Hot summer evenings, filled with jazz, are made for cruising
One of the best ways to enjoy the 10-day Montreal International Jazz Festival, which kicks off June 25, is to cruise from one outdoor stage to another on a hot summer’s evening for the free open-air concerts.
The schedules are posted on columns scattered around the festival site that stretches from Jeanne Mance to St. Laurent, Ste. Catherine to de Maisonneuve. You can also consult the festival website and your daily newspaper for the day’s schedule.
The more serious listening happens at the ticketed indoor concerts where there is a tremendous array of choice, a lot of it not jazz at all.
To assist in your choices, here are our suggestions from the jazz roster:
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
• Alto saxophonist David Binney bristles with energy and edgy ideas, 6 p.m., Gesù, 1200 Bleury.
• New flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia dazzles, with dancers, 7 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier.
• Pianist Brad Mehldau, a poetic melodist steeped in tradition, 10:30 p.m., Gesù.
SUNDAY, JUNE 26
• Battle of the Bands presents the reconstituted Glen Miller and Artie Shaw orchestras in “competition,” 2 p.m. Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier.
• Veteran pianist George Wein with Newport All Stars, 6 p.m., Gesù.
• Pianist Brad Mehldau with saxophonist Joshua Redman, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve.
• Israeli-born clarinettist Anat Cohen, a musical delight, leads a quartet, 10:30 p.m., Gesù.
MONDAY, JUNE 27
• Acclaimed pianist Geri Allen features tap dancer Maurice Chestnut, 6 p.m., Gesù.
• Rising star Esperanza Spalding sings and plays bass with edgy pizzaz, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve.
TUESDAY, JUNE 28
• A near-perfect trio features saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jeff Ballard, 6 p.m., Gesù.
• Gypsy Roma Urban Balkan Beats (GRUBB), with dancing, Centre Pierre Péladeau, 300 de Maisonneuve E. till July 2.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29
• Bassist Dave Holland leads his quintet with virtuosos Robin Eubanks (trombone) and Chris Potter (saxophones), 8 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe.
• Sax stars Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green strut their stuff, 10:30 p.m., Gesù.
THURSDAY, JUNE 30:
• Superb Canadian vocalist Holly Cole, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve.
• Oud master Anouar Brahem, with bassist Dave Holland and saxophonist John Surman, 8 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe.
FRIDAY, JULY 1
• Oud master Anouar Brahem meets sublime pianist François Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier, 8 p.m., Théâtre Jean-Duceppe.
• Virtuosos accordionist Richard Galliano meets Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve.
SATURDAY, JULY 2
• Bassist Michel Donato salutes the music of Bill Evans, in a quartet with pianist François Bourassa, 6 p.m., L’Astral.
• Teenage sensation Nikki Yanofsky of Hampstead sings with the Orchestre Métropolitain, 7 p.m. Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier.
• Pianist Oliver Jones salutes Oscar Peterson, in a trio, Théâtre Maisonneuve, 9:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 3
• Saxophonist Jean-Pierre Zanella salutes conga player Don Alias, in a septet with bassist Gene Perla, pianist Steve Amirault, 6 p.m., L’Astral.
• Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck struts his stuff with the Flecktones, Théâtre Maisonneuve, 9:30 p.m.
For input and comments, contact Irwin Block, email@example.com