[JPL] Russ Davis blogs from the Montreal Jazz Fest!

Rusell Davis davispro at nyc.rr.com
Sat Jul 4 15:23:42 EDT 2009


Here are two more blogs from the past two days here at the 30th edition of
the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.  

 

Go to www.mojaradio.com <http://www.mojaradio.com/>  to see videos I've shot
in the music/video section of the site and listen for interviews from the
festival on the radio portion of the site on the Saturday special WORDS &
MUSIC coming soon!

 

Russ Davis
MOJA Radio 

www.mojaradio.com <http://www.mojaradio.com/> 
105 East 16th Street

# 7 South

New York, NY 10003

russ at mojaradio.com

 

DAY THREE.

Well folks...I'm taking a break to compose this blog before running off to
interview Joshua Redman.  He's here to do two different shows, one with a
quartet and the other with a totally different quartet with added special
guest Joe Lovano to make it a quintet.  It's nice for guys to be able to
hang in one place for more than a day, especially a place like this.  It's
the joy of festivals and the season is certainly upon us all over North
America and Europe.

Tonight I'm doing a marathon as I plan to see a little of Eric Truffaz with
Sly Johnson do the music of the third in the 3-part project Mr. Truffaz
calls Rendezevous, this one titled Paris.  It's just Eric on trumpet and
effects with Sly on voice and effects and it should be totally unique.  I
can't wait to play this music for you and will do so as soon as I return
from Montreal.  Then I'll rush over to the Theatre Maisonneuve to hear
Madeleine Peyroux followed by a trip across the Place Des Arts to the
Theatre Jean-Duceppe to hear Eliane Elias do a show she calls Bossa Nova
Stories.  Also in town tonight are Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Lee Konitz,
Russell Malone and  any number of other surprises n the free outdoor shows
that go on each day from Noon to Midnight.  I hope you are checking out the
videos I've been posting to get an idea of the vibe of the place.

Just to recap what I got myself into yesterday, Thursday the 2nd, Day Two of
the Festival, I had the most marvelous conversation with Eric Truffaz.  I
know I've mentioned him quite a bit in these blogs but I have to say that
his music has impressed me as more unique than anything else I've seen or
heard since I've been here.  It's so modern, personal and expressive. I had
seen him two years ago here as he put on more of a rock presentation with
his band and vocalist Ed Harcourt at the now demolished Spectrum.  This time
he's doing MOJA in every sense of the word, if MOJA is indeed a word and I
obviously think it is, and I wanted to really zero in on him and what he's
all about.  I had missed talking to him last time but didn't want to miss
the chance this time and I found that his English is very good and he's just
as cerebral a person as his music is deep and cerebral.  I look forward to
sharing this conversation with you on a Words & Music coming soon.  If you
happen to be in New York in September Eric will be playing with his quartet
at Joe's Pub on Lafayette Street in the village.  After talking with him I
happened to run into Russell Malone and got some quick comments from "The
Georgia Peach."  He's looking good and is playing as part of the
mini-festival within a festival celebrating guitars.  Russell plays solo
tonight, Friday the 3rd.  

The Eric Truffaz show MEXICO was just brilliant.  It featured cool, electric
groove created by his compatriot from Mexico, Murcof, who drew magical notes
and beats out of a laptop, tabla and voice supplied by Apurba Mukherjee, a
hold-over from the night befoe and the BENARES  show, and Eric on trumpet
and effects.  I caught up with him after the show for more comments I'll
share with you soon.  Then it was off to a stroll through the Montreal night
to simple take in the sights and sounds in the festival grounds on my way to
dinner.  After dinner I made my way back to my hotel but was lured along the
way by some African groove (it's a major feature of every Montreal festival
I've attended) this time provided by a group I've never heard before called
Alice Russell and Tim Juke.  You can see some of that in a video I posted in
the Music/Video section of the site.

That's it for now.  More later...

Russ  Davis

 

DAY FOUR.

My friends, I am going to have a hard time leaving this place tomorrow,
Sunday, but all good things must come to an end, and this has been a good
thing, this 30th edition of the Montreal Jazz Fest.  I writing this on
Saturday the FOURTH OF JULY!!!  Happy birthday good ol' USA!   I have spent
the last five 4th's here in Montreal and now this makes 6 in a row!  I'm
going to celebrate tonight by seeing one of America's great saxophonists,
Joshua Redman and the first of three special shows he's doing here.  Then
I'll listen to another great Brazilian artist, the vocalist Joyce, (this
will be the third show featuring Brazilians and  I've loved  them all),
followed by the  all-star band featuring Lenny White, Nicholas Payton, Bill
Evans, Badal Roy, Robert Irving III, Miles' nephew Vince Wilburn and a
number of India's greatest jazz men re-creating that grammy-nominated work
that celebrated Miles great music with a decidedly Indian vibe. Also in town
tonight are Dave Brubeck revisiting his classic TIME  OUT which was released
50 years ago exactly, Kenny Garret, Brian Blade and his band and  any number
of other surprises in the free outdoor shows that go on each day from Noon
to Midnight.  Once again, I hope you are checking out the videos I've been
posting in the Music/Video section of the MOJA Radio site to get an idea of
the vibe of the place.

