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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal: Gilad Hekselmann, John Benitez, Lucky Peterson & More

Second of two reviews by Sharonne Cohen on performances from the 32nd edition of festival held in Montreal on June 25 through July 4, 2011

Bootsy Collins performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
Blitz the Ambassador performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
The Doueh Group performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
The Gilad Hekselman Trio performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
John Benitez Group performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
Khaira Arby performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
Lucky Peterson performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
Trombone Shorty performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival
Nomadic Massive performing during the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival

The Gesù offered much in the way of quality and excitement, but there was so much other music to discover in other venues, not to mention the outdoor stages.

A few blocks west of the festival grounds is Montreal’s famed Upstairs jazz club, which hosted an excellent series, opening with the Gilad Hekselman Trio. This young, gifted guitarist, Israeli-born and NYC-based, locked in with Joe Martin on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums, mixing up standards (“Some Other Time”) with original material (“Suite for Sweets”) and tunes from his upcoming release Hearts Wide Open (“Brooze”). Hekselman played through complex harmonies with fluidity and lyricism, while not shying away from dissonant tensions that didn’t necessarily have predictable resolutions, keeping things fresh and exciting. His trio captivated the Upstairs’ attentive audience, offering Coltrane’s “Countdown” as an encore.

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