Press release for immediate distribution

The first concerts of the 31st edition of the Festival

Laurie Anderson-Lou Reed-John Zorn, George Benson, David Sanborn and Joey DeFrancesco, Harry Manx, Taj Mahal and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, along with John Scofield & The Piety Street Band

bring musical joy to your Christmas

along with new concerts in the Jazz All Year Round series…

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, December 12 at noon

Montreal, Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - Every year, thanks to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, Christmas reminds us… that we can’t wait for summer! That’s what happens when we unwrap the first concerts in what promises to be yet another rich, diverse and exciting edition! The 31st edition of Festival, presented from June 25 to July 6, 2010, is certainly no exception. And what better surprise than the magic of music under the Christmas tree! Better yet, all our secret Santas will receive a free copy of the souvenir book The Festival Under the Stars with every $150 purchase. Tickets for these concerts go on sale this Saturday, December 12 at noon.

David Sanborn and Joey DeFrancesco - June 25, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA - Renowned-read, worshipped-as one of the greatest alto saxophonists ever, New York’s David Sanborn has transcended genres and inspired an entire generation of musicians with a hybrid musical language of unequalled intensity, coloured by rock’n'roll, R&B, pop and jazz. He has left his mark on recordings by Bowie, Wonder, Springsteen and the Rolling Stones. Over 10 years after his last Festival appearance in 1998, memorable for his remarkable stagecraft and undeniable charisma, this unpredictable composer brings us a complex and captivating 24th album, with American organist Joey DeFrancesco.

Harry Manx band - June 28, 6 p.m. Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (En voix Rio Tinto Alcan series) - A Festival regular and the new darling of the blues scene-just ask those who packed his concerts in L’Astral last autumn-Canadian Harry Manx appears here for the first time in band format. Blending classical ragas and groovin’ blues, Manx created his own unique genre which he dubs “Mysticssippi”. He performs with an eclectic variety of instruments, from lap steel to banjo, from harmonica to his 20-string sitar, the mohan veena. For those who fell hard for his latest album, Bread and Buddha, remember that Marx is a passionate devotee of collaborations in all genres… and that he’ll quite likely have a few surprise guests up his sleeves…

Taj Mahal double bill with The Fabulous Thunderbirds - June 28, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes Bell series) - In this corner, the return of the charismatic Taj Mahal (born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks), whose late-’60s albums including The Natch’l Blues and Giant Step are forever touchstones in the history of blues. Two pseudonyms, one overarching authenticity… In the other, the legendary Texas group we haven’t seen here at the Festival for 18 years! Led as always by singer-harmonica player Kim Wilson, the group (which formerly counted Jimmie Vaughan and Duke Robillard as members) remains an irresistible, powerhouse party band blasting out blues-rock-R&B with contagious energy. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the house-rockin’ bash of the summer!

George Benson, An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole - July 1, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid‑Pelletier, PdA (Les Événements spéciaux TD series) - An illustrious guitarist, George Benson has been composing, interpreting and redefining pop, R&B and jazz standards for over 30 years. He’s won 10 Grammy Awards, watched his songs zoom to the top of the Billboard charts and sold records in record-breaking numbers-the unforgettable Breezin’ (1976) was the first jazz album to be certified platinum. In a Canadian exclusive, he presents An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole, a vibrant tribute to the legendary crooner. This unique concert presents the masterpieces of the Cole songbook alongside gold from the Benson repertoire.

Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and John Zorn - July 2, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Les Événements spéciaux TD series) - The lady is an avant-garde musician and performer with a dizzying, incredibly diverse list of collaborations to her credit: Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Bobby McFerrin, Jean Michel Jarre, Philip Glass, but also poet John Giorno, choreographer Trisha Brown, writer William Burroughs and surrealist actor-comedian Andy Kaufman. The first gentleman (her husband) changed the way popular music sounds and thinks with the Velvet Underground-whose incalculable influence redefined the music of the late ’60s-and went on to write a peerlessly literate and transformative songbook including the global smash Walk On the Wild Side. While these two are making their first visits to the Festival, they can count on the second gentleman as their guide, since American saxophonist John Zorn is making his fifth appearance chez nous. Together, they make up a most intriguing trio of musical explorer-improvisers the likes of which we seldom experience!

John Scofield & The Piety Street Band - July 3, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (En voix Rio Tinto Alcan series) - Considered by critics as one of the “big three” of contemporary jazz guitar-with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell-composer/instrumentalist John Scofield has been in constant evolution since the ’70s, racking up collaborations and projects with the titans of the genre, from Charles Mingus to Herbie Hancock. A Festival regular, he’ll perform this year with the Piety Street Band-formed by pianist Jon Cleary, drummer Ricky Fataar and bassist George Porter, Jr.-with whom he released the 36th album of his career last spring, Piety Street, a phenomenal critical and popular success, featuring his distinctive revitalization and reworking of blues and gospel.

