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Preview of 2012 Montreal Jazz Festival

Russ Davis of MOJA Radio lays down his picks for the essential viewing and listening at the upcoming festival

Eliane Elias

I believe one could say without much hesitation that the advent of the jazz festival and the circuit that functions all over the globe has pumped more life into jazz than any other factor today. Every town and city of every size seems to have a jazz festival these days, one that they are very proud of that brings the cream of culture to their area for a given number of days and pumps money from sponsors and visitors into their local coffers. Everybody wins with a successful jazz festival and nowhere is this more of a fact than in the beautiful Canadian city of Montreal, Quebec where the 33rd edition is about to begin. I will be making my way to attend for the 9th year in a row and I’m happy to tell you why and give you a quick overview of some of the music that one could hear should they follow me to the “Can’t Miss” festival in one of the world’s great cities for culture.

Montreal is one of those cities that “got it” long ago, that culture means commerce. It isn’t called “The City Of Festivals” without reason. If it isn’t the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, which this year runs from Thursday, 28 June through Saturday, 7 July, then it’s their world famous Comedy Festival, or a theatre or dance event, other forms of music or any number of other great themed events which seem to occur every month or so during each and every year. When the dead of winter hits they just go underground to the beautiful venues around and inside the Place des Artes and party on! These guys know how to stage an event with panache. It’s the home of Cirque du Soleil as you may know and we all know how far that’s spread around the world. There’s a sense of theatre in the air all the time as each morning of the festival a second line parade a la Mardi Gras winds through the streets heralding the beginning of the day’s events that include hundreds of free shows on stages all within walking distance of one another. A festival attendee could spend the entire 10 days of the festival listening to music of every description from all over the world and hardly pay a penny except for the quality offerings in the gift and merchandise kiosks or topnotch food venues.

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