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Powerful lineup for Jazz en Rafale festival

Jazz en Rafale is a small festival with a big heart – it combines a new talent competition with performances by major international and local artists.

All concerts are being held at l’Astral, the medium sized venue that manages to be intimate at 305 Ste. Catherine W., just east of Bleury. The concerts are scheduled over extended weekends March 19-21 and March 26-28.

The concerts start at 7 pm with a performance by one of the finalists in the competition, followed by the main act.

March 19
Don’t miss the expansive voice of tenor giant Donny McCaslin, with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Jonathan Blake. $25.

March 20
The fleet fingered Israeli-born guitarist Gilad Hekselman hooks up with Tevet Sela on alto sax.

March 21
Rufus Reid –Dexter Gordon’s favorite bassist– leads many of Quebec’s top musicians in the 18-member Jazzlab Orchestra, playing Quiet Pride, a four-part suite. The Quartet called JAGG opens with pieces from a new CD, Mercure.

March 26
Enrico Piernanunzi, the magical and sublime Italian pianist, returns in a trio format with bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Richard Irwin.

March 27
The music of Genesis, set to jazz, is offered by drummer/vocalist Martin Levac, with bassist Mathieu Gagné and pianist Mario Fraser. Saxophonist Maxime Bender of Luxembourg opens with a quartet.

March 28
Michel Cusson, well-known guitarist and composer, unveils his new work for solo guitar in a special concert, starting 8 pm. $40.

March 28
The Emie Roussel Trio, with bassist Nicolas Bédard and drummer Dominic Cloutier, is joined by French saxophonist Maxence Ravelomantsoa, who began singing jazz tunes at age 2. It’s at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill and starts 8:30 pm. $15. 514-931-6808. 

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