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Press release for immediate distribution

Beirut, Chris Botti, Jackson Browne, Pink Martini, Ornette Coleman Quartet, Maria Schneider, King Sunny Ade and Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, Wayne Shorter Quartet, The Lost Fingers, Gary Burton Quartet Revisited with Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez, George Wein and the Newport All-Stars, Battle of the Bands with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Harry James Orchestra…

30 Years of Diversity - Now!

Montreal, Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - This year, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal celebrates its 30th birthday! Three decades of showcasing jazz in all its forms, from the pure to the polychromatic, inspired by every style, absorbing every source… and in keeping with this protean music, the 30th edition of the Festival, presented by General Motors in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, offers a program of incredible diversity, with dedication to the utmost quality as its guiding principle. This first batch of indoor concerts captures the mood, from jazz fusion to American rock, with trips through free jazz, ’80s gypsy music, Afrobeat and visits from the music of Mexico and Eastern Europe. And remember that this is just a glimpse of the full program for this 30th edition of the Festival, which runs from July 1 to 12, 2009. Tickets for these concerts go on sale this Saturday, March 14 at noon.

A rainbow of jazz!

Gary Burton Quartet Revisited with Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez - June 26, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Pleins feux General Motors series) - While groups combining major jazz names come and go, few possess the intimate musical bond of this historic quartet led by vibraphonist Gary Burton. This innovative jazzman, whom Montrealers discovered in the ‘70s before the Festival had even been created, was a major force behind the ascension of jazz fusion and the jazz duo format so popular today. He welcomes bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Antonio Sanchez, as well as guitarist Pat Metheny-not simply one of the most beloved of Festival veterans, but one of the most important players in the history of this Festival, honouring us once again with his presence in this exceptional 30th anniversary pre-opening concert!

Chris Botti with orchestra - July 2, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Pleins feux General Motors series) -

After his 2006 visit and last year’s appearance during the Festival’s tribute to Leonard Cohen, American trumpeter Chris Botti returns to charm us anew. In his last concert, he transported us to Italia; in late March, he changes direction with Chris Botti in Boston, a new album and DVD. This summer, his suave trumpet finds an exquisite new setting, at the heart of an orchestra sure to bring new depth to the virtuoso’s pop-jazz interpretations.

Jackson Browne - July 11, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Pleins feux General Motors series) - The Festival finally welcomes legendary American rock singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, who brings his new show, Time The Conqueror, to the magisterial Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier this summer! A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2004) and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame (2007), with two of his albums ranked among Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest of all time, Browne will be accompanied by the loyal band he’s shared the stage with since 1993: Mark Goldenberg (guitar), Mauricio Lewak (percussion), Kevin McCormick (bass) and Jeff Young (keyboards). Expect to hear new songs from the 12th solo album that gives the tour its name, and of course the classics that forged his reputation over the past four decades!

Battle of the Bands starring the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Harry James Orchestra - July 12, 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Pleins feux General Motors series) - After last summer’s phenomenal success, get ready for the special closing-day event of the 30th edition featuring an all-new “Battle of the Bands”! The world’s swinginest big band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra led by Larry O’Brien, matches up against a most worthy adversary making its first-ever visit to Montreal, the Harry James Orchestra led by legendary trumpeter Fred Radke! Flashback to the great ballrooms of New York in the late ‘30s. Two legendary orchestras share the stage at the same time, battling it out for the honour of their incredible respective repertoires-no holds barred! And if some liberties are taken, if one orchestra poaches a signature tune or two-or even a musician!-from the other, it only adds to the fun!

Maria Schneider Orchestra - opening act: Julian Lage - June 30, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Les Grands concerts TD Canada Trust series) - The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra has existed for 15 years… and it shows! Credit not only the link forged by the passage of time together, but above all, the depth of the musical relationship. In her compositions, Schneider aims not only to transcribe the emotions within, but to give her musicians the space to faithfully concretize them in music! In return, she offers them graceful, sensitive solos showcasing her players at their finest. The resulting music-sometimes compared to Gil Evans or Duke Ellington-is so majestic, even magical, that one finds it impossible to categorize. Her latest album, Sky Blue, was awarded five stars by Downbeat. Opening the evening, guitar prodigy Julian Lage who has played alongside Gary Burton and Carlos Santana and arrives at the Festival with a fresh, exciting new album, Sounding Point.

Wayne Shorter Quartet- July 3, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Les Grands concerts TD Canada Trust series) - Whether solo or at the heart of groups including his own legendary Weather Report, Shorter has long since established himself as one of the true jazz greats, a musician who respects no limits or boundaries. High priest of spontaneity and freedom, virtuoso improviser, the saxophonist-composer has lived through over 40 years of musical exploration, having strolled every avenue and mapped tributary related to jazz, from classical to rock to electronica and beyond. Every visit he makes to this Festival is an event in and of itself!

Ornette Coleman Quartet - July 9, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Les Grands concerts TD Canada Trust series) - Fifty years into his career, this peerless jazz titan insists that we consider him not simply as a saxophonist and artist, but as a composer who confounds and obliterates every boundary. You’d think that, even on the threshold of his 80th spring, he still had a reputation to make! When you practically invented free jazz, when you alternate at will between sax, trumpet and violin, when you’ve established a “Sound Grammar” and shared the stage with the Grateful Dead, all without compromising your technicolour personality, no label would even dare stick to you! Ornette Coleman resting on his laurels? Come on: he’s far too young for that! It’s a long-awaited return for a living legend who last played the Festival in 1988!

