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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 1999



bullet    Festival Overview
bullet   Buddy Guy

juillet/July, 1999


by "Toomey" Bonardelli



Montréal, Québec (APS): When summer finally arrives in this island city, all await for one of the largest festivals in town, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (FIJM). For two weeks, Montréal hosts a musical extravaganza on the downtown streets, and in the bars and concert halls. With the prestigious Place des Arts at its center, the FIJM boasts ten paid venues including a cinema and a cruise ship along with nine outdoor stages with free music. The music along with food vendors, an art show, and plenty of beer and wine contribute to this exquisite festival.

Over the years, the FIJM has grown to international stature. When performers leave this site, they will head to some of Europe’s great festivals. Big names of jazz, blues, and world music now come up to Montréal to be part of the festival. This year Roy Haynes, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield, Eddie Palmieri, and James Carter share the fest with blues names such as Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball, Tracy Nelson, Keb’Mo’, Ray Charles, Eddie Shaw, Wolfgang, and Johnny Winter. That is not all. Dixieland to Latin to African sounds are here too with the likes of Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Papa Wemba, Salif Keita and more. The visitor to the FIJM will not be disappointed.

The key to the success of the Montréal festival is organisation and support from the people of the city. Four blocks of downtown are closed off for the duration, and checkpoints are maintained at the entrance to the festival. To provide music free of charge at the festival, organisers insist that no backpacks full of beer or alcoholic beverages enter the area -a small price to pay for quality free shows. And do not expect muscle-bound bouncers at the festival entrances; you will be greeted with "Bonjour au festival" from the young and friendly red-shirted men and women. Such "politesse" will shock most American tourists used to rougher security personnel.

The support of the community is exhibited by the success of the "Les amis de festival" card. For $10 Canadian, you receive a CD record, and a chance to win a 2002 Gm automobile or a trip to Louisiana on US Airways. This money goes to pay for the performers at the free stages.

The eastern part of downtown comes alive for two weeks. Walk up the terrace of Place des Arts, and one finds several stages, official souvenir stands, along with the art exhibit. This year, silkscreens of the original artwork, "Chat roi", from the first festival have been commissioned by the widow of artist Alfred Pellan. This artwork shares the exhitit with the works of Frédéric Back, Miles Davis, Miyuki Tanobe, and Jean-Paul Riopelle in the Galerie du Festival. Behind Place des Arts, you find other free stages, like the ever-popular blues stage. Walk a little further and, at your disposal, are food booths offering a variety of snacks for all tastes.

Every year, FIJM puts on a free show at the scène duMaurier. This year, Carl Craig and the Innerzone Orchestra perform outdoors for a free show. Rue Ste.-Catherine is packed with dancers and partiers throughout the night. As with last year’s big event, the PA size will be boosted and TV screens will be set-up at the extremities of the area to guarantee a view for all.

For the serious jazz fan or even the summer tourist, FIJM is the place to be for those two weeks in July. The friendliness of the locals and the accommodations provided in this multi-cultural city guarantee a European-style vacation in North America.


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le 30 juin,1999


by "Toomey" Bonardelli

Energetic Buddy Guy Wows Montréal


Montréal, Québec (APS) Buddy Guy, Chicago’s famous blues club owner and performer, wowed the full Métropole Theater to start off the Festival Internationale de Jazz de Montréal on June 30, 1999. Guy’s over one hour show had all the stuff to satisfy any blues and rock taste. He performed songs from his recent Silvertone album "Heavy Love" to classic blues tunes. This evening’s performance was much more mellow than usual concerts.

All has not been rosy for this blues player. His career has been checkered in spite of his musical history as a Chess session guitarist, four-time Grammy winner, and Billboard’s 1993 Century Award recipient. Buddy Guy, known by all in the blues world, was still struggling while his contemporaries were enjoying record deals and increasing notoriety.

In addition to being an unsigned guitarist for nearly ten years, Buddy Guy had been severely affected by the 1990 death of one of his students, Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was Eric Clapton who helped pull Buddy back on track.

In 1991, Silvertone Records released the first of many Buddy Guy albums. Today, somewhat more secure, financially and emotionally, Buddy Guy says "Damn Right, I got the Blues". At 62 years old, Buddy has been dubbed the caretaker of the blues. Over a year ago, he thought that there were a handful of blues musicians left to spread the word. "Today, the hand isn’t so full and it’s real [sic] important to get the word out..."

In Montréal that evening, Buddy Guy showed his years of experience and his years on the road, learning, playing, and influencing the blues. Dressed in a wild colorful shirt, he danced along the stage. He used feedback to complement his solos and to create distorted chords, all seemingly at ease.

Guy could not resist a walk through the auditorium that took the crowd by surprise during the blues standard Sweet Home Chicagoome Chicago.Hkfk. That guaranteed the devotion of the audience and he had them for the rest of the evening.

Jimmie Vaughan opened up the program that evening with three back-up singers, and his special style of blues and R&B. While always referenced at Stevie Ray`s brother, Jimmie is a powerful player in his own right.

He has performed with many bands; the most popular was the Thunderbirds. Jimmie Vaughan left the band in 1990 after 15 years for a solo career and has been quite successful. He recently commented, "I feel like with this last album, Out There, that all the pieces are finally coming together. I touched on something that I want to dive all the way into ... kind of a feeling that I'm making a connection."

As with Buddy Guy, tragedy has been part of his life. His younger brother died in a helicopter crash in 1990, weeks before the release of the Vaughan Brothers' "Family Style" album, their long-awaited and only collaboration. Jimmie Vaughan withdrew from the public eye to spend time with his family and attend to his brother's estate. He reemerged in 1993 with his first solo album, "Strange Pleasure,"

As his promo material states, Vaughan is also more interested using his guitar to communicate than to unleash blazing barrages of notes. "To me, a solo is supposed to say something," he said. "I don't even want to know what I'm going to say until I say it. That's just how it works. You get to say what you feel right now.... It's like jazz, only it's the

blues." The audience at the Métropole got to hear what he had to say.


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