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The Montreal Jazz Festival: Jazz All Year Round

Sharonne Cohen reviews shows by Femi Kuti, Charlie Hunter, Ibrahim Maalouf and other artists appearing in shows presented by festival

Ibrahim Maalouf at Le Savoy in Montreal on May 17, 2011
Yael Naim at L'Astral in Montreal on May 7, 2011

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is as global as the multicultural metropolis hosting it. Its Jazz All Year Round series, presented throughout the off-season (August to May), features a consistent range and diversity of artists, showcasing local talent as well as music from around the world. “Our main goal is to attract as many people as possible,” explains Caroline Johnson, who programs the festival’s World Music – one of five programmers, each responsible for a different genre. “We want audiences to discover jazz; when we present World music, folk, pop and blues, we hope the people who attend these concerts will also get into jazz.”

During the frigid Montreal winter the Jazz All Year Round series presented artists as varied as The Wood Brothers (bassist Chris of Medeski Martin and Wood and vocalist-guitarist brother Oliver); Montreal folk-rock singer Colin Moore; Montreal-based singer Susie Arioli; Armenian-born piano prodigy Tigran Hamasyan; Toronto vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow; Montreal guitarist Jordan Officer on a double bill with American singer Stacey Kent; Moroccan-Parisian singer-songwriter Hindi Zahra; Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia; and Acoustic Africa – three extraordinary African guitar virtuosos: Malians Habib Koité and Afel Bocoum and Zimbabwean Oliver Mtukudzi.

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