Rick Keene Music Scene – Rick’s Top Free Montreal Jazz Festival Picks

The Montreal International Jazz Festival is celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary this summer.

Aside from the usual top choices of tunes from all genres and all countries, this year the Jazz folks have added another borough to it’s already large territory. Verdun will feature class acts and expand the Jazz Festival experience to a larger portion of people who may not have the means to travel downtown.

Primarily – The Montreal International Jazz Festival is all about the music. No matter the punter’s taste, chances are the Jazz Festival will deliver the soothing musical beverage to quench the thirst for grooves, rhythms and sounds. There will be dancing in the streets of Montreal for ten glorious days starting at the end of June.

Here now are just some of the shows / artists who should be a highlight of the Festival’s free outdoor program. Click here for the entire roster.

 Charlotte Cardin will kick off the grand events on June 27, on the TD stage. Cardin is one of those voices that festival-goers know and love. Her musicality combined with a charisma that is mesmerizing – the 2019 Festival International De Jazz De Montreal’s debut show will get the party going.

On July 2,  Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker) will take the stage and the audience with force. Energy is the game and energy is the name of a show which will get everyone in a Jazz Festival mood.

Sunday, June 30 – Laila Biali is an act to check out if you are fan of vocal purity and sublime piano playing.  Jazz and Pop grounds the soul with a double punch not easy to pull off. Laila does …

Thursday, July 4 – Molly Johnson. Molly is a Canadian treasure who has paid her dues only to arrive at the top of the Jazz world heap. The winner of several Grammy Awards and critically acclaimed internationally; Molly has also recently launched a Black History website.

Monday, July 1st – Lorraine Klaasen: She gets her energy from her mother, famous 1950s South-African jazz singer Thandie Klaasen. Inspired by the Township culture and music, Lorraine takes the stage with the who is who of Montreal musicians including Joey the Saxman.

Thursday, June 27 – Cécile Doo-Kingué will knock your socks off. She is one of Montreal’s ( if not Canada’s) premiere guitar players who composes and sings with passion. One of the hardest working musicians from Montreal and it has payed off.

Friday, July 5 – Steve Marriner, the harmonica prodigy who has turned into the best harmonica player in Canada takes the stage. Steve has won numerous Harmonica player of Year awards within his band Monkey Junk and has recently toured with Colin James and was featured on Colin’s last album. Steve has also released an album with Blues great Harry Manx. A must – see show !

At 11 p.m. – Sunday, June 30: Ben Racine Band: In 2017, Ben Racine won the Albert King Award for the best guitar performance in the international blues band category in Memphis. Ben’s composing an arranging skills combined with his top of the line backing band make this show very hard to dismiss.

Saturday, July 6 – Sue Foley, Foley left Canada as a teenager to fulfill her dream of becoming a Blues guitar player. She has worked with the who is who of American Blues and just recently had Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top on her Juno nominated album as well as Jimmy Vaughn. The album The Ice Queen is one of the best you will ever hear.

Tuesday, July 2 & Wednesday, July 3 – The Liquor Store: This pioneering future soul band mixes funk, jazz and hip hop to create a potent cocktail. A groovy sound that will make dancing obligatory.

Thursday, July 4, Friday, July 5 & Saturday, July 6 – Urban Science #LECYPHER: These reinvented old-school hip-hop jam sessions have become an essential part of the Festival. With virtuoso musicians from every corner of the Montréal scene, live music and an open mic.  Every year it gets bigger and better. Cult – like status.

Every show brings something to the mix at this year’s Jazz Festival and above are just a few of the highlights. Click here to visit the Full Festival line – up including the indoor paid shows.

Please follow me on Rick Keene Music Scene for Jazz Festival news, reviews and interviews.

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