Montreal International Jazz Festival

The Montréal International Jazz Festival has been an institution since 1980 when a few thousand people gathered to celebrate the world of jazz music. Still growing strong a quarter of a century later, the Montréal festival entertains an estimated two million people at the end of June and beginning of July.

In 2004, the Festival celebrated their 25th anniversary, dedicated to the great Ray Charles. Ray Charles, who opened the first festival in 1980, also opened the 2003 edition of the celebrations. This should give some idea of the caliber of musicians who gather in Montréal. Many people were disappointed last year as no fewer than 48 shows were sold out, most of the tickets being picked up well before the opening of the festival by pre-sales. If you want to avoid disappointment this year, it is wisely suggested that you purchase the tickets for your shows as early as possible.

Dianna Krall received the Oscar Peterson Award directly from the hands of Oliver Jones. 120,000 spectators attended to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the fall of apartheid, starring Johnny Clegg , Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Lorraine Klaasen . The Funk Brothers, The Four Tops, Joan Osborne, Jacksoul and Sam Moore attracted 150,000 to their show on July 4 th. There were performances by Ariane Moffatt, Zachary Richard, Joe Bonamassa , Moonlight Girls (Isabelle Gagné, Nathalie Albert, and Mylène Gauthier), drummer Karl Jannuska, and Renée Olstead (a personal favorite). If some of these names are not familiar to you, these are some of the top Jazz performers of our day, and their shows were nothing short of spectacular.

2005 marks the 26th annual edition of the Montréal International Jazz Festival. As the world’s largest of its kind, the event will feature over 500 outdoor and indoor concerts with more than 350 free shows. There promises to be nearly 50 concerts a day on some 18 stages, scheduled from noon to midnight during 12 consecutive days. Montréal is THE place to be from June 30 to July 10, 2005.

Jazz greats from all over the globe will be in Montréal, names include Vancouver's Michael Bublé, who helps to open the festival on June 30, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Mavis Staples team up on Canada Day for a show, and Bobby McFerrin has a few guest performers the following night. Roberta Flack and Al Jarreau will be together as well as the Dave Holland Big Band on July 7 and Madeleine Peyroux has shows July 3 and 4. If you wnat to have a treat, take in the dynamite dance troupe Tango Flamenco Talent Danza Ballet Español de Madrid (Jun 29 to Jul 4, 2005, at the Théâtre Jean-Duceppe).