The Montreal Jazz Fest, always a gem on the global jazz calendar, recently released its first batch of confirmed shows for this year’s edition, which runs June 29 through July 8. As expected, there’s an appealing mix of heavy hitters and rising-star talents — jazz, blues, world music, indie sounds — on the bill.
Among those headed to Montreal: Snarky Puppy, Buddy Guy, (bassist) Avishai Cohen Trio, Mark Guiliana (June 30); Stacy Kent Trio, July 1; Melody Gardot, July 2; Herbie Hancock (pictured), July 3; Diana Krall, The Bad Plus, July 4; Marisa Monte, July 4-5; The Budos Band, Colin Stetson, July 6.
Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the bill, and hoping to get back to the fest, for the eighth time, this summer. Check out my coverage of the ’22 fest.
I finally got to take a closer look at the lineup for this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which takes places April 28 through May 5.
As anyone who’s ever attended knows, jazz has never been the main course — the fest is a sonic smorgasbord also featuring blues, rock, funk, R&B, soul, gospel, world music, Cajun, zydeco, hip-hop, country and other genres.
Still, there’s more good jazz — straight-ahead, contemporary, jazz-funk, early/traditional jazz, and jazzy brass band music — on the ‘Nola fest’s 12 or so stages than there is at most single-stage “jazz” fests, including the big one in my region.
Last year’s Jazz Fest notched a total attendance of about 475,000. Among the jazz or jazz-adjacent bands on the way to New Orleans this year:
Friday, April 28 — Nicholas Payton (pictured) featuring MonoNeon & Corey Fonville; Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers; the Soul Rebels; Something Else! featuring Vincent Herring, James Carter, Randy Brecker, Lewis Nash, Dave Kikoski, Paul Bollenback and Essiet Essiet; Jason Marsalis with Warren Wolf; Original Pinettes Brass Band; Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans; King Oliver Creole Jazz Band Centennial Led by Don Vappie; Storyville Stompers Brass Band; Leroy Jones & New Orleans’ Finest; Baby Boyz Brass Band; Hot Club of New Orleans; Craig Klein‘s Musical Conversations on Lucien Barbarin; On the Levee Jazz Band; Free Spirit Brass Band; Loyola University Jazz Band; New Wave Brass Band; Kat Walker Jazz Band — Scat with Ms. Kat
Saturday, April 29 — Catherine Russell; Dirty Dozen Brass Band; Tuba Skinny; Charmaine Neville Band; Soul Brass Band; The Lawrence Sieberth Collective featuring Oz Noy; Wendell Brunious and the New Orleans Allstars; Herbert McCarver & the Pin Stripe Brass Band; Panorama Jazz Band; Paulin Brothers Brass Band; Dr. Brice Miller & Mahogany Brass Band; Young Fellaz Brass Band; Clive Wilson‘s New Orleans Serenaders; The Chosen Ones Brass Band; Brasshearts Brass Band; The Knockaz Brass Band
Sunday, April 30 — Rebirth Brass Band; Davell Crawford; Tribute to Sidney Bechet featuring Donald Harrison Jr. and Aurora Nealand with Dr. Michael White; Shamarr Allen; Adonis Rose & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra featuring Jazzmeia Horn; George French & New Orleans Storyville Band; Jordan Family Tribute to Kidd Jordan featuring Stephanie, Rachel, Marlon and Kent Jordan; Stooges Brass Band; Preservation Brass; Gregg Stafford’s Jazz Hounds; Midnite Disturbers; Bill Summers & Jazalsa; New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra; John Mahoney Big Band Featuring Meryl Zimmerman; Da Truth Brass Band; Trombone Shorty Academy; 21st Century Brass Band; NOCCA Jazz Ensemble; All For One Brass Band; Big 6 Brass Band
Thursday, May 4 — Hot 8 Brass Band; Bonerama; Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns; Charlie Sepulveda & the Turnaround; Astral Project; Ricky Sebastian; David Batiste & the Gladiators; Aurora Nealand’s Royal Roses; Sons of Jazz Brass Band; New Orleans Music Program Led by Donald Harrison Jr.; One Mind Brass Band
Friday, May 5 — Jon Batiste; Christian McBride‘s (pictured) New Jawn; The Soul Rebels; Big Sam‘s Funky Nation; Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr.; Coltrane Legacy Featuring Tony Dagradi & Trevarri; Trumpet Mafia; New Breed Brass Band; Ingrid Lucia; Mark Braud‘s New Orleans Jazz Giants; Gerald French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band; Pocket Aces Brass Band; Jackson Square All Star Brass Band; Smitty Dee‘s Brass Band; New Generation Brass Band
