The Classical Music Lover's Guide to the Montreal Jazz Festival by Philip Ehrensaft
/ June 1, 1998
Historian Grover Sales called jazz "America's
Classical Music" and today everyone acknowledges jazz is serious
music. There is no better place for classical music lovers to
discover jazz than at the Montreal Jazz Festival (July 1-July 10,
1998), named north America's best jazz fest by the 1997
JazzTimes readers' poll. Here are my picks of the festival's
"classic" jazz offerings ....
- At the top of my list is pianist Cecil Taylor, 69 years young
and one of the handful of great jazz innovators still walking the
earth. His uncompromising avant-garde music - clustered piano
playing redolent of the young Henry Cowell and daunting rhythmic
and compositional intensity - isn't for everyone, but fans of
twentieth-century repertoire shouldn't miss his solo concert on
July 10 and his trio on July 11.
- Classically trained trumpet player Wynton Marsalis, a leading
light of the neo-conservative movement in jazz, brings his Lincoln
Centre Jazz Orchestra to Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier July 4.
- The 1998 festival features two other major contemporary jazz
trumpeters. Tom Harrell, Downbeat readers' top jazz
trumpeter this year, plays the intimate Salle Gesù (a perfect
setting for jazz), July 10. David Douglas is a prime trumpet
innovator of his generation. He emerged in New York's radical
downtown scene but is supremely competent and comfortable in music
ranging from neo-bop to the avant-garde to his own classical
compositions. He leads a quartet at the Salle Gesù on July 5.
- Guitar maestro John Scofield leads 7 concerts in the Théâtre
du Nouveau Monde. Take special note of the July 9 concert with
tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, and the July 2 duo with a
deliciously subtle guitarist, Jim Hall.
- The New Latin American Jazz is the most innovative and
exciting jazz development of the 1990s. Puerto Rican saxophonist
David Sanchez plays in a trio, quintet and orchestra July 1. Catch
Joe Lovano in a duo with Cuban piano dynamo Gonzalo Rubalcaba on
- Other sax standouts: the mature mastery and musicality of the
saxophonists' saxophonist Joe Henderson, on July 3. Don't miss the
pyrotechnic virtuosity of young lion James Carter, who will blow
the roof off the Spectrum on July 9. Montréal's world class reed
player Jean Derome will play in two different trios on July 2
- French accordionist Richard Galliano brings five concerts of
European jazz to Salle Gesù, July 2-6.
The full schedule of the 1998 Jazz Festival is available on the
Net at www.montrealjazzfestival.worldlinx.com/
Tel: 888-515-0515. Tickets: 1- 800-361-4595, or Montreal: