribute to the master, from a re-visitation of Bitches Brew to the Spanish touch of Chano Dominguez in the heart of the El Duende Flamenco series.

Huge viewership for MontrealJazzFest.TV

The results are in: Festival fans have gone wild over concert video excerpts webcast on MontrealJazzFest.TV! The site has already racked up over 50,000 viewings during this 31st edition, above and beyond the tens of thousands of internet users who virtually “attended” the Grand événement d’ouverture TD presented in collaboration with XM Satellite Radio with the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Événement spécial Bell with Beast live on enMusique.ca. (nearly 1200 people watched the show live on the web). For this sole edition, our squad of cameramen have taped some 150 clips of concerts presented this year, plus another 300 that are online now on MontrealJazzFest.TV: artist interviews, press rehearsals, concert and archival interview excerpts from the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse, as well as reminiscences offered by Festival founders Alain Simard and André Ménard. This must-see daily viewing-the perfect way to chronicle in pictures and music this 31st edition of the Festival-allows us to assert that the audio-video direction undertaken by the Festival has provoke immense positive reaction.

Other numbers? Our iPhone and BlackBerry application was downloaded over 10,000 times-with users sharing some 200 photos-while our website’s Multimedia zone collected about 2,500 photos taken by official Festival photographers, and the event made stunning headway in the universe of online social networks: nearly 2,000 messages were sent by our 13,000 fans on Facebook and by our thousands of followers on Twitter-and were viewed 2 million times! In short, thanks to Bell, the world’s largest jazz festival has a larger presence than ever in the world-real and virtual!

Festival Favourites

Alain Simard, president-founder of the Festival, once again thanks André Ménard for having convinced him to book the Brian Setzer Orchestra for the outdoor opening concert (!). He was also dazzled by George Benson, who so marvelously channeled Nat King Cole with a Montreal big band before performing his own hits, showcasing his peerless guitar mastery. Mr. Simard loves the blues, and he enjoyed the harmonica wizards on the program: Corky Siegel (formerly of the Siegel-Schwall Band), our own Jim Zeller (on the Loto-Québec stage), and the legendary Charlie Musselwhite, who so beautifully backed up the remarkable Cyndi Lauper (with a cameo from Allen Toussaint on piano). Still blues-wise, he was also impressed by the legendary Eric Burdon and a stunning Montreal singer-guitarist by the name of Shane Murphy. Among other memorable moments: Beast and their spectacular visual effects, L’Orchestre Septentrional d’Haïti, an event unto themselves, saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly, Leonard Cohen protégée NEeMA, guitarist’s guitarist Jordan Officer and, of course, the talent, grace and humility of the legendary Dave Brubeck!

André Ménard, co-founder and artistic director of the Festival, loved such favourites as Brian Setzer, Boz Scaggs, The Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers, the Grande soirée Mardi gras à Montréal, the El Duende Flamenco series, particularly Dorantes and Diego “El Cigala”, Paolo Fresu and Ralph Towner, Ron Di Lauro’s Porgy and Bess, the Tord Gustavsen Ensemble, Cyndi Lauper, John Scofield, José James and Jef Neve, as well as the Chistian Scott Quintet.

Vice-President of Programming & Production Laurent Saulnier was especially taken by Robert Glasper, André Leroux, Rafael Zaldivar Trio, Elisapie Isaac, Meaghan Smith, The JW Jones Blues Band, Lewis Furey, Parc-X Trio, Wop Pow Wow, The Roots, The Slew, Bonobo, Beast, The Narcicyst, L’Orchestre Septentrional d’Haïti, Omar Souleyman, Think About Life, Emilie Simon, WhoMadeWho and Misstress Barbara.

Among Programming Director Caroline Johnson’s favourites were the performances of Staff Benda Bilili, Ibrahim Maalouf, John Zorn in Masada Marathon, Neil Cowley Trio, The Roots, John Forté, Chano Dominguez in Flamenco View, You Sun Nah, Omar Souleyman, Think About Life, Punk Bop!, Caravan Palace, Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio, Victor Démé, Wanda Jackson, Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Brian Setzer Orchestra, Gil Scott Heron, Basia Bulat Shad, Daniel Mille, Parc‑X Trio and Sophie Hunger.

The Festival, Talked About on 4 Continents

Journalists from here, there, and everywhere flocked to this remarkable edition, sending the Festival all over the world. Over 400 accredited journalists, close to half of them from outside Canada, hailing from 20 countries covered the event. Thus, the Festival was talked about in Germany (Deutschlandfunk, Jazzthetik, Jazzthing, WDR Radio 3), in England (Acoustic Magazine, Echos Magazine, Jazzwise Magazine, Shook Magazine), in Australia (Future Publishing, LIMELIGHT Magazine), in Brazil (Viajes Aqui), in Canada (Calgary Herald, CBC, Exclaim!, Globe & Mail, Jazz FM, Maclean’s, National Post, Spinner.ca, Toronto Star, Windsor Sun), in China (Business Travel Magazine), in Colombia (Avianca Magazine), in South Korea (KBS World), in Spain (El Mundo), in the United-States (All About Jazz, Austin Chronicle, Bay Area Newsgroup, Boston Herald, Caviar Affair Magazine, Downbeat Magazine, Huffington Post, KKJZ, Jazz Inside Magazine, Jazz Times Magazine, Maine Sunday Telegram, New York Daily News, OffBeat Magazine, Sherman’s Travel, Sirius XM Radio, The Burlington Free Press, The New York Times, Travel Weekly, URB Magazine, Vanity Fair Magazine, Variety, Voice of America, WBGO, Zinc Magazine), in France (Agence France Presse, Arte, Causette, France Musique, Guitarist Acoustic Magazine, Jazz Hot, Jazzman, Konbini, laguitare.com, La Croix Magazine, La Gazette Nord-Pas de Calais, La Tribune, Le Monde, Le Point, Télérama, TSF Jazz, World Sound Magazine), in Greece (Athens News), in Hungary (Nepszava), in Japan (Yomiuri Shimbum), in Italy (Corriere della Sera, L’Adgige,LSD Magazine, Nuovo Corriere Barisera, Radio Dolomiti, Radio Italia), in Mexico (Canal Once, El Economista, Gatopardo, Horizonte, La Tempestad, Music Life, Radio Cortv, Reforma, W Radio), in Peru (Orbita Popular), in Portugal (Lussa), in Russia (Zvuki.ru), in Turkey (Taraf Newspapers) and in Uruguay (BabelFMSodre).

