Wrap-up of the 33rd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
The pleasures of music…
and a renovated site to call home!
Montreal, Monday July 9, 2012 - If the Festival set a record this year, it was undeniably for the sheer happiness it generated! That’s the central truth delivered by this 33rd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, once again faithfully presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan. Veteran jazzophiles and adventurous neophytes again experienced a dizzying whirlwind of music that shook Montreal for 10 straight days and nights! It must be said that this edition was particularly remarkable for two aspects: first, a program of incredible quality-which is truly saying something for an event that makes “quality” its mission!-and second, a site that was finally fully completed, offering the most delightful possible environment in which to experience the pleasures offered by the world’s biggest musical event.
A cool, relaxed and inclusive Festival!
The outdoor site and its ambience were the undeniable stars of this 33rd edition! One just had to listen to the comments of Montrealers or see the happiness lighting up their faces to understand how thrilled everyone was to finally “come home” to a fully-renovated Ste. Catherine St., with its new pedestrian esplanade. In short, fans reclaimed Their Festival. Crowds were able to discover and experience thousands of the finest musicians from all over the world in the Quartier des Spectacles, arriving with friends and family, pushing the wee ones in their prams or holding hands with grandparents. People circulated freely, strolling with a glass in hand as smiles unfurled in every direction, reuniting with old pals or often making new friends, and experiencing everything that makes Montreal the coolest city in the world… We remind you that this new user-friendly space is in fact the culmination of the Programme Particulier d’Urbanisme (PPU), initiated by the Ville de Montréal at the request of the Festival-which feared the loss of the open spaces required by events in order to present their free programs to our citizens-and that the result is this lovely Quartier des Spectacles, now the pride of Montrealers!
It was therefore no surprise to find the site welcoming more people than ever, arriving earlier than ever during the course of the day! Montrealers and tourists crossed the threshold of the new site some 2 million times, if we can rely on headcounts from preceding years, enjoying its tranquility, accessibility and newly optimized layout. Even the media appreciated it, with Radio-Canada’s Téléjournal Grand Montréal 18 h with Patrice Roy broadcasting live from the outdoor site.
Incredibly, as a result, the Festival experienced a slight increase in food sales despite the arrival this year of new restos and terrasses on the site, undoubtedly a good indicator of increased patronage of the outdoor site. We recorded a 35% increase in sales of tourist packages, a similar amount for participants in such tourist activities as the Jazz Cruise, and tallied almost 3500 overnight stays generated by the Festival organization! And while the box office experienced a slight drop in sales (3 %), despite a considerable number of sold-out concerts (thirty), this 33rd edition of the Festival ends with a balanced budget, even though it closed exceptionally on a Saturday night. In effect, organizers of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal accepted the loss of a Sunday of operation and sales to accelerate the dismantling of its installations in order to help the Festival Juste pour rire complete its own set-up in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Indoor musical magic
Yes, there were plenty of major evenings, welcoming rare and prestigious visits from such names as James Taylor, Norah Jones, Liza Minnelli, Melody Gardot, Janelle Monáe and Seal. This edition also featured major musical moments and dialogues featuring the prestige instruments of jazz, from Peter Appleyard’s vibraphone (2012 Oscar Peterson Award) to double bass with the sparkling Stanley Clarke, masterful host of one of the Invitation TD series, the genius and finesse of Ron Carter, incredible young Esperanza Spalding in full ascension, and renowned bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. Brilliance on trumpet was delivered by the mind-blowing Chris Botti, young prodigy Ambrose Akinmusire, who speaks through his instrument with every breath, the immense Tom Harrell, and the Miles Smiles collective, paying tribute to the immortal and incontestable master. On the more “theatrical” side, train the spotlights on three astonishing creations: the return of humanitarian adventure GRUBB and its charming troupe of young Roms, Carlos Saura’s musical fresco Flamenco Hoy, an unforgettable voyage to the very heart of flamenco, yesterday and today-unveiling the full genius of the master filmmaker-and musical The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith and its talented and irresistible star, Miche Braden.
