There’s nothing off about this jazz fest
The jazz season begins unofficially in Montreal with the nine-day Off Jazz Festival October 7 to 15.
The numbers—27 concerts over nine days at nine venues—are only part of the story that makes this a must-visit festival for jazz lovers.
It offers a chance to hear the cream of Montreal’s most active musicians come together to present their latest in various settings, from contemporary to free-improv.
• Opening night, October 7, is a double bill at the venerable Lion d’Or dance hall with alto saxophonist Jean Derome’s trio, followed by a quintet featuring Argentinean-born Damian Nisenson on saxophone, with So Called (Josh Dolgin) on accordion. 1676 Ontario E., starting at 8 pm.
• Early birds can check out trios, quartets and quintets starting October 8 at the Dièze Onze club, 4115 St. Denis, 5-7 pm. Call 514-223-3543. Admission is free. Night birds can check out the Casa del Popolo, 4873 St. Laurent Blvd. at 10:30 pm. Admission is free for those who buy a festival pass ($90, covering all shows, or $60 for students and members of the musicians’ guild).
• Improv fans will flock to the Lion d’Or October 8 for two shows featuring French bassist Joëlle Léandre—first solo, then joined by eight top-flight players, including Lori Freedman (clarinet) and Jean René (viola).
• Pianist Marianne Trudel offers trio music October 9 at 7 pm at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, 1254 Mackay, followed at 9:30 pm by Toronto’s Tania Gill, with rising stars Lino Allemano (trumpet) and Nick Fraser (drums).
• Choral music with 55-member Element Choir Project led by vocalist Christine Duncan October 12 at St. Viateur d’Outremont Church, 183 Bloomfield St. 8 pm • Drummer/composer Thom Gossage launches his latest CD October 13 at 8 pm at Sala Rossa, 4848 St. Laurent, with saxophonists Remi Bolduc and Frank Lozano. • Don’t miss the Rémi Bolduc Ensemble October 14, 8 pm, at Sala Rossa, with appearances by tenor sax giants Phil Dwyer and Jerry Bergonzi.
• The wrap-up party October 15 at 8 pm features 11 musicians followed by a dance with DJs Andy Williams and Sweet Daddy Luv, at the Cabaret du Mile End, (formerly Club Soda), 5240 Park.