38th Montreal International Jazz Fest: DeJohnette/Grenadier/Medeski/Scofield, Charles Lloyd, Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, Donny McCaslin, more

Having thrice attended the Montreal International Jazz Fest — in 2001, 2012 and 2016 — I can attest that it’s one of the best affairs of its kind. Top-shelf jazz musicians and other artists play acoustically resonant, beautifully appointed venues in an enchanting city.

This year’s event, with hundreds of ticketed indoor shows and free-admission outdoor concerts, runs June 28 to July 8. Tickets for some shows go on sale today.

I saw some amazing performances at last year’s fest, including concerts by pianist Kenny Barron‘s trio, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and pianist Vijay Iyer, bass guitarist Marcus Miller, and singer Roberta Gambarini, among many others.

Great to report on some of the artists booked for this summer’s fest. New all-star jazz group Hudson has revered drummer-composer Jack DeJohnette joined by guitarist John Scofield, keyboardist John Medeski and bassist Larry Grenadier. The stellar quartet will share a June 30 bill with legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd‘s quartet.

The Robert Glasper Experiment, touring in support of the pianist’s funk-soul-electronica release “ArtScience,” plays June 29; and monster fusion bassist Stanley Clarke is slated for a July 3 performance.

Among the other highlights, with more to be announced:

  • Canadian fusion heavy hitters UZEB, on their reunion tour after a 25-year absence — June 29
  • Rising-star trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire — June 29
  • Funk-jazz keyboardist Cory Henry (of Snarky Puppy) — June 30
  • Saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who collaborated with David Bowie on the late rock superstar’s last album; his new “Beyond Now” album is dedicated to Bowie — June 30
  • A triple-bill blues blast with Buddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite and Lucky Peterson — June 30
  • Drummer Mark Guiliana‘s acoustic quartet, with pianist Shai Maestro, tenor saxophonist Jason Rigby, and bassist Chris Morrissey — July 1
  • The Gipsy Kings with Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo — July 1
  • Cuban-born pianist Roberto Fonseca — July 2
  • Singer Lizz Wright, playing music from her latest album, “Freedom and Surrender” — July 5
  • Tony Allen, former Fela Kuti sideman, with “Tribute to Art Blakey” — July 8

For all the details, visit the official fest site.


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