Music lovers from near and far will converge on Montreal again this summer for the 33rd edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival, 10 days and nights of jazz, pop, blues, soul and world music.
Leading the stellar array of performers is singer-songwriter James Taylor, who will headline a preopening show June 27 and then again on opening night, June 28. In all, 175 indoor and/or ticketed concerts are on the schedule this year during the festival, which ends July 7, while 225 free outdoor concerts will have the city streets humming (to say the least) with the sound of music. In addition, 500 buskers and family activities will be on hand to enliven the scene.
Other performers slated to appear include guitarist Bill Frisell, Jamaican musician Ziggy Marley, former Cream member Jack Bruce, singer Melody Gardot, jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, guitarist Larry Coryell, trumpeter Chris Botti, neosoul singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, alternative rock band Fishbone, jazz organist and pianist Dr. Lonnie Smith, Roma singers and dancers the Gypsy Roma Urban Balkan Beats, guitar veteran John Pizzarelli, British soul singer Seal and actress and singer Liza Minelli.
This year, four hotels, including the Montreal Jazz Festival headquarters property, the Hyatt Regency, are again offering commissionable, two-night packages. The packages, also available this year with train transportation from most cities in Quebec and Ontario, are available from the following hotels: Hyatt Regency Montreal (1255 Jean-Mance), starting at $308; the Delta Montreal (475 Avenue President Kennedy), starting at $288; the Square Phillips Hotel & Suites (1193 Place Phillips), starting at $250; and L'Appartement (455 Sherbrooke Ouest), starting at $206.
The rates are per person based on double occupancy. Taxes are not included. For more information on the hotel packages, call (514) 523-3378, Ext. 5236.
The packages include two breakfasts; one ticket for a concert in the TD Jazz d'Ici La Presse series (subject to availability); one ticket for a concert in the Rythmes series (subject to availability); priority access to tickets for all indoor concerts (subject to availability); 15% off any indoor concert ticket (subject to availability); one accreditation offering free admission to the Jam Sessions at Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan and to the Montreal Guitar Show; one official festival T-shirt; a shoulder bag with the festival logo; "The Festival Under the Stars" souvenir book; three hours of music to download; and a $10 rebate on a culinary walking tour of the Atwater market.
Other plans available this year include:
• A jazz dinner-cruise aboard the Bateau-Mouche featuring Sonia Johnson, who will perform selections from her new album "Le Carre de Nos Amours." The cruise, available July 1 to July 6, will board at 6:15 p.m. from the Jacques Cartier Quay in the Old Port of Montreal, returning at 10:30 p.m. The cost is $138 per person, including the cruise, show and four-course meal. For reservations, call (514) 849-9952 or (800) 361-9952 or visit bateaumouche.ca.
• The Atwater Market Goes Jazzy, a two-and-a-half-hour culinary tour that includes a walk through Little Burgundy, birthplace of legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson and the first jazz and blues bars in Montreal. On offer Saturdays, June 30 and July 7, and Sunday, July 1, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., the tour costs $56 per person, including taxes and tip.
• Savour the Quartier des Spectacles, another two-and-a-half-hour culinary walking tour, this one focusing on the neighborhood of the Jazz Festival itself. The agenda includes anecdotes and tastings, from blue-collar to bourgeois Montreal. Set for Saturdays, June 30 and July 7, and Sunday, July 1, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., the tour costs $56 per person. For information on and reservations for both walking tours, call (855) 288-3378.
For more information on the Montreal Jazz Festival, go to www.montrealjazzfest.com.