It’s the 34th annual Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. MAGNET’s Mitch Myers translates the action.
The Montreal Jazz Festival keeps on rolling along, and I must admit they’ve been featuring plenty of world-class jazz to balance out the more populist programming necessary for such a huge, 10-day affair (like George Benson and Boz Scaggs).
Sunday night’s entertainment included the final installment of Charles Lloyd’s Invitation Series, where the veteran saxophonist engaged in improvisational duets and trio work with pianist Jason Moran and guitarist Bill Frisell. This was the first time Frisell had ever performed onstage with Lloyd and Moran, but not surprisingly, he fit right in. The ever-eloquent Mr. Lloyd spoke admiringly of “Brother Bill,” which reminded him of working with the notable Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo, way back in 1961. Their gentle set was completely from the heart, and Lloyd stood out on saxophones and flute. You should check out his extended discography, it’s pretty amazing.
Returning New Orleans hero Trombone Shorty played a solid, hard rocking dance set at Club Soda—singing old-school jams like “St. James Infirmary,” and “I’ve Got A Woman,” as well as Allen Toussaint classic “On Your Way Down.” The bottom line is that Trombone Shorty puts on a crowd-pleasing show. His band includes a horn section, a shredding guitarist and one monster drummer. Besides the trombone, Shorty also plays trumpet with great verve and exuberance. This was a party y’all—what else?
My evening concluded with a late-night set by pianist Jacky Terrasson accompanied by wonder-bassist Ben Williams and drummer Justin Faulkner. Although this particular trio hadn’t played together in a year, they were totally in sync and nearly telepathic. Terrasson is a bright, facile modernist who playfully jumped from standards like “Bésame Mucho” to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and closed out with a tough, stuttering version of Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon.” Terrasson’s quirky playing, references and attitude are right in line with keyboard stars like Brad Mehldau or Robert Glasper, and he’s already been making records for more than two decades. It’s only a matter of time before he reaches a much larger audience. Don’t wait.