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Press release for immediate distribution

A happy new year indeed!

Coral Egan, Habib Koité & Bamada, Kiran Ahluwalia, Guy Bélanger, Mônica Freire, Puerto Plata, the François Richard Nouvel Orchestra with Mark Feldman, and the Yves Léveillé Sextet with Eri Yamamoto

Montreal, Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - Ringing right in tune with the musical richness and diversity that await us this summer in the 30th anniversary of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the Jazz All-Year Round series, presented by General Motors, adds a slate of new concerts to its program. Here are eight new opportunities to dive back into the sounds we love, featuring the finest ambassadors of jazz and its musical cousins! Tickets go on sale this Saturday, January 17 at noon.

Yves Léveillé Sextet with special guest pianist Eri Yamamoto from New York - February 11, 7:30 p.m., Savoy du Métropolis - Montreal pianist and composer Yves Léveillé met New York pianist Eri Yamamoto in the Big Apple in 2004. This concert for two pianos and instrumental ensemble presents a reunion of these two magnificent musicians. Also featuring Aron Doyle (trumpet), Roberto Murray (alto and baritone sax), Frank Lozano (soprano and tenor sax), Marc Lalonde (double bass) and Ugo Di Vito (drums).

François Richard Nouvel Orchestra with Mark Feldman - February 13, 8 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - The François Richard Nouvel Orchestra offers up jazz as modern as it is romantic. Onstage, the outfit presents pieces from the Nouvel Orchestra album as well as new compositions by flautist François Richard. The 13-piece orchestra will be joined by renowned violinist Mark Feldman, appearing as a soloist and also directing the string section. A member of John Abercrombie’s group, the guest of honour has previously played with such artists as John Zorn, Chris Potter, Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano, as well as leading his own ensemble.

Puerto Plata - February 27, 8 p.m., Savoy du Métropolis - Born in 1923, singer-guitarist Jose Manuel Cobles, alias Puerto Plata, recorded his first album in… 2006! At the very least, we know this music was ripe for the picking! Indeed, it was worth the wait: his blend of merengue, ranchera, gauracha, and bolero is simply irresistible! La Presse reserved a spot for Mujer de Cabaret on its list of the 10 best world music albums of 2008. A rare survivor of the golden age of the bachata, Puerto Plata is, despite his 85 years, a fountain of youth, delivering a music of undeniable authenticity and sensuality! Rest assured, he arrives with a sense of purpose, doubly ready to celebrate with us on this, the National Day of his native Dominican Republic!

Coral Egan - March 6, 8 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité - Jazz, R&B, folk, pop, soul, reggae-Coral Egan has explored them all, and it’s that eclectic approach to music that has shaped the sound on two albums helmed by Charles Papasoff: My Favorite Distraction and its successor, Magnify, whose high-calibre production has impressed many. Coral’s is a unique, hybrid style, accented by bittersweet melodies brightened by a healthy dose of humour and observation. Her incredibly personal songs have lyrics to match, and while firmly rooted in her jazz heritage, Coral incorporates such a wealth of sounds on her recordings that pigeonholing her to a particular genre is difficult. Accompanied by four top-flight musicians-Al Baculis (bass), Jay Atwill (guitar and vocals), Malka Tirolien (piano and vocals) and Sam Harrisson (drums)-Egan returns after her acclaimed performance at last summer’s Festival!

Guy Bélanger - March 7, 8 p.m., Lion d’Or - After firing up the place with his harmonica last October, Guy Bélanger returns to the scene of his triumph, the Lion d’Or! An intense and brilliant harmonica player with a 30-year career, Guy Bélanger has starred alongside Bob Walsh, Les Colocs and such legends as Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor. Over the last few years, we’ve enjoyed his work on soundtracks from his brother Louis’ films (Post Mortem, Gaz bar blues-winner of a Jutra award in 2004-and, most recently, The Timekeeper). And now, the time has come for him to take centre stage with his own debut solo album, very well-received upon its release in early 2008, a blend of folk and blues featuring his own songs and covers of Lyle Lovett and Marc Broussard.

Spirit of Brazil - March 10, 8 p.m., Métropolis - This musical heat will be especially appreciated in early March! These ambassadors of Brazilian music-including artistic director Mônica Freire, Margareth Menezes, Mart’nália, Rodrigo Maranhão and Celso Fonseca-summon springtime to the beat of rhythms as hot as they are suave! Accompanied by fiery dancers and a blazing house band featuring seven musicians from Canada, France and Brasil, they’re guaranteed to whip up the blood of everyone in Métropolis! Bom dia Brasil!

Kiran Ahluwalia - March 13, 8 p.m., Savoy du Métropolis - She was an enchanting presence at the 25th anniversary of the Festival. Originally from northern India, a former Torontonian turned New Yorker, Ahluwalia bewitched us then with an album that had already earned her a Juno in the World Music category. She returns with Wanderlust, also nominated for a Juno in 2008. A superb album melding gentle Saharan rhythms, the nostalgia of Portuguese fado and the languourous sung poetry of Indian love ghazals, this is a sound that truly merits the title World Music.

Habib Koité & Bamada - April 14, 8 p.m., Club Soda - According to Rolling Stone, this guitar virtuoso is “the biggest pop star in Mali”, while Bonnie Raitt, with whom he sang a duet, compared him to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn! This modern griot, long considered one of Africa’s best-kept secrets, ranks today as one of contemporary music’s major figures. Inspired by the diverse cultures of different Malian regions, he and his group Bamada made up for a 6-year recording absence with last year’s magnificent Afriki (the Bambara name for Africa), singing of his continent and the challenges that face it.

Please be advised that tickets remain for these previously announced concerts in the Jazz All-Year Round series:

F. - à Léo, Tribute to Léo Ferré, from a concept developed by Roberto Cipelli, with Roberto Cipelli, Attilio Zanchi, Philippe Garcia and the special participation of Gianmaria Testa and Paolo Fresu (February 18, Métropolis)

Pacifika (February 19, Savoy du Métropolis)

Intakto (February 21, Club Soda)

SFJAZZ Collective with Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Miguel Zenón, Robin Eubanks, Renee Rosnes, Matt Penman and Eric Harland (February 27, Métropolis)

Five Peace Band with Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett and Brian Blade (April 28, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA)

Diana Krall (May 6 and 7, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA)

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 ninth year in a row, by reinvesting its surpluses in the presentation of special concerts in 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 recognizes the support of Bell, partner in the series, as well as the Hyatt Regency Montréal, official hotel of the Jazz All-Year Round series.

Exclusive Spectra Newsletter pre-sale

Subscribers to the Spectra Newsletter now have exclusive access to tickets via the Internet, but only until Friday, January 16 at 5 p.m. To subscribe, simply visit montrealjazzfest.com.

Tickets go on sale Saturday at noon

Tickets for these shows go on sale this Saturday, January 17 at noon. They will be available at Métropolis (59, Ste. Catherine Street East), through Ticketpro-ticketpro.ca, 514 908‑9090 or 1 866 908‑9090-excluding those concerts presented at Place des Arts, which will be available at 514 842‑2112, at 1 866 842‑2112 or at laplacedesarts.com. Tickets for concerts at the Gesù - Centre de créativité and Lion d’Or will be available from admission.com (514 790-1245); tickets for concerts at Lion d’Or will also be available at Billetterie Articulée, 514 844-2172. For further information, call the Bell Info‑Jazz Line at 514 871‑1881, toll-free at 1 888 515‑0515, or visit montrealjazzfest.com.

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