Seal, Herbie Hancock among Montreal Jazz Festival headliners

Photo Credit: Victor Diaz Lamich

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Seal.
Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Seal.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Seal will be the opening act of this year's Montreal Jazz Festival, which will run from June 28 to July 7.

The performance by Seal is one of 150 ticketed concerts scheduled for the 39th edition of the festival, which encompasses 11 indoor and outdoor concert venues. The festival will host the usual eclectic variety of jazz, blues, pop and world music singers, instrumentalists and ensembles, in free outdoor shows and ticketed concerts. The free concert slate will be announced later this month.

Performers already scheduled to appear include Chris Botti, Ry Cooder, Al Di Meola, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Herbie Hancock, Bobbie McFerrin, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Attractions will include free family-oriented street-side shows, a children's play area with music-themed activities and rides and dining and snack-food vendors.

New this year are trained safety teams for women, seniors and the LGTBQ community.  Called Swallows after the Parisian Swallows bicycle police of the first half of the 20th century, about 30 officers will be on hand for the assignment.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform July 3 at Maison symphonique de Montreal.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform July 3 at Maison symphonique de Montreal.

Annually a major spur to the province of Quebec's economy, last year, according to the festival, the event generated record economic spinoffs of $37.7 million in added value for the Quebec economy and $8 million in tax revenue for the federal and provincial governments. The festival drew 30% more targeted tourists (whose main reason for traveling to Montral was to attend the event) than in 2016.

Again this year, the festival is featuring just one special lodging program that offers unlimited access for the duration of a three-night stay at three major music venues (Club Soda, MTELUS and L'Astral) for any of the ticketed concerts there.

The plan, called the Jazz Passport package, costs $690 per person, double occupancy and provides for accommodations at Hotel 10, a boutique property located at 10 Sherbrooke St. West (close to Notre Dame Basilica as well as the site of the festival); breakfasts; priority access to free concerts in the Nightcap Heineken series; a carry bag with the festival logo; an official festival T-shirt; a reusable bottle with the logo; a fedora hat with the logo; and a guided tour of the site.

Other available packages are:

• A jazz dinner cruise aboard the Bateau-Mouche in the company of guitar virtuoso Paulo Ramos. The three-hour cruise is available July 3 to 5; boarding will begin at 6:30 p.m. from the Jacques Cartier Quay in the Old Port of Montreal, returning at 10.30 p.m. The cost is $125 per person, including the cruise, four-course meal, gratuities and show. For reservations, call (514) 849-9952 or (800) 361-9952 or visit

• The Story of Jazz in Montreal. Two-hour, English- and French-speaking walking tour with a professional guide identifies the history of jazz in the city from the 1920s to the foundation of the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1980. The tour shows what has become of former jazz clubs such as Rockhead's Paradise, the Rising Sun and Chez Paree. The outing starts in front of the old Windsor Station and concludes in at the festival headquarters. Dates, fee and time are to be determined.

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