Press release for immediate distribution

2018 Festival Awards

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal honours
George Thorogood, Zakir Hussain, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Renee Rosnes,
Ben Harper and Ry Cooder

Montreal, Tuesday, May 29, 2018 — This year, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal highlights the exceptional contributions to music made by George Thorogood, Zakir Hussain, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Renee Rosnes, Ben Harper and Ry Cooder. During this 39th edition of the Festival, our winners will be presented, respectively, with the B.B. King Award, Ella Fitzgerald Award, Miles Davis Award, Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, Oscar Peterson Award and Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award.

2018 B.B. King Award: George Thorogood

George Thorogood is the fifth recipient of the B.B. King Award, created in 2014 for the 35th edition of the Festival to honour and recognize the exceptional talent of an artist who has left an indelible mark on the blues scene. Shot to fame in 1977 with their self-titled and now-classic debut album, George Thorogood and the Destroyers have released a total of 16 studio albums—including six gold and two platinum discs—and amassed an unmatched catalogue of hits that includes I Drink Alone, Move It On Over, and the ultimate badass anthem, Bad to the Bone. But it was their powerhouse live performances that made the band legendary: from opening for the Rolling Stones to their own record-breaking 50/50 tour, or any of their current 100+ shows per year, George and his longtime band remain among the most relentless and relevant classic blues-rock acts on tour today. George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Rock Party Tour 2018.Opening act: Jordan Officer. July 1st, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA, June 27, 7:30 p.m.(Événements spéciaux TD series). George Thorogood succeeds to Charlie Musselwhite (2017), Taj Mahel (2016), James Cotton (2015) and the artist in whose name the trophy was created, B.B. King (2014).

2018 Ella Fitzgerald Award: Ben Harper

Ben Harper is the 20th recipient of the Ella Fitzgerald Award, established in 1999 for our 20th anniversary and conferred in recognition of the versatility, improvisational originality and quality of repertoire of a singer renowned on the international scene. Creator of a hybrid style tinged with blues, folk and rock, Ben Harper conquered a global audience armed with his slide guitar—his favourite instrument—his remarkable voice, and lyrics marked by a deep social relevance. Bursting onto the scene in 1994 with his debut, Welcome to the Cruel World, he has gone on to release fifteen albums, including Fight for Your Mind and Burn to Shine, two of his biggest hits. Winner of three Grammy Awards, he’s performed in wide-ranging collaborations with artists from Radiohead to Marilyn Manson to Charlie Musselwhite, with whom he has released two blues albums. Ben Harper. Opening act: Delgres. July 3rd, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA, 7:30 p.m. (Événements spéciaux TD series). In accepting the prize, Ben Harper will be following previous Lizz Wright (2017), Gregory Porter (2016), Erykah Badu (2015), Diana Ross (2014), Holly Cole (2013), Liza Minnelli (2012), Sade (2011), The Manhattan Transfer (2010), John Pizzarelli (2009), Aretha Franklin (2008), Harry Connick, Jr., (2007), Etta James (2006), Al Jarreau (2005) Tony Bennett (2004), Bobby McFerrin (2003), Dianne Reeves (2002), Diana Krall (2001), Dee Dee Bridgewater (2000) and Diane Schuur (1999).

2018 Miles Davis Award: Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones will be the 25th recipient of the Miles Davis Award, created for our 15th anniversary in 1994 to honour a great international jazz musician for the entire body of his or her work and for that musician’s influence in regenerating the jazz idiom. Formed in 1988, the quartet of Béla Fleck (banjo), Victor Wooten (bass), Futureman (drums) and Howard Levy (piano, harmonica) has won six Grammy Awards, toured the world and released ten albums selling millions of copies. Renowned for their bottomless creativity, fiery concerts and a unique style steeped in jazz, classical music, bluegrass, African music, electric blues and even East European folk, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones rank as one of the most innovative groups on the global music scene, challenging the limits of jazz and driving the music off the beaten track. Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Opening act: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio. July 1st, Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA, 8 p.m. (Les Grands concerts Rio Tinto series). Béla Fleck and the Flecktones follows Jack DeJohnette (2017), Kenny Barron (2016), Al Di Meola (2015), Terence Blanchard (2014), Charles Lloyd (2013), Ron Carter (2012), Stanley Clarke (2011), Sonny Rollins (2010), Ornette Coleman (2009), McCoy Tyner (2008), Mike Stern (2007), Brad Mehldau (2006), Dave Holland (2005), Keith Jarrett (2004), Joe Zawinul (2003), Chick Corea (2002), Michael Brecker (2001), Charlie Haden (2000), Cassandra Wilson (1999), John Scofield (1998), Herbie Hancock (1997), Wayne Shorter (1996), Pat Metheny (1995) and John McLaughlin (1994).

