This year the ticketed concert series number a baker's dozen. Three at 6pm: Les Grands Concerts in Theatre Maisonneuve in the Place des Arts complex; Les Couleurs at the Spectrum and Guitar - Solo in Salle Gesu. Two at 7:00: Les Voix du Monde at Club Soda and the annual Invitation Series at the Monument National; Pleins Faux is an 8:30 series in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, the largest hall in Place Des Arts, there are three series with a 9:00 starting time, Jazz Beat at the Spectrum, Rythmes at Metropolis and Jazz Contemporain in the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum, Jazz Dans La Nuit is a 10:00 series in Salle Gesu while Jazz d'Ici is a 10:30 series at the Monument National. For night owls, there's the Les Nuits series at Club Soda and for film buffs, there's Cine-Jazz Soundtrack at 6:30 and 8:30 at the Cinematheque Quebecoise. The outdoor shows, in excess of 350 in number, will be announced in early June.
Here are some of the choice concerts:
Les Grands Concerts: The Brad Mehldau Trio (Larry Grenadier and Jorge Rossi) June 27, the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir under the direction of Trevor Payne, July 3, Toots Thielemans in tandem with Kenny Werner, July 4 and oud master Rabih Abou-Khalil, July 5. Others in this series: A Tabla Beat evening, Jane Monheit, Richard Galliano, Dianne Reeves and John Pizzarelli.
Les Couleurs: The marvellous Kelly Joe Phelps returns on June 29; Susie Arioli's Swing Band featuring the guitar of Jordan Officer can be heard on the 30th while the Blind Boys of Alabama can be seen on July 4. The others: Jorane, Omar Sosa, Orquestra Aragon, Daniel Lanois, Trilok Gurtu and J.J. Cale
Guitar - Solo: As the title suggests a series of solo guitar concerts, Larry Coryell (after too long an absence) June 27, Bill Frisell, June 29, John Scofield, June 30, Philip Catherine, July 3, Jim Hall, July 5 and Marc Ribot, July 6. The others Vernon Reid, Bireli Lagrene and Charlie Hunter.
Les Voix du Monde: Susanne Abbuehl, June 30 and Coral Egan, a local talent, July 1. The others in the series are Helena Noguerra, Eleni Mandell, Sidsel Endresen, Anne Ducros, Silje Nergaard, Sarah-Jane and, to no one's surprise, Norah Jones, this year's most hyped singer.
Invitation: This year the series is split between two Cuban pianists of note, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, four nights beginning June 27 and Chucho Valdes from July 3 through the 6th. Special guests in the series include [with Rubalcaba] Joe Lovano, June 28, and Charlie Haden and David Sanchez, 29th, [with Valdes] Kenny Barron, July 3, Ron Carter and Idris Muhammad, the 4th and Irakere, the 6th.
Pleins Feux: This is the priciest series [in the biggest hall] - topped at the $75.00 mark for Lauryn Hall (who?) on June 30th. The series kicks off on June 27 with a tribute to Miles and Trane by a group including Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove, Chick Corea plays a solo concert on July 5 and the closing, July 6, combines Dave Brubeck with Jim Hall, Toots Thielemans and Montreal classical violinist Angele Dubeau. Also in the series, Manhattan Transfer, Wynton Marsalis with a septet, Miriam Makeba and Omara Portunndo, Marianne Faithfull, and Lorraine Desmarais' Trio joined by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Jazz Beat: The superb Dave Holland Quintet with Chris Potter hits on June 28, Pat Martino makes what I believe is his Montreal debut on June 29 with Joey DeFrancesco in tow, and Archie Shepp, whose lip may be questionable, appears on July 4 with a great supporting cast, Roswell Rudd, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille. The rest: Marcus Miller, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Esbjorn Svensson trio and Jacky Terrasson.
Rhthmes: Not much in the way of jazz here: Angie Stone, Remy Shand, Sonora Carruseles from Columbia, Buju Banton, Kool and the Gang, Medeski, Martin & Wood joined by Charlie Hunter and Trilok Gurtu, Taraf de Haidouks and Steve Hill.
Jazz Contemporian: In order Ab Baars Trio, Rob Clutton, Patrick Brennan, Gideon Freudmann, Dazoque, Les Projectionnistes, Huun-Huur-Tu and Rene Lussier.
Jazz Dans La Nuit: Highlighted by appearances by Jack DeJohnette and John Surman, July 27, the Vienna Art Orchestra, June 28, Avishai Cohen and the International Vamp Band, July 3 and the James Carter Organ Trio, the 4th - the others Trovesi-Coscia, Eivind Aarset, Grace, Jean-Michel Pilc and Baptiste Trotignon, and Jon Hassell.
Jazz d'Ici: This one shows off some of the superb Canadian players, most of them based in Montreal, it deserves to be well attended. Christine Jensen's big band featuring her writing and her trumpet playing sister, Ingrid opens on the 27, the trio of one of my favourite pianists, Steve Amirault will be joined by the superb Joel Miller on tenor, June 28, pianist Jean-Francois Groulx, a "concours" winner hits with a quartet, June 29, the 30th it's another solid band, the Jefferson - Grant Quintet, led by Kelly Jefferson and Kelsley Grant, another excellent reedman Jean-Pierre Zanella is on July 1 followed on the 3rd by yet another reedman of note, Francois Carrier who will be joined by pianist Bobo Stenson, drummer Thom Gossage had one of the best CDs released in 2001, he's joined on the 4th by a Montreal favourite Dave Binney, the more contemporary sounds of Daniel Thouin are spotlighted on the 5th and reedman Francois Theberge brings in his Medium Band featuring pianist Alain Jean-Marie and Montrealers Yannick Rieu, Jean Frechette and Muhammad Abdul El-Khabyyr.
Cine-Jazz Soundtrack: Montreal pianists Jean Beaudet and Francois Bourassa will accompany the films show at 6:30 - Beaudet through July 1 with Bourassa taking over on July 3. The 8:30 series includes Shirley Clarke's "The Connection" starring Freddie Redd and Jackie McLean.
Les Nuits: For those who believe that scratching lps can be musical, a number of deejays with strange names and live music from people like Nils Peter Molvaer and names like De Phazz, Happy House, People Under The Stars and Herbaliser.
There you have a little something for just about everyone.