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Thread: AAJ Review: 2019 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: 2019 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

    My review of the first five nights at this year's Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, today at All About Jazz.

    Forty years. Not a lifetime, perhaps, but a remarkably long time for any festival to not only continue to exist but, despite increasing challenges, to thrive. An even greater achievement when it's the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, which has grown from its humble beginnings In 1980 into the largest festival of its kind in the world. A festival that closes off six square blocks of the downtown core for twelve days each year, to create a music bubble where, between indoor ticketed venues and a series of free outdoor stages, and between hotels, restaurants and shops, it's possible for attendees to literally ignore the rest of the world for a brief time (if they should so choose) and immerse themselves in something positive, free of the trials and tribulations that dominate world news, day in, day out.

    FIJM has never been a festival about purity; still, it's long considered itself a jazz festival first while never shying away from bringing acts either tangential or even completely disconnected to a genre where purity, in truth, is a myth. Jazz is, after all, a genre of inclusion rather than exclusion, whether it's indigenous folk music from countries far away, urban elements like hip hop, electronics innovations or any of the other many stylistic markers that have cross-pollinated with jazz, especially over the past 50 years but, truthfully, since its inception.

    Still, there are those who bemoan the harsh reality that to exist as a jazz festival, it's not just important but necessary to bring completely unrelated acts into the programming mix. And this year's 40th Anniversary FIJM is no different than any of its previous ones. For every Brad Mehldau or Steve Gadd there's a Peter Frampton or Alan Parsons. For every Tord Gustavsen (one of a number of ECM Records artists in the program, celebrating the lauded, award-winning label's 50th anniversary), Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah or Gilad Hekselman there's a Blue Rodeo or Sue Foley, and for every Ravi Coltrane, Antonio Sanchez or Joshua Redman there's a Victor Wainwright or alt-J.

    The bottom line? With a litmus test introduced in the 2011 <em>All About Jazz</em> article When is a Jazz Festival (Not) a Jazz Festival, the Festival international de Jazz de Montréal continues to pass with flying colors. For those who don't want to hear about the festival's non-jazz programming, there wasn't a single day during this year's 11-day run, where there weren't so many choices in the jazz arena that choosing what to see was no mean feat.

    Continue reading here...
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the review John!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mozo-pg View Post
    Thanks for the review John!
    My pleasure...truly. Though I am now paying for those five evenings in a very big way. Likely need a couple weeks to rest before I can get going again...
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer


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