It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month since the 33rd annual Jazz Festival in Montreal. The can’t-miss festival always brings together an astounding array of talented musicians with ten days of remarkable performances. Showcasing the many forms of jazz, from classic ensembles to contemporary methods fusing neo-soul, rap and electronica, this festival remains one of the best and biggest jazz festivals in the world. With a roster of artists from several continents converging in the art district of Montreal, you are guaranteed to find numerous acts that will satisfy your musical preferences.
This year’s event featured Liza Minnelli, Seal, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Nora Jones to name a few. But one thing I love about the festival is getting the opportunity to find out about new artists, hear them live and then leave with a new CD to play, and this year’s acts certainly diversified my iPod playlist.
R&B artist Janelle Monáe performed to a sold out crowd, Japanese-American rapper, Lyrics Born, rocked the house with his renditions of James Brown hits performed with a live band, and Montreal native Sarah MK showed off her soulful crooning skills which included a fusion of jazz, neo-soul, and rap.
Fans went wild for the electronica beats and light show by the Dutch band Nobody Beats the Drum, while both the musically adventurous Colin Vallon Trio and English folk singer Piers Faccini pleased crowds with their unique interpretations of contemporary jazz. French vocalist and musician Médéric Collignon captivated the audience with his band’s performance by blending a bit of rock and funk to traditional sounds.
Rap definitely made its presence known at the festival with Philadelphia rapper Stalley of Maybach Music lighting up the stage, while the highly anticipated Deltron 3030 concert packed the massive Metropolis performance hall. Drawing out more than a thousand fans, Del the Funky Homosapien performed the entire 3030 album with producer Dan the Automator orchestrating and Montreal-born DJ Kid Koala spinning his signature sounds on the turntables.
Located on the eastern coast of Canada, Montreal is a vibrant city with historic flair and very easy to get around utilizing the city’s public transportation. The French-Canadian town gives off a charm that makes you feel like you are in a European country, while still maintaining a style all of their own. Montreal is artsy, fashionable and known for a diverse selection of street food, most notably a dish called poutine— crisp French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. So when you attend the Jazz Festival, touring around the city is a must between concert dates.
All in all, the Festival aims to showcase artists from around the world performing a number of different genres of music. Between the talented classical jazz musicians with longstanding careers, to new school artists fusing soul, rap and electronica, there is always something to learn, cherish and remember. If you haven’t been to the Montreal Jazz Festival yet, then you are due for a trip that is well worth the money, the time, and the memories you’ll bring home with you.
Start planning early for the 34th annual Montreal Jazz Festival on June 28th – July 7th, 2013. Can’t wait that long before visiting Montreal? Visit during February 21st – March 3rd, 2013 for the annual Montreal High Lights Festival and experience their Nuit Blanche (March 2nd) for an all-night cultural experience.