Montreal Jazz Festival 2016

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I was on my way to see Cat Power at the Metropolis to kick off the Jazz Festival, but because of some paperwork issues (our fault)…it was not going to happen.  Probably for the best, as I’m allergic to cats.

I guess tonight was going to be all about outdoor shows and soaking in the atmosphere of one of Montreal’s most famous events.

At Montreal Rocks, we are passionate about music in our own city.  We capture moments on stage and immortalize them by describing the performance that only a select few are privy to experience.  We do this because we believe that music should not only heard, but rather felt and experienced in a communal slice of time.  Both our photographers and reviewers have a wide selection of musical tastes and preferences, but one thing we hold in common is the love of the evolution of music.  Wherever that evolution has taken you, you have to give credit to Jazz, whose name dates back to the term “jasm” meaning “pep, energy”.  Boasting 100 years of historic performers and sound, Jazz came out of New Orleans, but it really stems from African and European influences.  It’s interesting to note that the New Orleans birthplace is mainly attributed because of the Creole community, who are of colonial French or Spanish descent.  It’s that French connection that makes Montreal the perfect place to host the International Jazz Festival.

From June 29th to July 9th, 2016, Quartier des Spectacles is alive with music lovers from all corners of the world.  A large selection of paid indoor concerts are complemented by a non-stop flood of free outdoor shows sure to please lovers of any style of Jazz.

Montreal Jazz Festival Program

The first performance I witnessed was that of Sharon Jones, born in the same town as James Brown (Augusta Georgia).  With her band, the Dap-Kings and their soulfunk sound, they played to a full crowd bringing an energy reverberated from the 60s.

I normally would not bring up health problems, but since Sharon shared that she had cancer, beat it, but it has now returned, she made us realize what it means to be alive.  They say “Laughter is the Best Medicine”, but I propose that “Music is the Best Medicine”.  They definitely cured everyone from standing still disease.

Because I’m such a geek for marketing, I am always curious about the various sponsors.  We stopped by a TD Comfort Zone which allowed guests to sign out games, blankets, get sunscreen and sit in chairs.

The Hyundai VIP Salon offered a great view of the Scene TD.

It was the Turkish Airlines VIP Salon that really went all out, featuring Turkish Delight treats, Godiva Chocolate, amazingly friendly staff and a festive, yet classy décor.  With service this good, I can only imagine that flying on Turkish Airlines would be exceptional.

The Escale Turkish Airlines erected a large tent which features music, art, photography, and best of all, food from Turkey.  I’m looking forward to tasting some of the delicacies that Chef Fisun Ercan (Restaurant Su, Barbounya) will be preparing for us.  We met a few weeks ago and she was describing Turkish cuisine and how a family meal is part of their heritage.  I have to say that my mouth has been watering since that initial meeting, and since lamb is a feature of the cuisine…I’m ready!  Fisun’s Instagram page is cruel, as it makes me hungry instantly.

From the Escale Turkish Airlines, we heard a sound that was too good to pass up.  We made our way to see Angel Forrest (Angel’s 11) at the Bell Stage as we went for the 60s to the 70s in just a few hundred metres.  Angel was just at the Corona in March (review here), but a much larger crowd had gathered late in the evening, attracted to the sounds of rock and blues. Angel, whose been playing for 29 years (of course started at the tender age of 1) was winner for Female Vocalist of the Year for 3 years in a row at the Maple Blues Award.  Angel showed Montreal what her inner Janis Joplin can do.

Setlist (11:00 PM)

All The Way
Spoil Me Up
Touch Of My Hand
Hold On Tight
Let Me Go
Turn It Up

The first day of the festival was amazing, you don’t want to miss seeing some of the paid, and free outdoor shows in the next few days.  Come and taste the sounds of Jazz in a city that shares French roots with the birth of Jazz.

Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and Business coach with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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