Hotel deals, new venue on tap for 30th Montreal Jazz Fest

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Montreal Jazz Festival Highlights

  • Chris Botti With Big Orchestra
    Date: July 2 at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
    Ticket price: $31.75 to $49
  • Buddy Guy/Susan Tedeschi
    Date: July 2 at the Metropolis
    Ticket price: $37
  • Madeleine Peyroux
    Date: July 3 at the Theatre Maisonneuve
    Ticket price: $24.30 to $32.50
  • Susie Arioli
    Date: July 4 at the Theatre Maisonneuve
    Ticket price: $23.50 to $30
  • King Sunny Ade/Femi Kuti
    Date: July 5 at the Metropolis
    Ticket price: $31.75
  • Jeff Beck
    Date: July 6 at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
    Ticket price: $57.30 to $106.70
  • Pink Martini and Orchestra
    Date: July 7 and 8 at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
    Ticket price: $28.50 to $78.20
  • Ornette Coleman
    Date: July 9 at the Theatre Maisonneuve
    Ticket price: $57.30
  • Jackson Browne
    Date: July 11 at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
    Ticket price: $49 to $69.70
  • Glenn Miller/Harry James bands
    Date: July 12 at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
    Ticket price: $42.50 to $59

Saxophonist, composer and innovator Ornette Coleman, who has both thrilled and confounded jazz fans and fellow musicians for 50 years, will be among the featured performers to appear when the Montreal Jazz Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer.

The festival will be held July 1 to 12.

The 79-year-old Coleman, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2007, will be on stage with his eponymous quartet the evening of July 9 at the Theatre Maisonneuve as he headlines one of the 180 indoor concerts on tap for the festival's 12-day stand.

The father of the "free jazz" movement and still considered an avant-garde artist at this late stage in his career, Coleman recorded the trailblazing album "The Shape of Jazz to Come" in 1959. There are many in the jazz world still coming to terms with his free-form challenges to traditional harmonic, rhythmic and melodic structures.

Other shows will feature trumpeter Chris Botti; the Wayne Shorter Quartet; a battle of the bands between the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Harry James Orchestra; rock singer-songwriter Jackson Browne; Nigerian Afrobeat specialists King Sunny Ade and Femi Kuti; legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck; jazz singers Susie Arioli, Patricia Barber and Madeleine Peyroux; and blues singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi.

In addition to the ticketed indoor concerts, the festival also will host 350 free shows at outdoor stages on the festival grounds, known locally to French-speaking Montrealers as the Quartier des Spectacles.

According to a festival spokesman, about 250,000 visitors are expected to descend upon the city for the festivities, during which a new venue will be unveiled, the Maison du Festival du Jazz (the former Blumenthal Building, which was ceded to the festival by the government of Quebec).

The location, which will serve as a year-round showcase for jazz, blues and world music, will be the site of a 350-seat, cabaret-style concert hall.

Despite the economic slump in the U.S., "we still expect about 85,000 visitors from the U.S. to attend the festival," the spokesman said.

"We think everyone will be looking for good travel deals, and with the favorable disparity of the U.S. dollar to the Canadian dollar, we are optimistic. The festival, after all, is our principal tourist event here, as visitors generate over $64 million in expenditures."

Among the travel deals available for the festival is the 30th Anniversary Package hotel plan. Participating hotels are the four-star Hyatt Regency Montreal and two three-star hotels: the Days Inn Montreal Downtown and the Le Dauphin Montreal Downtown.

The two-night package, which is commissionable to travel agents at 10%, includes an official festival T-shirt, a shoulder bag with the festival logo, a ticket for a Jazz d'Ici La Presse or Rythmes Bell series concert, entry to the TD Canada Trust Jam Sessions at Maison du Festival and to the Montreal Guitar Show, a $10 discount on the cost of a festival photo album, 25% off admission to the Musee d'Art Contemporain de Montreal, $10 in coupons redeemable at the Casino de Montreal, a CD compilation and breakfast at the participating hotels.

The rates for the package (all prices are per person, double, U.S. currency) follow:

  • The Hyatt Regency Montreal. $254. As the official headquarters of the Montreal Jazz Festival, it is a great place to meet the performers, most of whom stay at the hotel during the festival. The hotel is located at 1255 Jeane-Mance St.
  • The Hotel Le Dauphin Montreal Downtown. $165. This 72-room property, which opened in 2007, is within walking distance of the festival and within easy reach of Notre Dame Cathedral and the delightful Old Montreal Port. The hotel, which is at 1025 Bleury St., offers free high-speed, wireless Internet.
  • The Days Inn Montreal Downtown, $144. This glass-clad, eight-story property, which has 123 rooms, is centrally located near the Old Port, Chinatown and the Montreal Jazz Festival site. It is at 215 Rene-Levesque Blvd. E.

The packages can be booked by calling (888) 515-0515. For more information, go to www.montrealjazzfest.com.

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