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Press release for immediate distribution

2012 Festival Awards

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal honours Liza Minnelli, James Taylor, Ron Carter, Peter Appleyard, Emir Kusturica and Michael Cuscuna

Montreal, Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - This year, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal highlights the exceptional contributions to music made by Liza Minnelli, James Taylor, Ron Carter, Peter Appleyard, Emir Kusturica, as well as the remarkable oeuvre of Michael Cuscuna. During this 33rd edition of the Festival, our winners will be presented, respectively, with the Ella Fitzgerald Award, Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award, Miles Davis Award, Oscar Peterson Award, Antonio Carlos Jobim Award and Bruce Lundvall Award.

2012 Ella Fitzgerald Award: Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli is the 14th recipient of the Ella Fitzgerald Award, established in 1999 for our 20th anniversary and conferred in recognition of the versatility, improvisational originality and quality of repertoire of a singer renowned on the international scene. Liza Minnelli is nothing short of a legend, a genuine global Superstar who has left her mark on music, TV and film as well as, of course, Broadway. Oscar winner for Best Actress for her role in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret, unforgettable in Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York, the artist who made her debut while still in the cradle is today one of those rare artists whose collection of prizes includes the most distinguished awards presented in the field of performing arts, with 4 Tony Awards, an Oscar, a special “Legends” Grammy, 2 Golden Globes and an Emmy. Renowned for her unforgettable concerts, Liza Minnelli finally brings us the priceless pleasure of her presence: from New York, New York to Montreal, at last! Liza Minnelli, Confessions, July, 5 at 7:30 pm, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of the Place des Arts (Événements spéciaux TD series). In accepting the prize, Liza Minnelli will be following previous Ella Fitzgerald prizewinners Sade (2011), The Manhattan Transfer (2010), John Pizzarelli (2009), Aretha Franklin (2008), 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).

2012 Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award: James Taylor

James Taylor will be the seventh artist to receive the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award. Created especially on the occasion of the 27th edition of the Festival, in 2006, this special award underlines a popular artist’s extraordinary contribution to the musical world. His gentle, sincere melodies, his perfectly resonant lyrics, his unique voice and his subtle and delicate guitar stylings have made James Taylor one of the most highly esteemed and beloved of singer-songwriters. The eternal masterpieces he has added to the pop/folk repertoire include Carolina In My Mind, Fire and Rain and, of course, his cover of Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend. With a career stretching over 40 years, James Taylor has sold 50 million albums and won 5 Grammy Awards. The time has come to recognize and celebrate this icon who expressed the voice of a generation with such finesse, earning induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His concert at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier is an opportunity for devoted fans to bask in the glow of his unique vocal timbre and his timeless greatest hits-surrounded by the finest musicians-and to discover what a singer of this caliber can deliver when he reworks immortal songs by Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton and Junior Walker. James Taylor, June 27 & 28, 7:30 p.m, in Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, Place des Arts (Événements spéciaux TD series). As a recipient of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award, James Taylor Smokey Robinson follows in the footsteps of Robert Plant (2011), Smokey Robinson (2010), Stevie Wonder (2009), Leonard Cohen (2008), Bob Dylan (2007) and Paul Simon (2006).

2012 Miles Davis Award: Ron Carter

Ron Carter will be the 19th recipient of the Miles Davis Award, created for our 15th anniversary in 1994 to honour a great international jazz musician for the entire body of his or her work and for that musician’s influence in regenerating the jazz idiom. If double bass is the foundation of jazz rhythm, Ron Carter is its cornerstone. Recognized for the solidity, grace and finesse of his playing, this acknowledged master has left his mark on over 2000 albums. A renowned composer, inspired soloist and sought-after accompanist, Ron Carter has collaborated with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, James Brown, and many more. In the early 1970s, he established himself as leader-soloist of his own groups and brought a special panache to expanding the boundaries of jazz. A great teacher, named Professor Emeritus at the Music Department of The City College of New York, he is a master in every sense of the term. In this concert-the first one since 1994!- Ron Carter leads a trio filled out by guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Donald Vega. Ron Carter Trio with Russell Malone and Donald Vega, 6 p.m., Club Soda (Jazz Beat Hyatt Regency Montréal series). Ron Carter is the latest in a series of Miles Davis prizewinners. He follows Stanley Clarke (2011), Sonny Rollins (2010), Ornette Coleman (2009), McCoy Tyner (2008), Mike Stern (2007), Brad Mehldau (2006), Dave Holland (2005), Keith Jarrett (2004), Joe Zawinul (2003), Chick Corea (2002), Michael Brecker (2001), Charlie Haden (2000), Cassandra Wilson (1999), John Scofield (1998), Herbie Hancock (1997), Wayne Shorter (1996), Pat Metheny (1995) and John McLaughlin (1994).

