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Cultural Festivals
The First Concerts Of The 32nd Edition Of The Montreal International Jazz Festival Announced

Finally: here's the first batch of concerts in the forthcoming 32nd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan! Fans of jazz, folk, sultry rhythms or vintage swing: everyone will find something great to fit their fancy with this exciting foretaste of the next edition of the world's biggest and best celebration of jazz, which will be held from June 25 to July 4, 2011. Tickets for these concerts are already available.

Sing the Truth! Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright continue the legacies of Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln and OdettaJune 25, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA – It's a fantastic assemblage of major women of the stage, in a massive Montreal premiere. Raising high the torch inherited from firebrand singers Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln and Odetta, this trio of superb vocalists intends to loudly proclaim their support for the civil rights cause. The program will certainly feature originals, but also melodies descended from the jazz, folk and blues legacy that inspired Dylan, Springsteen and Joplin, bequeathed by three recently-departed grandes dames, as well as flourishes of Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye and Erykah Badu! Around these three women who unite art and a great cause, are five musicians, including magnificently versatile pianist Geri Allen and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. It's going to be a wonderful, memorable evening!

Paco de LuciaJune 25, 7 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA – Aside from his highly-praised performances in the Jazz All-Year Round series, it's been 10 years since we enjoyed a summer concert by this artist we absolutely adore. And so we're celebrating his return, and not just any old way: Paco de Lucia, flamenco guitar virtuoso ("the greatest in the world, period," according to Pat Metheny) lands at the Festival to deliver a majestic opening concert featuring four other musicians, a dancer and two singers. A gem, in the magnificent setting of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier.

Milton Nascimento
June 25, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA – Undeniably one of Brazil's greatest stars, Milton Nascimento is the man whose transformative early work fusing Africanized jazz with Latino-American folk allowed an entire generation of artists to free themselves from the bossa nova. We haven't hosted him at the Festival for over 15 years, and needless to say, we've really missed him! An excellent guitarist, a singer with an astonishing tonal range, and a prolific composer, he is also one of those performers whose concerts remain forever etched in the memory. A major – and rare! – opportunity.

Battle of the Bands with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Artie Shaw OrchestraJune 26, 2 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA – Flashback. Late '30s. Two Big Bands. On one side, the Glenn Miller Orchestra (winners two years ago), on the other, the Artie Shaw Orchestra (the faves of the 2010 edition). They'll battle it out for the honor of their incredible respective repertoires-no holds barred! And if some liberties are taken, if one orchestra poaches a signature tune or two – or even a musician! – from the other, it only adds to the fun! It's a concept so unique that it's now been exported to western Canada and the U.S.! This 4th annual classic American Big Band throwdown features two legendary orchestras, on the same stage, at the same time, here to swing Festival fans the way they did in the famed New York ballrooms of their renowned heyday.

George Wein's 85th Birthday Celebration with the Newport All Stars: Randy Brecker, Anat Cohen, Lew Tabackin, Howard Alden, Lewis Nash and Peter WashingtonJune 26, 7 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité – The "father" of all jazz festivals – he created the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 – Wein was here with us for our 30th anniversary. We're returning the favor by welcoming him back to celebrate his 85th birthday! As youthful as ever, producer, promoter and pianist George Wein still visits the four corners of the globe with the cream of the jazz scene. This time out, the octogenarian pianist not only brings in Howard Alden (guitar), Lew Tabackin (tenor sax), Peter Washington (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums), who visited us in 2009, but trumpeter Randy Brecker and clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen, the young sensation of the moment.

Pink MartiniJune 28, 7 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA – It was absolutely meant to be, it was written in the stars: their 2009 concert, with full orchestra, sold out in record time! Right now, Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes have recently launched Joy to the World, an absolutely brilliant Christmas album, but they'll be in full Martini mode next summer, hitting the Fest with their 12 musicians, ready as ever to shake it and stir it up! And when these cats get to mixing their cocktail of jazz, swing, lounge, Latino and classical and pouring it out in English, Spanish, French, Italian and occasionally even in Arabic and modern Greek, the festivities could very well last all year!

Madeleine PeyrouxJune 29, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA – In 2009, she made her tour de force return to the Festival with Bare Bones, an album we'd been eagerly awaiting; this year, we're no less excited to welcome her back to Théâtre Maisonneuve! Steeped in folk, jazz and country, the silky-voiced singer (often compared to Billie Holiday) keeps us wanting more: with her versions of songs by Dylan, Baker, Cohen, Mitchell and Waits, but also-and above all-with her utterly remarkable originals.

Holly ColeJune 30, 6 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA – She first appeared on a Festival stage with her Holly Cole Trio 25 years ago! The talented singer from Nova Scotia has been back about 10 times since, but this latest four-year absence has been far too long for our liking! Voila – here she comes, with a new album, due in 2011. Expect her whispering contralto to transform yet more jazz and pop gems, confirming her undeniable interpretive talents.

June 30, 7:30, Bell Centre – Anglo-Nigerian songstress Sade is set to make her first ever Festival International de Jazz de Montréal appearance at Bell Centre. The artist, who rose to prominence in 1984 with her album Diamond Life, announced her big comeback to the world's music scene earlier this year. She will delight us with choice cuts from her varied smooth pop, jazz, and soul repertoire, and play songs from her latest release, Soldier of Love. The album climbed to the top of the charts and garnered favorable reviews from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Entertainment Weekly. The concert is presented in collaboration with Live Nation and evenko.
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