Press release for immediate distibution

Tickets go on sale Thursday at noon

Ben Harper, Goran Bregovic and his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra, Kyle Eastwood, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Imelda May, Maceo Parker, Boubacar Traore Trio, Diego El Cigala, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, and the major Nø Førmat Weekend starring Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal with Mamani Keita, as well as Kouyaté & Neerman and Mélissa Laveaux

A colourful new season

Montreal, Monday, May 9, 2011 - The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is happy to announce a first slate of concerts in the Jazz All-Year Round series presented by TD-concerts guaranteed to add splendiferous colours to autumn 2011 and take fans on a musical magic carpet ride around the world. Tickets for these new concerts go on sale Thursday, May 12 at noon.

Ben Harper - Tuesday, September 27, 8 p.m., Métropolis -Ben Harper conquered Montreal twice in 2009: rocking Métropolis during the Jazz All-Year Round series in May, and then, exactly two months later, blowing up the Place des Festivals for the Closing Concert of the Festival. This year, he unleashes a 10th album, Give Till It’s Gone, (due spring 2011), his first solo album solo since the double Both Sides of the Gun in 2006, and the most personal and diverse release of his passionate career.

Goran Bregovic and his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra - Asie, October 22, 8 p.m., Métropolis - Five years ago, Goran Bregovic shook downtown Montreal to its core with the mad rhythms of his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra during the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. A world-renowned composer whose many credits include the soundtracks to the films Queen Margot and The Time of the Gypsies, Bregovic reels back into town this year with his irresistibly wild brass, gypsy wedding jams and punk-soul passion; a 19-piece ensemble that fuses Slavic lyricism and rock energy. Zivili!

Diego El Cigala - Thursday, November 3, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA - Since his memorable performance in a jam-packed Théâtre du Nouveau Monde during the 2010 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 2010, Diego El Cigala hasn’t just released a new album, Cigala&Tango, revisiting Argentinean tango with a touch of flamenco from Madrid; he’s also launched his own record company, Cigala Music. An important player in the Spanish revival, he’s been nicknamed the “Sinatra of flamenco,” and no kidding: he’s a singer of imposing, undeniable talent and presence. Immense.

… and in L’Astral

Imelda May - Tuesday, August 2, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Rockabilly has a new voice: Imelda May! Already a superstar in her native Ireland, they’ve watched her shake it on the Dublin cabaret circuit since the days when she was occasionally barred from her own shows for being underage! Since her debut album, Love Tattoo (triple platinum) hit the racks, the entire world has caught her performing alongside the likes of Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Jeff Beck, Lionel Richie and even Wanda Jackson and Meatloaf. Surf, blues, rockabilly, and a look to make any pin-up babe greeeen with envy; Imelda has everything it takes to rock it to the top. She brings us her aptly-entitled latest, Mayhem.

Kyle Eastwood - Saturday, September 17, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Eldest son of a certain legendary Clint, he first visited us in 1999 with his debut album, From Here to There. Over a decade later, double bassist Kyle Eastwood has released four subsequent albums, and father and son have collaborated on the music for a number of films. Kyle first studied film before devoting himself to his true passion, jazz. He returns to the Festival with his latest album, Songs from The Chateaux, ample evidence of the vast diversity of his repertoire. A highly-anticipated return!

Lucy Wainwright Roche - Thursday, September 22, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Her father is folk singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright. Mom, Suzzy, sings with her sisters in The Roches. She’s half-sister to Rufus-for whom she sang backup on a 2007 tour-and Martha… Lucy Wainwright Roche literally has music in her blood! Winner of Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song at the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for her hit Snare Drum, the singer-songwriter showcases an angelic voice and the simple, direct, colourful storytelling of her debut indie album, Lucy.