New concerts in the Jazz All Year Round series

John Butler Trio - February 8, 8 p.m., L’Astral - A star in the land Down Under and immensely popular in France, guitarist and singer-songwriter John Butler began his ascent into the indie-folk-roots firmament in North America. A committed ecologist and staggering guitarist, Butler self-produces his albums on his own Jarrah Records label. In his first Festival visit last summer, he performed both solo and in a dup in an utterly packed Club Soda. This time, the versatile Australian steps up to the trio format-with Nicky Bomba on percussion and Byron Luiters on bass-to bring us music including songs from a (very) highly-anticipated new album, April Uprising, due in early 2010.

Molly Johnson - April 22 and 23, 8 p.m., L’Astral - She is considered one of the greatest vocalists in Canada. After captivating the country coast-to-coast with her pop repertoire, Molly Johnson also delighted the royals during a private command performance on the yacht Royal Britannia for the Prince and Princes of Wales, and sang for Nelson Mandela and Quincy Jones. Her 4th album, Lucky, released in 2008 in France and Canada, took home a 2009 JUNO Award for Best Vocal Jazz Album jazz vocal. Molly also received a 2009 National Jazz Award for Best Female Vocalist.

…and its Blue Wednesdays program

MonkeyJunk - February 10, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Spring 2008: Steve Marriner (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Tony D. (guitar, vocals) and Matt Sobb (drums) merge their talents to form MonkeyJunk-the name taken from a line by legendary bluesman Eddie James “Son” House, a pioneer in the genre. Six months later, the group collects a nomination from the Maple Blues Awards (with six more this year!). Next come Tiger in Your Tank, a debut album presented onstage during the 30th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Rockers almost as much as bluesmen, these three outstanding musicians have since piled on the live gigs, representing the country at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. L’Astral, get ready for revving guitars, blazing vocals and a dead-on groove.

John Campbelljohn - March 27, 8 p.m., L’Astral - Winner of a raft of prizes, including Best Canadian Slide Guitarist (Real Blues Magazine), Blues Artist of the Year (ECMA), Blues Recording Of The Year (ECMA) and the Dutch Mason Blues Award, presented to the best the Atlantic provinces have to offer, John Campbelljohn is an incontestable lap steel master who, more than anyone, incarnates the blues. His raw energy, original and eclectic repertoire, and fantastic mastery of slide guitar technique make him a force of nature onstage, a phenomenon who packs houses wherever he goes!

Previously announced concerts in the Jazz All Year Round series

At L’Astral

Carmen Consoli - January 6, 8 p.m.

Caravan Palace - January 8, 8:30 p.m.

Jill Barber - February 3, 8 p.m.

Django Reinhardt Festival - February 4-6, 8 p.m.

Emilie-Claire Barlow - February 13, 8 p.m.

Paul McCandless, Eri Yamamoto and Yves Léveillé in trio - March 4, 8 p.m.

Vinicio Capossela - March 8, 8 p.m.

Fortin-Léveillé-Donato-Nasturica - March 11, 8 p.m.

Po’Girl - March 13, 8 p.m.

Larry Coryell - March 23, 8 p.m.

MG3 - Montréal Guitare Trio and the California Guitar Trio - March 24, 8 p.m.

Susana Baca - April 24, 8 p.m.

Arthur H solo - April 29, 8 p.m.

At the Salle Pierre-Mercure

Nikki Yanofsky - December 11 (initially scheduled for November 11), 8 p.m.

At the Métropolis

Colin James - January 30, 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Jesse Cook, The Rumba Foundation - April 8 and 9, 8 p.m.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers - June 4 and 5, 7 p.m.

A totally jazzy Christmas!

From December 12 to January 8 (or from December 10 for dedicated Spectra Newsletter subscribers), fans will receive a free copy of the souvenir book The Festival Under the Stars (a $40 value) with every $150 ticket purchase (including concerts in the Jazz All Year Round series)!

(Offer valid at the L’Astral box office only, upon presentation of tickets purchased between December 12, 2009 and January 8, 2010 at any other point of sale. Quantities are limited.)

Tickets go on sale Saturday, December 12 at noon

Tickets for the 31st edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal go on sale Saturday, December 12 at noon and will be available from the Place des Arts box office (175 Ste. Catherine St. W.), at 514 842-2112 or from laplacedesarts.com. Tickets for the Jazz All Year Round series will be available from the L’Astral box office (305 Ste. Catherine St. W.), from the Festival’s central box office, located in Métropolis (59 Ste. Catherine St. E.), or from Ticketpro - ticketpro.ca, 514-908‑9090 or 1-866-908‑9090.

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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