What do such disparate performers as bossa nova interpreter Bebel Gilberto, veteran rocker Huey Lewis, the funky Erykah Badu, bassist Ron Carter and the Montreal Jubilation Choir have in common?
Despite their different approaches to music and, perhaps, different appeals to audiences, they are among the hundreds of artists headlining the almost 1,000 ticketed indoor and outdoor concerts, free shows and street performances on tap at the upcoming Montreal Jazz Festival.
Two-thirds of the presentations are free and presented in street-side venues, which makes the festival a great family attraction.
The 10-day celebration of jazz and more opens June 26 and continues through July 6.
Erykah Badu is scheduled to perform Monday, June 29. Photo Credit: Gianfranco Tripodo
Although devoid this year of the kind of star attractions that characterized the 2014 lineup (among them Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and B.B. King), the array of performers for what is the 36th edition of the festival is interesting, musically diverse and accomplished.
In addition to the aforementioned performers, this year's acts will include the Steve Miller Band; guitarists Al Di Meola, Bill Frisell and Kurt Rosenwinkel; blues greats Taj Mahal, John Mayal and James Cotton appearing on the same stage; the band the Bad Plus; saxophonist Wayne Shorter; singers Madeleine Peyroux, Joss Stone and Lucinda Williams; and a battle of the bands, featuring the Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey orchestras.
The complete Montreal Jazz Festival lineup is available here.
This year, six hotels, among them the Hyatt Regency Montreal, the "official hotel of the festival," and, for the first time, the five-star Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth, are offering two-night commissionable festival packages.
The packages, which can be combined with train transportation from many cities in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, are available from the following properties: the Hyatt Regency (1255 Jean-Mance), starting at $279; the Fairmont (900 Rene Levesque Blvd. West), starting at $353; Le Delta Montreal (475 President-Kennedy Ave.), starting at $268; Square Phillips Hotel (1193, Place Phillips), starting at $225; Residence Inn Downtown (2045 Rue Peel), starting at $268; and the Travelodge Montreal (50 Boul Rene Levesque West), $194.
The rates are per person, based on double occupancy. For more information, call (855) 288-7344(855) 288-7344 FREE.
The packages include breakfasts, a concert ticket for one of three festival venues, Club Soda, Metropolis or L'Astral; priority access to free concerts in the Open Hour House and Nightcap Heineken series; a welcome cocktail and a guided tour of the festival site; a bag with the festival logo; the official festival T-shirt; and a cap with the logo. One-night packages are also available.
Other activities include:
• A jazz dinner-cruise aboard the Bateau-Mouche (tourist boat) in the company of guitar virtuoso Paulo Ramos. The cruise, available June 26 to 29, will depart at 7 p.m. from the Jacques Cartier Quay in the Old Port of Montreal, returning at 10:30 p.m. The cost is $116 per person, including the cruise, four-course meal, gratuities and show. For reservations, call (514) 849-9952(514) 849-9952 or (800) 361-9952(800) 361-9952 FREE or visit bateaumouche.ca.
• Old Montreal guided walking tour with a professional guide includes an interior visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica and a walk through the historical borough from Place Jacque-Cartier through Notre-Dame and St. Paul street and ends at Place Royale. The tour, whose price includes admission to the basilica, a refreshment, a tasting and 50% off admission to the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum, is available June 26 to July 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The cost is $40 per person, plus taxes. Call (514) 844-4021(514) 844-4021 or (800) 363-4021(800) 363-4021 FREE.