Montreal Jazz Fest — Wishing I was there

I’ve had some incredible experiences hearing great performances and soaking up the other jazz happenings at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Not to mention getting a chance to enjoy the cosmopolitan culture of one of North America’s most beautiful and most historic cities.


Last summer’s festival was again jam-packed with great music, some of which I wrote about for JazzTimes, and in several posts on this blog.

Sadly, I can’t make it for the 38th edition of the fest, which runs June 28-July 8.

But if I WERE headed to Montreal at the end of this month, I’d do my best to catch the following jazz, blues and pop/rock artists (some of whom are playing in bands with others on the list):

Ambrose Akinmusire, Arturo Sandoval, The Bad Plus, Ben Street, Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, Buddy Guy, Carla Bley, Charles Bradley, Charles Lloyd, Charlie Musselwhite, Curtis Lundy, Danilo Perez, Dave Douglas, Diana Krall, Donny McCaslin, E.J. Strickland, Eric Harland, Essiet Essiet, George Cables, Gerald Clayton, Ingrid Jensen, Jack DeJohnette, Jacob Collier, Jane Bunnett, Jeremy Pelt, Jesse Cook, John Hollenbeck, John Medeski, John Pizzarelli, John Scofield, Joshua Redman, Joss Stone, King Crimson, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Larry Grenadier, Michael Blake, Nicholas Payton, Reuben Rogers, Robert Glasper, Robin Eubanks, Scott Colley, Stanley Clarke, UZEB, and Wallace Roney.

Headed to Montreal? Let me know your thoughts on what you hear.

As for me — better luck next year.



Oleg Kireyev & Keith Javors, “The Meeting” (CD review)

Oleg CD the Meeting

Oleg Kireyev & Keith Javors featuring Tom Harrell, Ben Williams, E.J. Strickland

“The Meeting” (Inarhyme Records)

Tenor saxophonist Oleg Kireyev and trumpeter/flugelhornist Tom Harrell make an inspired front line on this second collaboration between Russian-born Kireyev and Philadelphia-based pianist Keith Javors.

Kireyev’s opening “April,” with its playful, breezy head and back-and-forth between the band and drummer E.J. Strickland — Kireyev injects a passing nod to “St. Thomas” — and Javors’ blues-streaked, starting-stopping “Inwardly” are among the four bracing original tunes here.Javors’ subtly shifting title track thrives on a loping groove, while Kireyev’s hard-swinging “Fresh Blues” fulfills the promise of its title.

Those four are balanced with the soulful melancholy of bossa standard “Estate,” an initially pensive and rumbling “Caravan” spiked with wordless rhythmic vocals, a slinky, backbeat-injected “Body and Soul,” and two fairly redundant alternate takes.

The rhythm section — Strickland and bassist Ben Williams — digs in, handily driving this solid set of mainstream jazz, highlighted by Harrell’s gorgeous, conversational, always brilliant soloing, and that of the co-leaders.