Michael Bourne honoured by
the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Montreal, Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - Organizers of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal are pleased to announce that the pressroom in the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan will be rechristened this year in honour of journalist Michael Bourne, celebrating 20 years of exceptional coverage of the Festival. As of today, the Salle Michael Bourne will host Festival journalists, artists and conferences on the 2nd floor of 305 Ste. Catherine St. West.
“Michael is a great friend of the Festival, and has been so for over 20 years,” said André Ménard, artistic director and co-founder of the Festival. “He has greatly contributed to the diffusion of jazz and the international renown of the Festival. We are glad to salute him today.”
A presence on the WBGO airwaves since 1984, host of the very popular Singers Unlimited program since 1986 and of Afternoon Jazz since 1997, winner of the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting awarded by the Jazz Journalists Association and contributor to magazine DownBeat since 1969, Michael Bourne is today one of the greatest media figures in jazz history. After starting his career somewhat by chance when he replaced a radio DJ at the University of Indiana who was on vacation, Michael Bourne has had the opportunity to travel everywhere, covering the greatest jazz festivals in the world. However, with all his musical travels to the four corners Planet Jazz, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal remains the closest to Michael Bourne’s heart:
“I’ve been to most of the best jazzfests around the world, but musically, artistically, philosophically, and professionally there’s none better than FIJM, and no other festival is operated by folks so lovingly as everyone (especially the press folks) at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. […] Being in Montreal makes my life worth living. I’m not kidding.”
Long time accomplice Frank Alkyer, publisher of DownBeat magazine, said: “Most of the stories I know about Michael Bourne can only be told after hours in the company of good friends. They’re stories just beyond belief about a larger than life personality that bear hugs, great food, drink, conversation, music and life itself. And that’s what makes Michael one of the greatest radio personalities, and writers, in jazz history. He can sit with the princes and poets and paupers of jazz and find common ground. He infects conversation with an energy that lets musicians know the story is safe with him, that they can speak free and easy. And he backs it up with an encyclopedic knowledge of what’s come before combined with an incredible ear for what may come next. I know that I’m reading an article by Bourne before ever looking at the byline. There’s a flow and insight and point of view and ease that is singular. He started in the theater, there’s no question. Bourne is a showman in print, on the air or onstage. I’ve seen him down and dog tired at the side of the stage after three non-stop days of announcing, watching and living the festival life. But when the spotlight hits and it’s his time to introduce the next act, bam! He turns on the adrenaline because the show must go on, and if Bourne’s there, it’s got to go on right! “
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