It's hard to believe June 30th, 2015 was Snarky Puppy's first time performing at the Montreal Jazz Festival; they filled the 2300-capacity Métropolis Theatre like a veteran act. That's not to say that Snarky Puppy hasn't been around for a while (they formed in 2004) or that they haven't performed in Montreal before (they have, several times), but after winning a Grammy in 2014, the collective seems to be just hitting their stride. Their Montreal show was their 20th concert in 21 days, and the final stop of their North American tour.
In a few weeks, the 40th edition of the three-day North Sea Jazz Festival (Friday July 10 - Sunday July 12) will kick off. Held in the Ahoy halls in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, North Sea Jazz Festival is one of the biggest and internationally most renowned jazz festivals on the European continent. In this first post of two on the festival, I will highlight a number of interesting acts.
On Monday, June 29, 2015 at the 36th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, I went to hear two quartets led by two of the most influential guitarists of our time: the Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet featuring Aaron Parks (piano and Fender Rhodes), Eric Revis (upright bass), and Allan Mednard (drums) and the John Scofield / Joe Lovano Quartet with Larry Grenadier (upright bass) and Bill Stewart (drums).
The crowd was already riled up by the time Christian Scott and his sextet stepped onto the stage of a packed Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill on June 28th. Scott, sporting colourful clothing and a thick gold chain around his neck, wasted no time launching into the second set of the evening.
The collaboration between Joshua Redman (sax), Reid Anderson (bass), Ethan Iverson (piano), and David King (drums) is one of the most musically successful enterprises in recent memory. The band has been touring together on and off since recording The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch) and played to a nearly sold-out crowd Sunday, June 28 at the historic Theatre Maisonneuve as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The group gave a truly inspiring performance of selections taken entirely from the studio recording, which features compositions from everyone in the band. It was especially interesting to watch the interactions between various members of the group, whether it was Redman cheering on Iverson during a particularly moving melodic part of a piano solo or the musical exchanges between Redman and King, which elicited a lot of the excitement throughout the set.