Boubacar Traoré Trio - Saturday, October 1, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Malian bluesman and guitarist Boubacar “Kar Kar” Traoré was one of the most popular voices of the ’60s in his country, where his message of independence and freedom rang out from the radio every day. A self-taught musician, he was rediscovered in the ’90s and regularly performs with Ali Farka Touré and Ballaké Sissoko. Regimes have come and gone over the past 40 years, but Boubacar Traoré’s moving voice, poignant guitar and nostalgic songs have remained just as powerful.

Maceo Parker - Thursday, October 27, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Which came first: funk or Maceo Parker? Well, it would be nigh impossible to find anything groovier than this saxophonist and composer! Leader of James Brown’s horn section for years, member of Parliament-Funkadelic, occasional collaborator with Prince, De La Soul and Lenny Kravitz, the funk kingpin also has his own career, thanyouverymuch. His critically-acclaimed latest album, Roots and Grooves (2007), a tribute to Ray Charles, won a Jammie for best Jazz Album. Just imagine the incendiary result when we try to confine all that funk energy in the intimate confines of L’Astral !

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Thursday, November 24, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Bassekou Kouyate is an expert of the ngoni, a West African stringed instrument that he has mastered with an uncommonly modern flair. In fact, the Malian musician retooled the traditional instrument, adding several strings and making it more flexible, harmonically speaking. He’ll be accompanied by his group Ngoni ba-a quartet of ngonis, two percussionists and the divine voice of his wife Amy Sacko-who played on his latest album, I Speak Fula (2010), in which the virtuoso blends traditional African music and North American roots.

The Nø Førmat Weekend

Nø Førmat is a label that resists labels, a label that avoids all restrictions, conventions and… formats. Nø Førmat offers a breath of fresh air for music, and here’s the ideal opportunity to discover the finest talents from their roster, with two evenings hosted in L’Astral, the perfect place to showcase all this enthusiasm and diversity. The Nø Førmat Weekend is presented by the Consulat général de France à Québec and Spectra Musique in collaboration with the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal / Mamani Keita - Friday, September 23, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Kora player Ballaké Sissoko and double bassist Vincent Segal cross strings and lift the art of musical conversation to new heights of sensitivity, harmony and unity. For part two of the bill, singer Mamani Keita, ambassadress of modern African music, builds a bridge between cultures, between rock and Afrobeat, dub and traditional Malian music, the smooth and the rough. It’s an evening with No Format, heterogenous and elementally African.

Kouyaté and Neerman / Mélissa Laveaux - Saturday, September 24, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Master of the balafon Lansiné Kouyaté and vibraphone virtuoso David Neerman are a pair of artists who refuse to be pigeonholed, bringing us a duet performance of their innovative, contemporary and powerful music. Next, after 2 memorable appearances at the Festival in 2007 and 2009, young Haitian-Canadian singer-songwriter Mélissa Laveaux finally brightens the Jazz All-Year Round series with her gentle folk, roots and world music melodies.

A non-profit organization, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is pursuing its mission of disseminating and developing jazz and its musical cousins for the twelfth year in a row, by reinvesting its surpluses in the presentation of special concerts at its Jazz All-Year Round series. With support from public partners, specifically, the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and Canadian Heritage, it can thus offer Montrealers and visitors to the city the chance to experience the rhythms of jazz all-year round! The Festival also highlights the support of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, official host of the Jazz All Year Round series, as well as the support of Bell and the Hyatt Regency Montréal, partner and official hotel of the series, respectively.

Tickets go on sale this Thursday, May 12, at noon

Tickets for these new concerts go on sale Thursday, May 12, at noon. They will be available from the L’Astral box office (305 Ste. Catherine St. W.), from Métropolis (59 Ste. Catherine St. E.), or from Admission and Ticketmaster (admission.com and ticketmaster.ca, 1 855 790-1245)-excluding those concerts presented at Place des Arts (laplacedesarts.com, 514 842‑2112). For further information, call the Bell Info-Jazz Line at 514 871‑1881, toll-free at 1 85JAZZFEST, or visit montrealjazzfest.com

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