37th Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Downton Montréal / Montréal, Canada

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Photos by James St. Laurent

Montréalers joined tourists alongside fans of the blues, jazz, electronica and hip-hop, all flocking to see and hear over 2000 musicians in over 800 shows during the 11 day festival. From June 29th to July 9th, 2016, the 37th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal hosted two million visitors to the 21 stages that featured performers from 30 countries, consuming close to 16,000 gallons of beer and 5,500 pounds of fries! There were a total of 37 sold-out concerts that featured Wynton Marsalis, Karen Young & Coral Egan, Lorraine Desmarais, Dawn Tyler Watson, Susie Arioli, Christian Scott, Kenny Barron, Jean-Michel Blais, Alexandra Stréliski, Royal Wood, John Jacob Magistery, Shyre, Ghostly Kisses, Chick Corea, Oliver Jones, Melody Gardot, Kool & the Gang, Lauryn Hill, Taj Mahal, Stacey Kent, Joe Jackson, Florence K, Joey Alexander, Avishai Cohen, Cyrille Aimée, Taylor McFerrin, Champion & his G-Strings, James Carter and Cory Henry.

Awards were presented to Brian Wilson, Lila Downs, Kenny Barron, Karen Young, Taj Mahal, Jim West, Gregory Porter, Brad Cheeseman Group, Tara Kannangara and Guy Nadon.

Raw, passionate and inspiring music played through the streets of Montréal in a myriad of sights, sounds and styles as fans danced and celebrated under the stars. The Oliver Jones Trio bid adieu, with Oliver Jones playing his farewell festival concert. Brian Wilson celebrated the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, while funk legends Kool & the Gang had the entire audience on their feet. Noel Gallagher played with his High Flying Birds, and Chick Corea dazzled. Paul Deslauriers and Dawn Tyler Watson both launched new CDs. Harmonica wizard Guy Bélanger performed an acoustic and electric set the same evening at the L’Astral Theatre, both featuring several guest performers. Joe Jackson thrilled a full house in Place des Arts Theatre. Rufus Wainwright played his repertoire accompanied by an orchestra, and his sisters Lucy Wainwright Roche and Martha Wainwright performed a heartfelt show at Theatre du Nouveau Monde as the Wainwright Sisters.

Audiences were dazzled by the daring Lucky Chops, to the ever-fascinating Melody Gardot and the soulful Lisa Simone. They were mesmerized by the driving sounds of blues artists David Gogo, Matt Schofield, Angel, Poppa Chubby, Shane Murphy and Anthony Gomes. Montréal celebrated for 11 days and nights to a variety of musical sounds. If you missed it this year, prepare yourself for 2017!

James St. Laurent

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