On June 30, The Montreal Jazz Festival returns to the concert halls and the streets of downtown Montreal after a two-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the world’s biggest jazz fest had some shows that streamed on line.
Last year it was a super mini edition of the fest over five days with mainly local acts and Hull born legendary producer Daniel Lanois headlining.
This year, the festival is back in its regular format except with one catch and there will be more free shows than ever.
There will be more Black representation at the festival than ever, considering that jazz and all of its musical offspring is a Black art form.
Vocalist extraordinaire Gregory Porter will perform on Canada Day, July 1, at La Maison Symphonique De Montreal.
Legendary jazz bassist Marcus Miller will perform the same day at Place Des Arts.
Jazz purist and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will perform on opening day at Place Des Arts as will incredible Toronto newcomer AHI ON THE Rio Tinto free stage.
Ravi Coltrane, son of the legendary John Coltrane will play an homage to his parents John and Alice on July 3rd.
The bold new faces of jazz will hit the stages as well when Robert Glasper tickles the ivories on July 6th and his frequent collaborator and sax god Kamasi Washington spins his magic on July 2nd at the TD stage.
Funkmeisters Mono Neon (a wunderkind on the electric bass) and Me’shell Ndegeocello (no slouch on the same instrument herself) will do their thing on July 5th and July 1st respectively.
Veteran soul singer Lee Fields takes to the stage on July 4th as will the golden voice of Corinne Bailey Rae.
Hip-hop will be represented by heads favorite Joey Bada$$ as well as Cadence Weapon, Witch Prophet and Tobi.
Montreal artists will be in the hizzy as well with award-winning singer Dominique Fils-Aime, Hanora, The Jireh Gospel Choir and Ranee Lee will all electrify their audiences at the festival as well.
Lee’s show in particular will be interesting as she performs songs off of her lastest album which does renditions of Celine Dion songs in swing. I recently caught one of Lee’s shows recently in Dorval as part of Le Festival De La Voix and her voice is still in tip top shape.
There will be plenty other innovative Black artists at the festival as well like, Moor Mother, Naomi, Terri Lyne Carrington, Serpentwithfeet, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Alfa Mist, Immanuel Wilkins, Dan Wilson, The Joy Lapps Project, Veeby, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Cecile McLorin Salvant and a host of others.
The highlight of course will be the free show by legendary hip-hop band The Roots who will close the fest on July 9th with a free show.