The music of a planet’s worth of countries shared our stages, with a Brazilian clique elegantly represented by CéU, Marcio Faraco, Curumin, Paulo Ramos, Eliane Elias and Maria Farinha, but also musicians from Japan to Mali, India, Algeria and Eastern and Southern Europe, with Osaka Monaurail, Sidi Touré, BlackMahal, Souad Massi, Besh O droM and Emir Kusturica (2012 Antonio-Carlos-Jobim Award), as well as fabulous encounters at the cultural crossroads led by Harry Manx with his World Affairs, Strunz & Farah and Dorantes, Renaud Garcia-Fons and Theodosii Spassov in their Free Flamenco Trio.
Music takes to the streets
Taking full advantage of the impeccably conceived and refined new Festival site, our three traditional free outdoor Grands événements reached their full amplitude, drawing up to 100,000 people per concert, whether it was to fall under the charms of hometown boy Rufus Wainwright during the TD Grand Opening Event presented in collaboration with SiriusXM (recorded for later broadcast), to dance to the utterly groovy disco of Brooklyn troupe Escort in full Tuesday Night Fever, or to party it up madly to the electrofunk beats of local duo Chromeo during the Rio Tinto Alcan Special Closing Event.
But the Festival’s free program offered far more than three Grands Événements! Centrally, it was also the opportunity for fans to make new discoveries, revel in surprises and renew musical acquaintances. Among other notable experiences, that explains why the Lounge Heineken was continuously packed with people and musical pleasure, with the old-school blues served up by Bharath and his Rhythm Four, The Unsettlers and The Record Company, the free-spirited gospel of Irreverend James and the Critical Mass Choir or the revisited rockabilly rhythms of Israel Proulx and the Howlin’ Hound Dogs, proud standard bearers of retro rock’n'roll on the Montreal scene. Let us also offer a special salute to Robi Botos, TD 2012 TD Grand Jazz Award winner, and Peripheral Vision’s Don Scott, recipient of the Galaxie Rising Star Award for his piece Backbone.
Montreal celebrates Montreal
Moreover, when speaking of the Montreal scene, we note that our city not only shone on the international stage thanks to its jazz festival, but also illuminated this year’s program. In addition to the memorable opening and closing concerts by Rufus and Chromeo, an entire brigade of Montreal talents amazed the public for the entire duration of the event. Watching The Barr Brothers, Patrick Watson, Ian Kelly, Adam Cohen and Timber Timbre reach new heights, we can recognize how the Festival nourishes our local cultural life, generating a particularly dynamic and attractive musical environment we call Home. The Festival has always been a magnificent launching pad for homegrown artists, and more than ever, this 33rd edition offered firm proof. With Wesli, Jorane and Orchestre I Musici, Dorothée Berryman, Jérôme Beaulieu, Samuel Blais, les Malcommodes, John Roney, Boogat, Plaster-what a crowd!-Vic Vogel, Steve Hill, Jim Zeller, Justin Saladino, Rick L. Blues, They Call Me Rico, Bob Harrisson, Ghostbeard, Poirier, Misstress Barbara, Élage Diouf, D’Harmo, Coyote Bill, Lou Boustani and the Parc X Trio, everything leads us to believe that, now more than ever, Montreal is making its presence felt as the City of Music, as attractive for its exceptional vitality as for the incredible hotbed of creativity it generates.
Let’s not forget that the Festival amps up as much spirit as ever in its approach to the up-and-coming generation, inspiring ever more young people to take up music, which may in turn one day lead them to take to our stages. Consider the activities presented by Rio Tinto Alcan: the Petite école du jazz, already in its 24th year of offering musical lessons to an ever-enthusiastic young, young audience, the always popular Parc musical, as well as new activity Musique en famille avec les Ateliers Samajam, part of the Samajam Stay In School Project. Not to mention the 7th edition of the Blues Camp presented by TD, which once again allowed 50 teens to experience a dream-come-true musical week, completely free of charge.
