Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Welcome to La Scena Musicale's new jazz blog!

To get things rolling, you will first find the jazz team's Top Picks of the Canadian Jazz Festivals 2008, followed by more show recommendations to check out at a festival near you. But this is only a beginning. In weeks to come, we will also post other items of interest, ranging from passings in the jazz world, to a host of other topics, even some worthy jazz sightings to check out on You Tube. If you'd like to tell us what acts that we might have missed but are must-sees for you, please let us know. Tell us why, but also where and when. 
Got some hot info for us, or want to raise an issue for discussion?... Don't be shy: just tell us what's on your mind. Share your thoughts with our readers by posting them on our blog. Let's keep in touch! 
The Jazz Team

Bienvenue au nouveau BLOGUE JAZZ de la Scena Musicale!

Pour ouvrir le bal, vous trouverez tout d'abord nos premiers choix de concerts à voir cet été dans les festivals de jazz au Canada. Par la suite, nous vous offrirons d'autres recommandations dignes de mérite, classées selon nos trois catégories: «Les valeurs sûres», «Les coups d'audace» et le «Contenu canadien». Si nous avions omis un concert qui vous tient à coeur, faites-nous en part en nous envoyant votre soumission pour inclusion dans ce blogue. 
Mais ce n'est qu'un début. Nous vous informerons de l'actualité jazz sous toutes ses coutures, quitte à signaler des clips d'intérêt sur le site You Tube. Et si le débat vous tente, lancez-en un. Veuillez noter qu'au début juin, nous reprendrons certains des choix dans les lignes pour le bénéfice de nos lecteurs francophones, tout en offrant d'autres recommandations spécifiques aux trois festivals montréalais. 
À bon entendeur, salut! 
L'équipe jazz

Marc Chénard, Félix-A. Hamel, Paul Serralheiro

Note: Not all dates and places for recommended shows are given; the information listed here has been provided to us by the festivals that submitted their programs prior to publication. 

Once again, the jazz team of La Scena Musicale/The Music Scene has poured over the schedules of Canada's leading festivals in search of shows to suit jazz fans of all stripes. This year, however, our top picks in our usual three categories are listed both here in this blog as well as in the hard copy. Also listed in this blog are other recommendations of shows to watch for at one or the other of this summer's bumper crop of jazz festivals. 

Sure bets: 

Last year saw the passing of the great lyrical tenor Luciano Pavarotti, as well as jazz tenor Michael Brecker. With Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman, they went under the name of Tenor Summit. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presents on opening night an exclusive Canadian performance of these two masters with a new foil in tow... Ravi Coltrane! With a sterling front line like that and a surefire rhythm section backing them, does one really need to make a sales pitch on this one? MC
☛Montréal, June 27

Sweeping across Western Canada on a six-city tour, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is a group of accomplished soloists that join together to make a powerful group sound, covering repertoire that ranges from the earliest jazz (Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong) through swing era (Duke Ellington) right into more recent territory (Mingus, Ornette Coleman). To quote leader Wynton Marsalis, this is a band that plays "with feeling and precision". PS
☛Ottawa, June 20. Further concerts in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. 

Finnish pianist and harpist Iro Haarla, widow of the legendary drummer/bandleader Edward Vesala, will be covering most of the Canadian festival circuit this coming June. Her quintet is a stellar band that includes the talented saxophonist Trygve Seim and another drumming legend in his own right, Jon Christensen. This group's first ECM album, "Northbound", is already a Nordic jazz classic (see record review here). FAH
☛Vancouver, June 21; Ottawa, June 22; Montréal, June 26. 

Bold strokes: 

Evan Parker, a veteran of the English creative music scene now in his mid-60s, has developed a totally unique approach on both tenor and (especially) soprano saxophones, expressing himself, as it were, in a language all his own. He will be performing first in Vancouver on several occasions, most notably with the Barry Guy New Orchestra (BGNO) as well as with his own trio (plus guest pianist Agusti Fernandez). He will land in Montréal with both Guy and drummer Paul Lytton to play at the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival. PS
☛Vancouver: Trio + guest pianist Agusti Fernandez, June 23 & with BGNO, June 24 & 25; Montréal (Suoni Per Il Popolo), June 26. 

In late June, Vancouver will be closer to Oslo and Stockholm than ever with a Nordic invasion of sorts. No less than eight events will feature Swedish and Norwegian musicians, most notably members of the supergroup Atomic (trumpeter Magnus Broo, saxophonist Fredrik Ljungkvist, pianist Håvard Wiik, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love), but also saxophonist Mats Gustafsson (with his power trio The Thing) and drummer Raymond Strid. The aforementioned will also participate in a series of mix-and-match improv encounters with local musicians (François Houle and Dylan van der Schyff, among others), with Chicago saxman Ken Vandermark also guesting. FAH
☛Vancouver, June 20, 21, 22, see festival program for more details. 

Inviting a contemporary classical string quartet to a jazz festival is a daring move for sure. Montréal's Bozzini String Quartet will perform on two occasions in Vancouver, first with French pianist Benoît Delbecq then on its own. Earlier in the month, the foursome will make its debut at the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival in a North American premiere performance of a piece co-written by Jean Derome and Joane Hétu. An intriguing proposition, to say the least. MC
☛Montréal (Suoni Per Il Popolo), June 3; Vancouver, June 21 (with Delbecq), June 24. 

Can Con: 

Scheduled at press time for the Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montréal festivals, Nordic Connect is a quintet featuring the talents of two Canadians of Scandinavian descent - trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and her sister saxophonist Christine. Two Swedes, pianist Maggie Olin and bassist Mattias Welin, round out the band with American drummer Jon Wikan. Centered on original compositions that  are lyrical and fiery, the quintet plays with impressive subtlety. PS
Ottawa, June 26; Montréal, June 27. 

More than twenty years after their album "Nouvelle cuisine" for Justin Time, Montréal's best known vibist, Jean Vanasse, and bass legend Miroslav Vitous reunite for the festival season, with dates scheduled for Vancouver, Ottawa and Montréal. A rare opportunity to hear the great Czech on stage in an intimate and most promising meeting. FAH
Vancouver, June 27; Ottawa, June 29; Montréal, July 5. 

Ottawa native and current Montréal resident bassist Pierre-Yves Martel returns to his former stomping ground to present his highly original adaptation for jazz quartet of Sergey Prokofiev's "Visions fugitives" for solo piano. Preceding that, at Montréal's Off Festival de Jazz, he and his fellow band mates, Gordon Allen (trumpet), Philippe Lauzier (reeds) and Isaiah Ceccarelli (drums), will premiere an even newer repertory project, this time focused on the music of the quixotic French composer Erik Satie. Who says you can't get new wine out of old bottles? MC
Montréal (Off Festival de Jazz), June 16; Ottawa, June 29. 



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