Return to Grace; Elvis Unfortunately – Has Left the Building ! Montreal Review

If attending ‘Return to Grace’ at Place des Arts over the course of the next week or so, close your eyes.

Something somewhat common takes place. Steve Michaels sings and sounds just like his alter ego; Elvis Presley. Songs heard a thousand times before pierce memories from far inside brains. Transporting people to the fifties, sixties and the seventies. Elvis, audibly and with eyes closed shut – never died. 

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Open your eyes. 

Elvis is still dead.

‘Return to Grace’ is an attempt to bring Presley back to life and more importantly, introduce entire generations to a figure known to them as; ‘That Fat Guy’. Youtube and tales from parents and / or Grandparents cannot bring the legend back to life.

Live or dead …

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The production team of Return to Grace do an outstanding job. The entire evening is periodically punctuated with a narrative. Explaining both historic events of Elvis’ lifetime and Elvis’ own historic events.

From Sun Records, an honorable Army appearance, his 68′ Comeback special and his very historic first- of- a- kind satellite broadcast from Hawaii. Elvis’ time capsule has been unearthed and thankfully, the movie version of Presley was not found.

A quarter of the way into the show, somewhere before or after ‘Return to Sender’, a magical thing happens. Michaels becomes Elvis.  The crowd’s snobby ‘ No One is Elvis’ attitude disappears and Michaels himself gets into the role. In fairness, Michaels is in character from the get-go, the audience is not.  A combination of the songs and theatrics ( dancers, back – up singers, choreography  and costumes)  kills the most ardent Ebenezer music fan. Michael’s mannerisms, voice and gestures, closer to the real Elvis than Priscilla was in the past few months of her marriage to Elvis.

 If Robert Downey Jr. is Ironman – Steve Michaels is ‘The King’ …

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Michaels’ is the star in a role which must be one pressure cooker. After all, Presley was one of the most unique characters not just in the past fifty years,  a deity of the ages.

Michaels’ voice carries the tunes and his banter cracks the jokes. Uncanningly duplicating Elvis’ balancing act of confidence and shyness. Michaels nails the Devil and the Angel inside of Elvis. The good and evil. Any tribute to Elvis would be void without Presley’s personality. Presley’s persona as much  part of his fame as his fame was to his persona. Michaels and his team, the perfect students in a Graceland classroom. Disciples of Elvis’ church.

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All the hits were onboard. ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘In the Ghetto‘. Teddy Bear’, Suspicious Minds’, ‘Lonesome Tonight’ and ‘Love Me Tender’. Just some  of the timeless songs which Elvis ( Michaels) bestowed upon his adoring public at Salle Wilfred Pelletier. 

‘American Trilogy’ – done faithfully from Elvis; Aloha from Hawaii, stole the second part of the evening. A recreation both physically ( jumpsuit)  and vocally.  A powerful tune in the satellite special, more powerful in person. The words; ‘Glory Glory Hallelujah’ sending shivers through spines bent over in awe. The backing vocals, male and female,  providing the ‘spirit’ of the Hawaii show spiritually, religiously and  righteous.

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If ‘The Steve Michaels’ Special’ does anything, it fulfills a legacy through music and performance. Reminding ‘the punters’ of a time when showmanship was backed up by musicianship. 

Elvis Aaron Presley used to put on shows that made eyes and ears stay open. Steve Micheals  duplicates it.

Eyes and ears very wide open …

 

Visit Return to Grace Here !

 

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Buy the Album Here !
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Visit Strangers in the Night Here to Buy Tickets

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Montreal International Jazz Festival Preview; ‘Moving Forward’ with Adam Karch

Adam Karch is a hard working guitar player. Always learning but quick to pay homage to songwriters …
Adam Karch-Studio-0001Karch has a new album out and unlike his last disc ‘Blueprints’‘Moving Forward’ contains mostly original songs. With a few precious covers tossed into the mix. You know – to mix it up a bit …

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Please listen below to my chat with Adam. Find out when he will be appearing at

The Montreal International Jazz Festival !