Alain Simard, president-founder of the Festival, found all of his favourites (with the exception of Ron Carter-in an excellent trio with Russell Malone and Donald Vega-to whom he presented the Miles Davis Award) on the periphery of jazz this year: James Taylor (humble and elegant recipient of the Festival Spirit Award), Richard Galliano in the Maison symphonique, Carlos Saura’s Flamenco Hoy featuring its astonishing guitarist, Van der Graaf Generator with Peter Hammill (whom Simard had already brought to Québec in the early 1970s), Johnny Clegg, Gianmaria Testa, Melody Gardot, the legendary Liza Minnelli (who received the Ella Fitzgerald Award onstage with ample grace and emotion) and the electrifying Seal. He also greatly appreciated Montrealers Rufus Wainwright, Patrick Watson, Misstress Barbara, Chromeo and Oliver Jones.
André Ménard, co-founder and artistic director of the Festival, found musical enchantment in the company of Richard Galliano, Flamenco Hoy, Tangerine Dream, Neil Cowley Trio, Steve Hill and Paul Deslauriers, Janelle Monáe, Colin Stetson, Patrick Watson, Rufus Wainwright, Chromeo, Al Stewart, Get The Blessing, Sophie Hunger sings Dylan solo, Lady Linn and Her Magnificent Seven, Stanley Clarke and the Harlem String Quartet, The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith and the Battle of the Bands between The Count Basie Orchestra and The Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Laurent Saulnier, vice-president of programming and production, considered Patrick Watson and Deltron 3030 the two musts of this edition. And he particularly loved the “Sound of Montréal”-Chromeo, Patricia Deslauriers, Rafael Zaldivar, Sarah MK, The Barr Brothers, Boogat, aRTIST oF tHE yEAR, Heavy Soundz-and, representing the rest of the world, Janelle Monáe, Moriarty, Cascadeur, Chicha Libre, Melody Gardot, Seal, Gregory Porter, Escort, Hess Is More, Get The Blessing, Lyrics Born and F. Stokes.
The Festival takes over the Internet
What a massive crowd of fans on the Festival Facebook page! The number of fans has more than doubled since early June, surpassing 55,000 members. The new contest J’aime le Festival de Jazz, with prizes totaling $40,000, had a lot to do with it, along with the energetic involvement of fans who sent in comments by the tens of thousands. The Festival maintained a strong presence on Twitter with 25,000 subscribers, while the keyword “#jazzmtl” made Festival fans’ tweets visible to millions of subscribers.
Also, thanks to Bell, over 56,000 people now consult the Festival program on their iPhone or Blackberry, via the Jazz Montréal mobile application, which held steady in the Top 10 in the Music category on iTunes. Meanwhile, the Festival website, once again thanks to the support of Bell, registered over one million visits for this 33rd edition. Finally, 1500 concert photographs and 160 video capsules (concert excerpts, artist interviews, etc.) were added, as well as a magnificent ensemble of 16 panoramic photos, allowing fans to make their “virtual visit” to the newly renovated outdoor site. The video capsules were viewed 140,000 times on MontrealJazzFest.TV and on YouTube. The Internet has proven to be an essential portal for the Festival, allowing our foreign fans to follow the action from afar and giving them even more reason to visit Montréal next summer! And that’s all without citing the Les Incontournables Bell capsules, which introduced us to a different artist every day.
The Montréal Guitar Show: a warm welcome… and farewell, until 2014!
The 6th edition of the Montréal Guitar Show welcomed thousands of visitors to the Hyatt Regency Montréal with a program of exceptional quality: approximately 160 exhibitors, including 140 electric and acoustic luthiers and some twenty accessories manufacturers, close to 500 different guitar models and a panoply of concerts, workshops and conferences delighted guitar fans from near and far… and our luthiers enjoyed an extraordinary edition, with record sales of their magnificent creations. And hats off to our Québécois guitarists Steve Hill and Paul Deslauriers (Guitarissimo SiriusXM series), who stole the show, both onstage and at the box office! Thank goodness “guitarophiles” flocked in to satisfy their six-string desires, because the MGS will now take a break, returning only in 2014. We remind you that the MGS and the Healdsburg Guitar Festival will combine their forces to better promote guitar and lutherie and the exceptional talents of the people involved. The two events will therefore be held successively from now on: the MGS will be held in Montreal in even-numbered years, alternating with the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, which will be held in odd-numbered years in Santa Rosa, California.