Saturday, May 6 — Preservation Hall Jazz Band; Dee Dee Bridgewater; Terence Blanchard featuring the E-Collective and Turtle Island Quartet; Glen David Andrews Band; Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band featuring Thais Clark; New Orleans Nightcrawlers; Kinfolk Brass Band; Blodie’s Jazz Jam; Jesse McBride; Young Pinstripe Jazz Band; James Rivers Movement; Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble; Southern University Jazzy Jags; Da Souljas Brass Band;
Sunday, May 7 — Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Herbie Hancock; Delfeayo Marsalis (pictured) & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra; Kermit Ruffins‘ Tribute to Louis Armstrong; Jeremy Davenport; Don Vappie & His Creole Jazz Serenaders; Treme Brass Band; Lena Prima; Tom McDermott; New Birth Brass Band; David Torkanowsky: A Tribute to the ELM Music Company; New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra; Palm Court Jazz Band; High Steppers Brass Band; Real Untouchables Brass Band; UNO Jazz Allstars; Free Agents Jazz Band
The 40th anniversary edition of the French Quarter Festival, the other big spring music bash in New Orleans, is slated for April 13-16. FQF, sort of like Jazz Fest without the big national acts, is a free-admission affair that takes place on 20 stages throughout — you guessed it — the French Quarter.
Among the notable jazz and jazz-adjacent performers coming to FQF:
Thursday, April 13 — Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra; Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers; Mahogany Brass Band; Preservation Brass; Dirty Dozen Brass Band; Tuba Skinny
Friday, April 14 — Soul Rebels featuring Big Freedia; Bonerama; Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band; Palmetto Bug Stompers; Panorama Jazz Band; Kings of Brass; Red Hot Brass Band; Secret Six Jazz Band; Treme Brass Band; Wendell Brunious
Saturday, April 15 — Astral Project (right); Rebirth Brass Band; Barbara Shorts and Blue Jazz; Charmaine Neville; Don Vappie & Banjo A La Creole; Fritzel’s All Star Band; Kid Simmons Jazz Band; Leroy Jones‘ Original Hurricane Brass Band; Mark Braud‘s New Orleans Jazz Giants; Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns; New Orleans Classic Jazz Orchestra; New Orleans Nightcrawlers; NPS Arrowhead Jazz Band; Onward Brass Band; R Project Brass Band; Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band; Shannon Powell Traditional All-Star Band; Shamarr Allen; Original Pinettes Brass Band
Sunday, April 16 — 21st Century Brass; Clive Wilson’s New Orleans Serenaders; Hot Club of New Orleans; James Rivers Movement; Jena McSwain Jazz Band; Lena Prima; Leroy Jones & New Orleans’ Finest; On the Levee Jazz Band; Paulin Brothers Jazz Band; Red Wolf Brass Band; Storyville Stompers Brass Band; NOCCA Jazz Ensemble; Original Tuxedo Jazz Band.
A pair of Chet Baker sessions recorded for Dutch radio but never released are rising from the dead on “Blue Room: 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland” (Jazz Detective). The studio performances, with the trumpeter and singer backed by American and European musicians, will be released April 22 (Record Store Day) as a two-LP set, to be followed April 28 on CD and digital download.
The collection was co-produced by Grammy-nominated archival producer Zev Feldman, founder of the Jazz Detective label and Frank Jochemsen. “It was thrilling to find these two sessions where we can hear Chet in fantastic form with a great cast of supporting musicians,” Feldman has said. “It represents a welcome addition to Chet’s discography, as he spent much of his time in Europe; a delightful find that we all felt strongly deserved a chance to see the light of day.”
For the April 10 session, Baker was joined by pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse and drummer Charles Rice. Pianist Frans Elsen, bassist Victor Kaihatu and drummer Eric Ineke backed Baker on the Nov. 9 session.