I had some great conversations yesterday including with the aforementioned
Joshua Redman and Lenny White.  Both were very relvealing.  Josh talked
about how he's putting together these three nights here in Montreal, how
much he admires, respects Joe Lovano and loves playing with him, his
favorite things about his career, how he misses his little boy, who is now 3
years old, when he's on the road and how it feels to be maturing as a person
and musician in the current climate of jazz.  Joshua is always a deep and
complete interview and it's always intimidating to talk to someone who you
know is infinitely more intelligent than you are.  Hey, the guy graduated
from  Harvard!

My talk with Lenny White was fun, as always, and we were joined in
mid-sentence by Russell Malone, who was passing by, and I had the two of
them do a thing I call "talk amongst yourselves" as I have two artists
interview one another.  It was fun stuff and you'll be hearing it in the
near future on MOJA Radio's Saturday feature WORDS & MUSIC.  Lenny also
talked about his many projects including the recording with Stanley Clarke &
Hiromi and a couple of upcoming projects that he told me about with a
special gleam in his eye.  First, he's going to be playing in a trio with
Stanley on bass and a certain Armando Chick Corea on piano.  Now I had heard
about this, but next he dropped a bomb on me when he said in 2010 there will
be a NEW Return To Forever recording and tour with a NEW lineup featuring
Lenny, Chick, Stanley and others to be named later.  Well he certainly had
me going with that little tidbit but he didn't have time to explain further
as he was being pressed to leave for rehearsal.  I promise to get more info
on that one soon and pass it along.

Then it was off to hear music and  it was one  of the great nights of music
I've ever heard. First, it was Eric Truffaz with Sly Johnson doing the music
of the third in the 3-part project Mr. Truffaz calls Rendezevous, this one
titled Paris.  It's just Eric on trumpet and effects with Sly, the master
Beatboxer from the Paris-based group Saian Supa Crew, on voice and effects.
The show began with the two of them doing music from Rendezvous including a
stripped down version of the Beatles' "Come Together." Then they were joined
by a drummer on a traditional drumkit and it raised the stakes considerably.
The intense beat and electronic and organic improvisation was something I
can't put into words. It took my breath away and it was pure MOJA...Modern
Jazz in a very current form.  As I've said before, I can't wait to play this
music for you and will do so as soon as I return from Montreal.  It was my
favorite music I've heard since I've been here and I've heard some great
stuff, including what I heard during the rest of the night.

I rushed over to the Theatre Maisonneuve to hear Madeleine Peyroux who is
French in heritage and learned her craft playing on the streets of Paris, so
she's very much a local favorite, but spent some of her formative years in
Athens, Georgia where her father was a professor at the University of
Georgia.  Many people have mentioned how much Madeleine's voice reminds one
of Billie Holiday's voice.  I have to say that the quality of her voice is
absolutely reminiscent of Billie's though she is absolutely her own woman!
I had a strong feeling that the spirit of Billie Holiday was hovering over
the stage while Madeleine was gliding just slightly behind the beat with her
delightful voice over the cool, bluesy shuffles that she and her fantastic
band were cranking out.  Bille was certainly in the house when one of
Madeleine's THREE  encores (yep, they just wouldn't let her leave) was the
classic I HEAR MUSIC.  Mercy!

I wan't sure how anything could top what I'd heard already but I made the
trip across the Place Des Arts to the Theatre Jean-Duceppe to hear Eliane
Elias do a show she calls Bossa Nova Stories.  There I heard a show that was
in every way the equal to anything I'd heard before. Eliane is absolutely
the complete package.  The blonde Brazilian beauty in the little black dress
commanded a massive black grand piano and sent shivers up the spines of all
in attendance with her delightful voice singing her own tunes as well as
updated Bossa Nova classics.  Elaine is  the consummate professional
pianist, a total technician with supreme style.  The band, which featured
two young Brazilain masters on guitar and drums as well as the legendary
bassist Marc Johnson (who Eliane has played with for 23 years now) were a
Bossa Nova machine.  Besides the fact that Eliane is so very charming, she
has the added advantage of singing in Portuguese which makes the blandest
phrase seem like poetry.  I kep thinking that she could have been singing
something like "...I think we have a flat time, maybe we should pull to the
side of the road," which in Portugese sounds like "...let's take off all our
clothing and go run across the beach into  the sea."  I've got to go to
Rio...that's all there is to it!

Another great day in Montreal...one more to come...I'll check in later!

Russ Davis



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