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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 18, No. 1 September 2012


by Marc Chénard / September 1, 2012

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Thanks to Montreal’s mega festival, jazz usually makes the headlines but once a year, in early summer. Yet the beat goes on year round with several concert series of interest, including the festival’s own Jazz à l’année longue presentations, the Segal Centre’s Power Jazz and the Effendi Jazz en Rafale event in March. But the music can also be heard in several of the city’s Maisons de la culture and its three mainstay clubs, Upstairs Jazz Bar, Le Dièse Onze as well as the Maison du jazz. The free improv scene has its rallying points, too, with the MercrediMusics and Mardi Spaghetti series, at Casa Obscura and Cagibi respectively, not to overlook the offerings at L’Envers and the Casa del Popolo.

Although September marks the beginning of a new musical season, things really take off in October. But there are some early entries of note, like the visits of Norwegian electro-jazz hero Niels-Peter Molvær on September 6-7, followed by the voice-piano duo of Elisabeth Kontomanou and Geri Allen the very next day (the Jazz Festival’s concert season openers). Trumpeter Ron di Lauro, for his part, will reprise his Kind of Blue tribute to Miles on the 20th at the Prévost Auditorium. Just a week after (27), the 10-piece band of the late Dutch saxophonist Willem Breuker will visit Montreal as part of its North-American farewell tour, a final opportunity not to be missed.

For its third autumn edition, running from October 4 to 12, the Off Festival de Jazz de Montréal will once again focus on what it does best: showcasing a wide-range of home-grown talents, both established and rising. With its complete program not yet released at this writing, only a few names are in circulation at this time, these being the two previous winners of the François-Marcaurelle Prize, Quebec City’s Maïkotron Unit (with added guest pianist Alexandre Grogg) and tenor saxophonist and flutist Anna Webber. To close the event, New York composer and bandleader Butch Morris will direct 15 or so musicians in a program of “Conductions,” which are improvised group performances directed by the guest. (More on this in the next issue.)

In the city’s cultural establishments, the Maison de la culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville has scheduled weekly concerts in its hall throughout October. Cuban pianist Rafael Zaldivar opens on the 4th, with keyboardist Gaétan Daigneault doing his tribute to Oscar Peterson on the 11th, followed by a Gypsy Jazz tribute to Django Reinhardt on the 18th and guitarist Sylvain Provost on the 25th.

With this issue, the jazz section of La Scena Musicale creates a new image for itself, a more virtual one. While its hard copy content is now reduced, it will expand on the Web through its dedicated jazz blog and a new Facebook page. This will allow us to post more record and book reviews, some feature interviews and various topical pieces.

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