2018 Antonio Carlos Jobim Award: Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain is the 15th recipient of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, created for the Festival’s 25th anniversary to honour artists distinguished in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz and cultural crossover is widely recognized. Zakir Hussain is today appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon and one of the greatest musicians of our time. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, and as one of India’s reigning cultural ambassadors. Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Zakir’s contribution to world music has been unique, with many historic collaborations. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study. Zakir Hussain. July 4th, Maison symphonique de Montréal, 7 p.m. (Le Festival à la Maison symphonique series). As winner of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, Zakir Hussain follows in the footsteps of Buika (2017), Lila Downs (2016), King Sunny Ade (2015), Paco de Lucía (2014), Amadou & Mariam (2013), Emir Kusturica (2012), Youssou N’Dour (2011), Richard Bona (2010), Toots & The Maytals (2009), Gilberto Gill (2008), Angélique Kidjo (2007), Salif Keita (2006), Khaled (2005) and Ibrahim Ferrer (2004).

2018 Oscar Peterson Award: Renee Rosnes

Renee Rosnes is the 30th artist to receive the Oscar Peterson Award, which is presented posthumously. This prize was created on the 10th anniversary of the Festival in 1989 to salute a Canadian musician who has made outstanding contributions to jazz in this country and for the quality of his art. Born in Canada, Renee Rosnes was drawn to classical music before turning towards jazz and New York in the early ’80s. Since then, the pianist has released 15 albums, taking home five Juno Awards. Alongside her long and brilliant solo career, the artist has joined in prestigious studio and onstage collaborations with such luminaries as Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter and James Moody, not to mention her roles as a musical director and jazz journalist. Renee Rosnes undeniably ranks among the most important pianists and composers of her generation. Renee Rosnes. July 4th, Maison symphonique de Montréal, 7 p.m. (Le Festival à la Maison symphonique series). As recipient of the Oscar Peterson Award, Renee Rosnes follows in the footsteps of Christine Jensen (2017), Karen Young (2016), Jim Galloway (2015), Ron Di Lauro (2014), Alain Caron (2013), Peter Appleyard (2012), Jean‑Pierre Zanella (2011), Don Thompson (2010), Susie Arioli (2009), Dave Young (2008), François Bourassa (2007), Yannick Rieu (2006), Bernard Primeau (2005), Diana Krall (2004), Kenny Wheeler (2003), Lorraine Desmarais (2002), Moe Koffman (2001), Charles Biddle (2000), Maynard Ferguson (1999), Guy Nadon (1998), Rob McConnell (1997), Nelson Symonds (1996), Michel Donato (1995), Paul Bley (1994), Fraser MacPherson (1993), Vic Vogel (1992), UZEB (1991), Oliver Jones (1990) and, of course, Oscar Peterson (1989).

2018 Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award: Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder is the 11th recipient of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award. This award underlines a popular artist’s extraordinary contribution to the musical world. For nearly 50 years, the immense scope and influence of Ry Cooder’s music has been felt as much, or more than heard. As a master musician, producer, songwriter, the California native has explored music and culture from across the country and around the world. Cooder’s solo work draws upon many genres. He has played with Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison and Neil Young. He also produced the Buena Vista Social Club album (1997), Cooder was ranked eighth on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Ry Cooder. Opening act: Joachim Cooder. June 29, Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA, 8 p.m. (Les Grands concerts Rio Tinto series).  As recipient of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award, Ry Cooder follows in the footsteps of Michael Bourne (2017), Brian Wilson (2016), Elvis Costello (2014), James Taylor (2012), Robert Plant (2011), Smokey Robinson (2010) Stevie Wonder (2009), Leonard Cohen (2008), Bob Dylan (2007) and Paul Simon (2006).

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