2012 Antonio Carlos Jobim Award: Emir Kusturica

Emir Kusturica is the 9th recipient of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, created for the Festival’s 25th anniversary to honour artists distinguished in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz and cultural crossover is widely recognized. Honoured with two Palmes d’or for his talents as a filmmaker-for Underground and When Father Was Away on Business-Emir Kusturica is just as imposing a figure on the music scene. From his films bathed in a pervasive soundtrack to onstage performances accompanied by the formidable No Smoking Orchestra, Kusturica has created a unique self-identified musical landscape at the crossroads of Romany influences, East European heritage, electronica explorations and explosive Gypsy punk rock. Playing guitar or banjo, he has accompanied his No Smoking Orchestra on tour around the world and together, they’ve made over 10 albums, all Gypsy/electro/rock gems. Two years after their electrifying outdoor performance on the Place des Festivals, these musicians return this time into Métropolis to make us kick up our heels… and clink our glasses. Emir Kusturica (opening act: Sergiu Popa, Shukar Roma), July, 5, 6 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes series). As winner of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, Emir Kusturica follows in the footsteps of Youssou N’Dour (2011), Richard Bona (2010), Toots & The Maytals (2009), Gilberto Gill (2008), Angélique Kidjo (2007), Salif Keita (2006), Khaled (2005) and Ibrahim Ferrer (2004).

2012 Oscar Peterson Award: Peter Appleyard

Peter Appleyard is the 24th artist to receive the Oscar Peterson Award, created on the 10th anniversary of the Festival in 1989 to salute a Canadian musician who has made outstanding contributions to jazz in this country and for the quality of his art. With a career stretching over more than 6 decades, Peter Appleyard rightly belongs in the pantheon of living jazz legends. Considered one of the greatest vibraphonists on the planet today, Peter Appleyard has collaborated with a legion of musicians, from Calvin Jackson to Oscar Peterson, including Mel Tormé, Bucky Pizzarelli, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. As a leader, he’s also given us a varied array of swing, jazz and instrumental albums, and established a long-standing and highly appreciated presence on TV and radio. Now in his 80s, Peter continues to collaborate and record new material. Sophisticated Ladies will be released in June, featuring Canada’s top female jazz vocalists. In his 2nd appearance at the Festival, Peter Appleyard will reunite with another jazz giant, pianist Oliver Jones, with whom he has previously performed at the Festival, in 1999. Oliver Jones and Peter Appleyard, July 5, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series). As recipient of the Oscar Peterson Award, Peter Appleyard follows in the footsteps of Jean‑Pierre Zanella (2011), Don Thompson (2010), Susie Arioli (2009), Dave Young (2008), François Bourassa (2007), Yannick Rieu (2006), Bernard Primeau (2005), Diana Krall (2004), Kenny Wheeler (2003), Lorraine Desmarais (2002), Moe Koffman (2001), Charles Biddle (2000), Maynard Ferguson (1999), Guy Nadon (1998), Rob McConnell (1997), Nelson Symonds (1996), Michel Donato (1995), Paul Bley (1994), Fraser MacPherson (1993), Vic Vogel (1992), UZEB (1991), Oliver Jones (1990) and, of course, Oscar Peterson (1989).

2012 Bruce Lundvall Award: Michael Cuscuna

Michael Cuscuna is the 4th recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Award. In keeping with a tradition launched for the Festival’s 10th edition, and repeated every five years with the addition of a new prize, the Festival marked its 30th anniversary with the creation of the Bruce Lundvall Award, presented annually to a non-musician who has left a mark on the world of jazz or contributed to the development of the music, through the media, the concert or record industries. Michael Cuscuna has worn many hats in his long career-musician, radio host, journalist, producer-but it is as an archivist that he made his greatest contribution to the history and the living memory of jazz. A longtime friend of Bruce Lundvall, he’s spent his career digging into the most glittering musical vaults-the Blue Note, Columbia, Atlantic and Impulse! labels-where he worked to rescue hundreds of hours of previously unheard recordings from the shadows. Heading his own label Mosaic, he has spent 30 years pursuing his passionate musical mission: making great jazz available to all, presenting box sets featuring the forgotten gems, the unsung or poorly preserved masterpieces of jazz. Michael Cuscuna’s work is designed for music lovers and generations to come, ensuring the long-term viability of jazz in all its forms. As recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Award, Michael Cuscuna follows in the footsteps of George Wein (2011), Herman Leonard (2010) and the man whose name graces the trophy, Bruce Lundvall (2009).

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