It’s a wrap for the 42nd Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by the TD Bank Group in collaboration with Rio Tinto. Our team would like to thank the audiences who turned out in such large numbers to share unforgettable moments with family and friends. This year’s programming garnered applause for quality and scope—and not only from spectators. The artists also went out of their way to praise how widely accessible the Festival was; with two-thirds of its 350 concerts presented free of charge, this edition clearly showed our ongoing commitment to the community. As well, we must highlight the great success of the indoor shows, which were largely sold out: Ludovico Einaudi, Pink Martini and Woodkid were just some of the critically acclaimed events that delighted tens of thousands of spectators with performances, spectacular staging and music. Finally, with the newly inaugurated Club Montréal TD, this year the Festival reiterated a promise to showcase the great diversity of Montréal’s music scene, sharing the pride of seeing local artists evolve before our eyes as they took over the major Quartier des spectacles stages.
In front of a packed Place des Festivals, Tash Sultana kicked off the festivities with a show mostly in one-person-band format. This breathtaking performance showcased the great mastery of the Australian multi-instrumentalist, who played countless instruments of all kinds, employing her faithful loop pedal to create intoxicating melodies. Electro, pop, reggae, soul and jazz were blended in a brilliant fusion applauded by audience members as numerous as they were diverse.
A moment of high communion occurred during the Kamasi Washington show on July 2nd. Tens of thousands of spectators of all ages and tastes succumbed, letting themselves be transported by the groovy rhythms of this undisputed star of the Afro jazz revival. Accompanied by his orchestra The Next Step, Washington presented 90 minutes of his lush and passionate compositions, creating a true collective trance and confirming that jazz was reclaiming its Place at the Festival.
The song “Musica Popular de Verdun” set the TD Stage on fire during a fabulous tropical party to which the whole family was invited, masterfully led by Clay & Friends. Their Quebec funk hits “Bouge ton thang” and “Going up the Coast” went on to transform Place des Festivals into a true dance floor, an effect was enhanced by a helium-inflated shark and inflatable raft. It was a happy affirmation for the group’s current formation, which performed in front of the biggest crowd of its career.
Erected on the wide-open spaces of Place des Festivals, the TD Stage was the rallying point for large-scale encounters between artists and audiences. The series of unforgettable shows stood out for its bold and daring programming, serving as both an important springboard for discovery and a consecrated performance space for such giants as Lee Fields, Bran Van3000 and The Roots.
The Montreal music scene enjoyed pride of place throughout the Festival. The highly creative CRi drew a huge crowd to the Place des Festivals parterre for a dance concert that marked a historic moment for Quebec electronic music. The electrifying Malika Tirolien also made a remarkable appearance on the large TD Stage. And in the new Club Montréal TD space on the Place des Arts Esplanade, Lou Phelps, Leonie Gray, Fleece, Waahli, Jesse Mac Cormack, Hologramme, Barry Paquin Roberge, Fernie, Paul Cargnello & The Truth, EDDY, Salin and Busty and the Bass performed. Local artists Janette King, Sarah MK, Modlee and Magi Merlin all capably appropriated the Rio Tinto Stage on Promenade Maisonneuve, while The Liquor Store, The Shed and Urban Science Brass Band + Le Cypher found their audiences at M2. Singer-songwriter Odreii provided a solid opening act for Masego at MTELUS, as did Ouri, who opened for Arooj Aftab. Special mention also to the talents of Little Animal!, Anomalie, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Veeby and Daniel Bellegarde + Lilison di Kinara, who all brought accolades to the local scene with brio.
A new jazz generation made its mark on the Festival this year. Coming from a rich gospel lineage, Samara Joy, the young prodigy with a velvet voice, both honoured the history of jazz and infused it with contemporary energy. Multi-instrumentalist Louis Cole delivered his take on jazz-funk with a futuristic flavour during two shows, sometimes in Big Band version, at others in collaboration with the David Binney Trio. Also of note were sets from the superb Alfa Mist, with rhythms skillfully mixing hip-hop and jazz improvisation.
New this year, the TD Free Entry series gave access to 20 completely free-of-charge shows held in Le Studio TD. Performing there were the brilliant Keyon Harrold, Emma Frank, Laufey, Melanie Charles and Larnell Lewis, to name a few. Also, under the auspices of this free series Christina Beaudry-Cárdenas celebrated her triumph in winning the Prix Oliver-Jones, an award presented by the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, and a scholarship worth $5,000 offered by Stingray.
It should be noted that the Festival has multiplied its eco-responsible initiatives this year in order to help reduce its ecological footprint. These initiatives aimed to reduce waste and promote recycling and composting on the sites:
It should be noted that a portion of the Festival's initiatives were made possible thanks to the support of the Government of Canada through its Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions as part of the support initiative for major festivals and events. Support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions also enabled the Festival to improve its outdoor site with a new stage set design, which can be found in particular at Club Montréal TD, Traversée Molson Export and Fabrique Musicale Rio Tinto.
As one of Quebec’s major festivals, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal continues its shift towards environmental awareness to become an even greener event!