2011 Montreal Jazz Festival Anchored by International Artists of All Ages
The Montreal Jazz Festival is known as one of the great jazz festivals in the world, thanks to the fact that it brings in world-class talent from everywhere. Running from June 25 to July 4, the 32nd annual Festival International de Jazz de Montreal had keynote performances by Tony Bennett, the new Return to Forever quintet lineup, Sade, Pink Martini and others, but one of the truly wonderful parts of Montreal's festival is the free music presented around the four-square-block festival grounds that is located between downtown and several historic districts.
Eva Hambach, AFP/Getty Images
Each year, the festival puts together a thousand performances that range from student bands to music legends. The festival has seven clubs, two large theaters and five outdoor stages that dot over the festival grounds. On the plaza at the center between the Downtown Hyatt, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier theater and Theatre Maisonneuve is a variety of temporary restaurants, food stands, children's play areas and seating for just chilling out. On a warm summer afternoon or evening, you can walk the grounds eating, drinking and listening to your hearts content. There are small booths hosting live radio broadcasts, CD stores and intimate performances (We saw Esperanza Spalding playing a small side stage for free just a few years ago).
While much of the club billings leaned towards jazz of various types, the outdoor stages offered music that ranged from blues of Studebaker John and the Hawks to the New Orleans groove of Galactic to a variety of Dixieland bands early in the day to festival closing night headliner the B-52s. Music starts at noon with an assortment of local student bands.
The B-52s Perform at Montreal Jazz