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Covering Two More Basses and Looking Forward

Russ Davis of MOJA radio on Day Four of the 2012 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal

On Sunday, the 1st of July, Canada Day, the Montreal Jazz Festival celebrated the fourth day of its 33rd year with an array of great shows exhibiting the usual variety of styles, offering something for any festival attendee of any age or persuasion. Canadian musical son Chris Tarry and his group, that’s made a name for itself after relocating to New York City, would return home for a triumphant show outdoors, while Dr. Lonnie Smith and his latest Trio would groove for the audience inside at the “Upstairs” club on Mackay Street. French vocalist Nina Attal would play two free sets on the giant Scene TD stage for the crowd gathered inside the plaza of the Place des Artes. Chris Botti, the smooth jazz trumpet star who has become a real favorite at the festival, would play for another sold out show at the Theatre Maisonnuve. The English new jazz group Get The Blessing, born out of the rock-turned-jazz movement from Britain would bring the music from their new album O C D C to the intimate setting of the Gesu Theatre, while at Club Soda the versatile Meshell Ndegeocello would bring who knew what this time to the stage with a young trio called Parc X Trio leading on for the late night set. I’d planned to see this one to top off my four days at this years festival but time and energy would not allow it as my early flight for the next day was looming and burning the candle at both ends finally ends the candle. It’s the wonderful nature of enjoying a festival like this one to the maximum.

I did have the chance to witness two more great shows to complete my investigation of the bass in modern jazz as I took in the Victor Wooten show at Club Soda and followed that with the last of four Stanley Clarke performances in his Invitation Series shows, this one featuring his own Stanley Clarke Band. First, I wanted to spend some time with an artist I hadn’t seen in a few years and one that I always look forward to visiting with, the great guitarist Larry Coryell, who was in Montreal for two different shows and, as I discovered, just happened to be staying in the same hotel as I. We caught up in my room for a most enjoyable hour of conversation that included his feelings about playing the Montreal Jazz Festival and festivals in general followed by some choice reminiscences including his time in Wayne Shorters band in the early 1990’s, the early days of the Jazz Fusion era with Chico Hamilton and Gary Burton as well as with his own great fusion band Eleventh House which included some of the great, hotshot players in the New York scene at the time. I pinned him down to give me his all-star band for a dream concert that will never happen and the choices were surprising. I look forward to sharing these and all his comments in special shows on my radio projects in the near future. Larry’s future included the salute to Miles Davis titled Miles Smiles on Monday night that would feature the all-star band of Wallace Roney, Joey DeFrancesco, Omar Hakim and Miles Davis alumi Bill Evans and Darryl Jones at the Theatre Maisonneuve. That’s one I would love to stay for but you can’t see and do everything you want to in this life. Oh well…maybe YOU can see it and tell ME how it was!

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