First let me say that in another of many days I’ve spent enjoying the wonders of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in the decade I’ve been attending this event the star of the show on this, the 5th day of this 10 day event was the inventive and forward thinking guitarist and composer Kurt Rosenwinkel. In world football they name the “Man of the Match” so on this day I’ll give my “MVP” or “Most Valuable Player” award to Kurt and tell you later of the wonders of his tremendously well-received appearance at The Theatre Jean-Duceppe, one of the beautiful indoor venues of the Place des Artes in the Montreal city center where the festival happens. This is saying something as each day is filled with a variety of engaging performances, indoors and out of doors, from Noon to well past midnight.
I found it impossible to attend more of the festival this year and had already missed Charles Lloyd playing his three “invitation series” concerts and receiving the prestigious “Miles Davis Award,” Greg Osby with Terri Lyne Carrington in a salute to Dexter Gordon, the gala 80th birthday celebration for Wayne Shorter, Jason Moran’s inventive celebration of Fats Waller with a modern twist, and performances by an array of all star names including Wynton Marsalis, Larry Goldings, Courtney Pine, Bill Frisell, Joshua Redman, Jacky Terrasson, David Murray, The Bad Plus, Barry Harris, Chucho Valdes and many more. I read an article in the Montreal Gazette by a local writer who lamented that jazz must be dead because the festival had turned it’s back on jazz and was programming too much non-jazz. There is certainly all kinds of music in the lineup, including purely pop music to give the non-jazz fan more reason to come sample “The Real Thing” and become a jazz fan, but I don’t know what list of shows he was looking at, or, better said, what list he WASN’T looking at. There was jazz of every kind and from most any region of the planet to enjoy.