George Wein and the Newport All-Stars with Lew Tabackin, Randy Sandke, Howard Alden, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash - July 10, 8 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, PdA (Jazz Beat TD Canada Trust series) - For its 30th anniversary, the Festival decided to invite and pay tribute to the “father” of all jazz festivals, the man who started it all with the creation of the Newport Jazz Festival 55 years ago! Producer, promoter and pianist George Wein’s masterstroke idea takes the Newport message on the road, calling together the greatest jazz names from his festival to visit the four corners of the globe as an all-star group guaranteed to thrill fans of the genre! For its “Montreal edition,” the group builds out from its founder on piano to include Howard Alden (guitar), Lew Tabackin (tenor sax), Randy Sandke (trumpet), Peter Washington (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums).

The Lost Fingers - July 4, 6 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes Bell series) - Last year, they were the talk of the Festival, not to mention the rest of Quebec! A strange and exhilarating blend of Django Reinhardt (referenced in the trio’s name) and Samantha Fox, the crazed sound of The Lost Fingers is an unhinged and inspired musical anachronism! Virtuoso musicians in love with gypsy jazz and the kitschy hits of a zany decade, they’re back to surprise us and shake up our summer with songs from their debut album, Lost in the 80s.

King Sunny Ade and Femi Kuti & The Positive Force - July 5, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes Bell series) - The imperial star who got all of Africa dancing returns to Montreal, 17 years after his last visit to the Festival! And fair warning: the music of this Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist, master of Afrobeat and king of juju-Yoruban music-which he modernizes dramatically, is quite simply the sound of summer itself on a concert stage! The double bill continues with the incandescent Femi Kuti, worthy son of the father of Afrobeat, and currently so hot in Europe that booking him for the Festival was no mean feat. It’s always a pleasure to see him again… especially when he bears the gifts of a new album, Day by Day, and an all-new show!

Beirut - opening act: The Dodos - July 11, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes Bell series) - Zach Condon swears he’s 23, but you might think he was all of 16 to look at him. It’s just the first of his paradoxes, leading into the larger one: the music of Beirut, a harmonious blend of Eastern Europe, American popular music, folk, accordion, ukulele… With influences ranging from The Smiths through Yves Montand and Balkan folk, the Texan had already cast a spell over the indie scene with a pair of albums when he returned with a double EP: March of the Zapotec takes his band through the influences of Mexico, while Realpeople-Holland works out his electronica side. Opening the evening, The Dodos, two strange birds from San Francisco whose Visiter syncopates the sounds of guitar and xylophone…

Two added shows

Jeff Beck - July 6, 6 p.m. (added show) and 9:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Pleins feux General Motors series) - It’s no secret-tickets for the first-ever Montreal appearance by this legendary English guitarist are going faster than a Jeff Beck solo! Now, thanks to this additional performance, you’ve got one last chance to snap them up! Since the ’60s, this sonic adventurer has been on a quest for the musical unknown, refusing to repeat the sounds of his predecessors, aiming instead to redefine his instrument. Small wonder that he succeeded Eric Clapton in the legendary Yardbirds, alongside Jimmy Page; that he founded a group bearing his name-with a certain Rod Stewart on vocals; that he was one of the progenitors of distortion, feedback and the fuzzbox; or that in 1975, he shattered the boundaries of rock to explore jazz fusion. The result: Blow by Blow and Wired, two astonishing albums that figured among the bestsellers of their era. It’s also no surprise that Jimi Hendix lauded him, that Rolling Stone ranked him as the 14th greatest guitarist of all time… and that genuine guitar fiends can’t wait until he plugs in this July 6!

Pink Martini and Orchestra - July 7 and 8 (additional show), 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Pleins feux General Motors series) - It’s the return of Pink Martini, accompanied this time by a 51-piece orchestra! Swing, jazz, classical, pop, every kinda music-and every kinda language!-are welcomed by these 10 multicultural citizens of the world. This highly democratic group-named Pink Martini “because it sounded festive and fabulous”-tours the world to SRO audiences, every member contributing a certain something, an aspect of his own cultural personality, with a single common goal: enjoyment! Definitively irresistible, utterly refreshing, they serve up a powerhouse musical cocktail. Consume without moderation! By popular demand, a show has been added for July 8 at 7:30 p.m.

And don’t forget these previously announced concerts

Add the above concerts to those already announced as part of the 30th program of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, tickets already on sale (visit montrealjazzfest.com for info): Susie Arioli; Dave Holland / Gonzalo Rubalcaba / Chris Potter / Eric Harland; Buddy Guy / Susan Tedeschi; Melody Gardot; Chucho Valdés Quintet; Madeleine Peyroux; Patricia Barber; Kenny Garrett; Stefano Bollani and Enrico Rava.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, March 14 at noon

Tickets for these shows go on sale this Saturday, March 14 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.

To get the jump on the crowd, sign up for the Spectra Newsletter and have the scoop on the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal emailed to your inbox. 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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