The Galerie Lounge TD moves into the Place des Arts
During the Festival, the Salle d’exposition of the Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme in Place des Arts hosted the Galerie Lounge TD, to the delight of art fans and connaisseurs. Visitors could admire a piece created by Richard Séguin especially for this 33rd edition of the Festival: Riff de Guit, an expression of the artist’s passion for music. The Galerie also features a treasure trove of works signed by artists from all spheres, sharing jazz as a common passion, as well as the official poster of this edition of the Festival: Accroche-Cœur, by Yves Archambault, celebrating his 25th anniversary of creative collaboration with the Festival this year.
The Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan welcomes jazz home!
Undeniably, this Maison has become an essential Montreal musical component! Let’s just say that it’s always got plenty of arrows in its quiver, launching activities guaranteed to charm any audience. Beyond the pressroom, the Festival nerve centre, it also hosted a number of concert series as diverse as they were complementary: the Musique au Balmoral series for jazz aficionados, the Open House series for intrepid party animals, and the TD Jazz d’ici La Presse series with its countless gems. Meanwhile, the Bistro Le Balmoral added a terrasse (bearing the name Vins du Sud-Ouest for the event), thereby doubling its capacity and offering a relaxing new venue for gourmet dining right on Ste. Catherine St., in the heart of the action. Needless to say, it was always packed! Finally, for the first time, everyone could visit the Bell Exhibition of the Legends of the Festival free of charge during the event, a delight for Festival fans who discovered the living History of Jazz, one that will continue to be written all around them in the years to come.
And the good news is that the pleasure shows no signs of ending! First, the Galerie Lounge TD moves back into its home quarters on the 2nd floor, preparing an array of visual wonders with exhibitions by Diane Dufresne, from August 16 to October 7 and Marcel Barbeau, from October 25 to December 23. Furthermore, music fans will be thrilled to learn that the Club de jazz du Balmoral will continue its program of free weekend concerts, that part of the new season of Jazz All-Year Round has already been announced, and that this year’s program is of exceptionally high quality. And that doesn’t include the goldmine of archives in the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse, which invites everyone to discover the audiovisual treasures of the Festival all year long, free of charge.
The world’s journalists descend on the Festival
As in every year, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal was firmly planted on the radar of local and international media. This year, the pressroom experienced an especially busy season, with 24 press events organized for journalists… and the pressroom itself being renamed in honour of one of its most loyal and prestigious friends: Michael Bourne, who has covered the Festival for over 20 years on the WBGO airwaves and in the pages of Downbeat, earning him this exceptional gesture of recognition from organizers. Over 400 accredited journalists, including 215 ambassadors of 163 medias from 21 countries, covered the event. Thus, the Festival was talked about in USA (CNN International, DownBeat Magazine, The New York Times, WBGO, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, Guitar Player Magazine, Jazz Times, Bloomberg, National Geographic World Music, The Hollywood Reporter, Sirius XM, Jazziz Magazine, All About Jazz, Monarch Magazine, Jazzwise, Mountain Lake PBS, Voice of America, Premier Guitar, Jazz Hot, KALW, The Andovers / The Eagle Tribune, The Couch Session.com, Time Square, The Bluffton Sun, Fingerstyle 360, Acoustic Guitar, The Advocate Weekly, SoundSpike, JazzINK.com / Jazz Police, Barre-Montpelier Times Argus / Rutland Herald, National Public Radio, JAZZed Magazine, Jazz Variations, WWPV. 88.7FM, OffMetro.com, The Bay State Banner, Portland Daily Sun Newpaper, Epicurious Travelers, Relix Magazine, WWPV. 88.7FM, Natural Traveler, BIRN-Berklee Internet Radio Network, Greater Media Boston, Feast of Music, JohnnyJet / Snooth, Said the Gramophone, WLIS am/ WMRD am, Jazz Everyone, Magnet Magazine, Guitar Aficionado, Examiner.com / Yahoo, JAZZ.FM 91, Westchester Guardian Newspaper, Huffington Post, North of Boston Media Group, New England Public Radio, Travel Weekly, The Bay State Banner, Matador Network, WGBH, Travelandenjoymagazine.com, Off Beat Magazine, Fretboard Journal, Inside New York, KKJZ-FM 88.1, Michigan Chronicle Newspaper, Santa Barbara Independent, WGBH, J’Adore Magazine, Atlanta Tastemaker Magazine, Jazz Houston, High Times, WVOX, Aqui & Ajazz / MHz Networks), in France (Jam Palace, Plugged, laguitare.com, Radio France International, TSF Jazz, Les Inrockuptibles, Rolling Stone France, FIP Radio France, Open Mag, Modzik, Télérama, France Musique, Longueur d’ondes, Libération, PureChannel, Le Point, AFP, La Croix, SFR Musique, Le Hiboo), Mexico (Bleu&Blanc Travel Magazine, Radio Formula, El Economista, El Universal, Rumbo de Mexico, Horizonte Jazz 107.9 FM, Esquire Latinoamerica, MVS Noticias, Indie Rocks!, MVS Postales, La Jordana, Grupo Formula), Italy (Corriere della Serra, Il Mucchio Selvaggio), Germany (Jazzthetik, Grand Guitars, Ruhrjazz.net), UK (Drummer World, BBC, The Guardian, The Scotsman, Allways Traveler, Press Association, Acoustic Magazine, Bass Player, GCN Ireland, The Belfast Telegraph, The Wharf), Belgium (Le Soir, Jood Acttueel), Canada (Exclaim! Magazine, CJSR FM, Larscenic, CIJK Radio, OttawaJazzScene.ca, Travelandenjoymagazine.com, MSN.CA, Westworld Alberta, Saskatoon Express, WestJet’s Up! Magazine, National Post, CBC JAZZ Online, Spafax), Japan (Suono Dolce), Peru (Orbita Popular), Brazil (Record News, Folha de São Paulo), Russia (Zvuki.RU), Spain (Vanity Fair Spain), Australia (The Australian, Guitarist Australia, Futur Publishing), China (CCTV, CanadaJournal.com), Finland (Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE), South Korea (Joongang Daily Newspaper), Dubai (MBC satellite Television) and in Uruguay (Babel FM).
Thanks to our partners
We can never offer enough thanks to our precious public and private partners, who defray more than half the costs of this event. Without their support, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, now an event of global renown and prestige-this big, beautiful non-profit musical celebration-could not exist in this famous format, offering large-scale urban entertainment free of charge and generating impressive tourism spinoffs. We thank the Gouvernement du Québec-ministères du Tourisme, des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire, de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, as well as the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)-, the Government of Canada- Canadian Heritage and Canada Economic Development-as well as the Ville de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, the SACEM, the Fonds pour la création musicale and the Consulat général de France à Québec for their involvement. In terms of private sector support, we offer our warmest thanks to principal sponsor and official presenter TD as well as Rio Tinto Alcan, co-presenter of the Festival. Thanks also to Bell, Loto-Québec, the Société des Alcools du Québec, Heineken, SiriusXM, complexe Desjardins, Amarula, Astral, Hyatt Regency Montréal, Meyer Sound, Naya, Jura, Porto Cabral, Sopexa, Archambault, Yamaha Musique Canada, Fromages CDA inc., Häagen-Dazs, Galaxie and Pepsi-Cola. Thanks also to our media partners.
It’s a rendez-vous for the 34th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, which will be held from Thursday, June 28 to Saturday, July 7, 2013.
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