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Press release for immediate distribution

Aretha Franklin

Prizewinner of the 2008 Ella Fitzgerald Award

Montreal, Thursday, July 3, 2008 - The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is proud to announce the awarding of the 2008 Ella Fitzgerald Award to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. She will be given the award on stage by André Ménard, artistic director and co-founder of the Festival, at her concert tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier at Place des Arts as part of the Pleins feux General Motors series.

Aretha Franklin is the 10th recipient of the Ella Fitzgerald Award, created in 1999 for the 20th anniversary of the Festival. The prize is awarded to jazz singers whose improvisational skills, originality and uniqueness of voice have been universally praised on the international scene.

This music icon has been giving outstanding performances and delivering one hit after another to her public for nearly 50 years! The first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the end of the 1980s, Aretha Franklin grew up in Detroit, where she began singing at age 11 under the influence of gospel singers. The “Queen of Soul” has been captivating crowds for decades now, giving a soul to everything she touches, including gospel, rhythm and blues, soul-funk, and, more recently, even hip hop. She has many trophies to her credit, including some 20 Grammy Awards! Thursday July 3 and Friday July 4, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Pleins feux General Motors series).

In accepting the prize, Aretha Franklin will be following previous Ella Fitzgerald prizewinners Harry Connick, Jr., (2007), Etta James (2006), Al Jarreau (2005) Tony Bennett (2004), Bobby McFerrin (2003), Dianne Reeves (2002), Diana Krall (2001), Dee Dee Bridgewater (2000) and Diane Schuur (1999).

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