Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Montreal, Quebec, Canada; June 30-July 12, 2009

Lee Konitz

To mark its 30th anniversary, the Montreal Jazz Festival-a favorite among critics and musicians alike-got a significant facelift. Most conspicuous is the Maison du Festival, a new permanent headquarters for the festival that contains the press room, an audio-visual archive (containing 30,000 albums, 300,000 photographs and high-definition videos of past festival performances), a gallery-exhibit space (where photographer Herman Leonard had a show up of his jazz portraits from the ’40s and ’50s), a ground floor restaurant and adjoining terrace, rehearsal rooms for bands and an intimate 350-seat cabaret-style venue called L’Astral. A major multi-million-dollar renovation project, this seven-story facility, housed in the historic Blumenthal Building, is located in the heart of the downtown entertainment district (Quartier des Spectacles), just steps away from the festival grounds.

Another new addition this year is the impressive Place des Festival, a sprawling new plaza that was inaugurated on opening night by Stevie Wonder in a free outdoor concert that drew upwards of 150,000 people. All of this recent expansion represents a dramatic new leap in the continued growth the festival has experienced since its inception in 1980. “These significant gestures were made in order to protect and preserve the festival in its place so we can organize the events there forever,” said festival artistic director Andre Menard. “So we are very happy that the government agreed to help us.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published