The MGS and the Blues Camp rule!

The Montreal Guitar Show was bigger and better than ever, once again establishing itself as a relevant force. This 4th edition re-affirmed-assuming affirmation was needed!-that the MGS has established itself as THE must-see event for anyone interested in the six-string magic of the guitar. Better yet, the MGS returned to the heart of the Festival, in the Hyatt Regency Montréal-taking over twice the space in freshly, elegantly renovated salons! This edition hosted 150 luthiers, musicians and specialists from all over the world, and thousands of amateurs, here to revel in the quantity and variety of activities on offer (concerts, workshops, conferences, exhibition areas…), and the impressive scope of the entire event. The Guitarissimo The Gazette series welcomed some of the planet’s greatest virtuosi, including Andy McKee, Matt Andersen, Charlie Hunter and the gang from CandyRat Records, who offered a closing concert for the ages. And let’s not forget the array of hundreds of guitar artworks on display, which were also available for purchase. The Blues Camp, presented by TD, heralded its 5th edition with a new crop of 55 young musicians, aged 13 to 17. After spending a week under the artistic direction of Vincent Beaulne and a devoted team of teachers, our young maestros presented a concert last Sunday, showcasing the full range of their talents on our largest stage, the TD stage on the Place des Festivals.

Thanks to our partners

Let’s remember that this great celebration of jazz music would simply not exist without the support of public and private partners: thus, we thank the Government of Canada for its unprecedented contribution, the Government of Québec for its constant support, the City of Montréal for its unwavering collaboration, as well as their various ministries and agencies: Canada Economic Development, Canada Heritage, the ministère du Tourisme, the ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire, the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), the Consulat général de France, Cultures France, the Centre national des variétés, and Tourisme Montréal. In terms of private sector support, we offer particular thanks to TD, new principal sponsor and official presenter of the Festival along with Rio Tinto Alcan, renewing their Festival co-presentation agreement for five years. A huge thanks to our faithful partner Bell Canada. Thanks also to Loto-Québec, the Société des alcools du Québec, Heineken, Hyatt Regency Montréal, Air France, as well as the Société Radio-Canada, our principal media partner, Galaxie, Satellite XM Radio, as well as Meyer Sound (official sound systems supplier of the Festival), Amarula, Archambault, Complexe Desjardins, Eska, Porto Cabral, Universal, Pepsi-Cola, Jura, Fromages CDA, Vital Link and Boulart. It’s thanks to them all that the world’s largest jazz festival exists and can offer so many free shows and events.

The Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan: First Anniversary!

One year ago, we unveiled the new “heart” of the Festival, a dream long harboured by Festival organizers, finally come to fruition. And the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan has already established itself as a player, with no fewer than 300 shows and events! From the magnificent venue L’Astral (which has already welcomed close to 50,000 spectators!), to the now-renowned bistro Le Balmoral, to the blockbuster success of the Galerie Lounge TD and its free exhibitions, the secret is out: the Maison-located in the old Blumenthal Building, generously ceded to the Festival for 30 years through an emphyteutic lease by Government of Québec-has swiftly become a new tourist attraction for the city, and a jewel in the cultural life of Montreal. And there’s no doubt that our all-new jazz resource centre and cinémathèque on the 3rd floor of the Maison, the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse-inaugurated in the prelude to this 31st edition, on June 22, and open to the public free of charge-will benefit from this popularity! In the short time since it’s been opened, the Médiathèque has already welcomed a thousand visitors, journalists and musicians, screening concerts and interviews and flipping through our archives. And it’s only just begun, because in autumn, the space will host a number of exhibitions and events-Jazz noir by Zïlon and The Spirit of a Generation by Elliott Landy-and the new permanent exhibition, Legends of the Festival, right next door. In short, after this extraordinary growth, the Maison is now complete, and ready to fully contribute to the Festival’s mission to promote music all year ’round. We remind you that none of this would have been possible without the inestimable support of the ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, as well as the support of Canada Economic Development and Canada Heritage.

We also remind you that the bistro Le Balmoral has a month-long series of free concerts, Piano solo, each week in August, from Thursday to Saturday, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Enjoy performances by John Roney (August 5 to 7), Steve Amirault (August 12 to 14), Vincent Gagnon (August 19 to 21) and Yoel Diaz (August 26 to 28). And in September, L’Astral welcomes fans to the Jazz All Year Round series, as varied and exciting as ever, offering the perfect musical bridge to the 32nd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, which will be held from June 25 to July 4, 2011.

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