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Montreal International Jazz Festival: Best jazz picks

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen plays l'Astrale as part of the jazz fest on July 1. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen plays l’Astrale as part of the jazz fest on July 1. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

Having attended hundreds of concerts at the Montreal International Jazz Festival over more than 30 years, I am happy to share my picks for the best of the fest. Non-jazz players performing at the festival do not qualify for this list.

JUNE 28

Legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd, in the first of his Invitation Series, plays in a quartet with innovative pianist Jason Moran, Théâtre Jean Duceppe, 6 pm $62.50.

Piano master Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers with saxophonist Branford Marsalis, Théâtre Maisonneuve, 8 pm, $45-$70.50.

Tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, son of John and Alice Coltrane, has carved out a unique persona as an improviser, Théâtre Jean Duceppe, 9:30 pm, $44.

JUNE 29

Saxophonist Charles Lloyd explores the sonic universe with master tabla player Zakir Hussain and drummer Eric Harland, Théâtre Jean Duceppe, 6 pm, $62.50.

Saxophonist Wayne Shorter celebrates his 80th with his quartet, a quintet featuring saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas, and the ACS trio (pianist Geri Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, bassist Esperanza Spalding), Théâtre Maisonneuve, 7 pm, $76.50-$93.50.

Master guitarist Bill Frisell solo, l’Astral, 9 pm, $42-$48.40.

JUNE 30

Saxophonist Charles Lloyd engages in duo and trio exchanges with pianist Jason Moran and guitarist Bill Frisell, Théâtre Jean Duceppe, 6 pm, $66.50.

French pianist Jackie Terrasson in a classic trio setting, Gesù, $10:30 pm, $37-$42.55.

The Soweto Gospel Choir hits the festival July 6. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

The Soweto Gospel Choir hits the festival July 6. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

JULY 1

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, with sister Christine Jensen (alto sax), and Gary Versace (keyboards) are expansive, innovative and original, l’Astrale, 6 pm, $27-$29.95.

Harold López-Nussa, Cuban piano whiz and a festival discovery, Cinquième Salle, Place des Arts, 7 pm, $29-$32.50.

Sax giant David Murray take a soul bifurcation with creative vocalist Macy Gray and a quartet with drummer Nasheet Waits, Théâtre Jean Duceppe, 9:30 pm, $51.

JULY 2

Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel is a leading composer/post-bop trailblazer who uses effect units, with pianist Aaron Parks in a quartet, Théâtre Jean Duceppe, 9:30 pm, $45.

Pianist Steve Kuhn, 75, a magnificent pianist and leader, plays with ace bassist Steve Swallow and the great drummer Joey Baron, Gesù, 10:30 pm, $38-$44.35.

JULY 3

Saxophonist Joel Miller, 2013 Juno Award-winner for contemporary jazz album of the year, performs in a quartet with pianist Geoff Keezer, L’Astral, 6 pm, $21-$24.30.

Dr. John & the Nite Tripper and Leon Russell—exceptions to the jazz-only rule—in a double bill of R&B, blues, rock and funk, Théâtre Maisonneuve, 8 pm, $61-$76.50.

Montreal's favourite jazz child, Nikki Yanofsky, plays the fest July 5 and 6. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

Montreal’s favourite jazz child, Nikki Yanofsky, plays the fest July 5 and 6. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

JULY 4

Vijay Iyer, the brilliant and accomplished scientist and pianist, launches his Invitation Series with his trio, Gesù, 6 pm, $36-$42.35.

The Mediterranean soul of Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi always shines, solo, Cinquième Salle, Place des Arts, $42.

Montreal’s Nikki Yanofsky, 19, is featured in a new program arranged by Quincy Jones, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 8 pm, $57.20-$68.70. Repeated July 5 and 6.

JULY 5

Pianist Vijay Iyer, in his second invitation gig, in a duo with keyboardist Craig Tayborn, Gesù, 6 pm, $31.30-$36.85.

West African guitarist Lionel Loueke’s evocative sound transports the listener to a heavenly domain, in a trio at L’Astral, 9 pm, $30-$34.40.

Saxophonist/composer Tim Berne showcases his cutting-edge Snakeoil quartet featured on his first ECM CD, with Oscar Noriega (clarinets), Gesù, 10:30 pm, $37-$42.60.

JULY 6

The stunning Soweto Gospel Choir—their Amazing Grace has 4.8 million YouTube hits—at Maison Symphonique, 3 pm and 7 pm $60.50-$70.50.

Pianist Vijay Iyer solo, Gesù, 6 pm, $31.30-$36.85.

Orchestre National de Jazz de Montréal, Christine Jensen directing the city’s best and works by Coltrane and Joni Mitchell, 9:30 pm, Théâtre Jean Duceppe $44.

All-star post-bop group Migration with Antonio Sanchez (drums), David Binney (alto sax), John Escreet (piano) and Matt Brewer (bass), Gesù, 10:30 pm, $40-$46.35.

The Brubeck Brothers play the jazz fest July 7. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

The Brubeck Brothers play the jazz fest July 7. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Jazz Festival)

 JULY 7

Pianist Vic Vogel—he wears his heart on the keyboard—Cinquième Salle, Place des Arts, 7 pm $32.50.

Brubeck Brothers pay tribute to father Dave with a Montreal trio, Théâtre Jean Duceppe, 9:30 pm, $44.

Post-bop guitarist John Abercrombie with Billy Drewes (sax), Joey Baron (drums) Drew Gress (bass), Gesù, 10:30 pm, $40-$46.35.

Tickets: montrealjazzfest.com

irblock@hotmail.com

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