Adam? What’s Up?

 

 

Visit Jazz Festival Here !

Buy the Album Here !
Buy the Album Here !

Visit Strangers in the Night Here to Buy Tickets

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Montreal International Jazz Festival Preview; The Paul DesLauriers Band are ‘Relentless’!

Paul DesLauriers is a relentless soul …

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This Cornwall, Ontario – born guitar player is on a mission. To ensure his band plays to their utmost potential, A ‘relentless’ pursuit of all things good within the Blues.

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Please listen below to my chat with Paul as he explains everything about the album ‘Relentless’ and the mindset within 

The Paul DesLauriers

 Band.

Paul?

What’s Up?

 

Visit Paul Here !

Visit Jazz Festival Here !

Buy the Album Here !
Buy the Album Here !

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Visit Strangers in the Night Here to Buy Tickets

 

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Michael Blum – A Jazzy Tribute to Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson is much loved in these here parts. Montreal being the parts and Peterson the sum. 

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Somewhat strangely – an American guitarist has taken things in his own hands. Paying homage to Peterson through his CD Chasin’ Oscar due in stores on June 17th.

Strangely for two reasons. One, Michael Blum is a Jazz guitarist and two – Michael Blum is a Jazz guitarist?

Please listen below as Michael explains everything and hear a few tunes from

The Michael Blum Quartet.

Michael? What’s Up?

 

 

Visit Michael Here !

 

Buy the Album Here !
Buy the Album Here !

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Visit Strangers in the Night Here to Buy Tickets

 

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Robi Botos; Good Things Come To Those Who Wait .​.​.

Jazz pianist Robi Botos has come a long way.

Literally.

This Hungarian refugee, currently living in Toronto, had a dream. To play music and make people happy. He arrived in Canada with family in tow and – following tutelages with the likes of Oscar Peterson, his dream is closer than before.

Please listen as Robi explains mostly everything.

Robi?

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Pat Metheny; Returning to his Montreal ‘Roots’

It’s been coming for a while …

The occasion when Montrealers can reflect on a career in Jazz. Not a career from a local boy such as Oscar Peterson or Dr. Oliver Jones, a career which harks back  to the beginnings of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

The career of Pat Metheny.

Twenty Grammy Awards later – Kansas -born Metheny is returning to Montreal on the 13th November in what could very well be labelled a homecoming.

Not since hockey great Guy Lafleur’s return in the colors of the New York Rangers, has an anticipation of a ‘prodigal son’ returning home been – well, so highly anticipated …

Please listen as Pat talks of his new album Kin and his love of the city which gave him a boost. A boost unlike any other in his musical voyage.

Mr. Metheny?

Visit Pat Here and Buy Tickets!

Visit the Montreal International Jazz Festival Official Site Here!

 

Buy Tickets Here!
Buy Tickets Here!

 

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Taurey Butler; Making His Way – Oscar Peterson Style; Part Two

In the conclusion of my talk with Taurey Butler – the talented pianist discusses what made Oscar Peterson so good. He also praises Oliver Jones and explains the difference between the two men

Enjoy some music, some talk and … some funny moments as Polka leads into ‘dangerous’ territory.

Taurey …?

 

Visit Taurey and The House of Jazz Here!

 

 

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Taurey Butler; Making His Way – Oscar Peterson Style …Part one

Taurey Butler is a funny guy …

He just happens to be one of the best piano players in Montreal and North America. No wonder.

He discovered a bond with Oscar Peterson the very first time he listened to one of Peterson’s CDs. A feeling which changed his life. A feeling which is currently changing many people’s lives who have had the pleasure of seeing Taurey Butler play.

The rest is history being made

Taurey …?

 

Visit The House of Jazz and Taurey Here!

 

 

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