Festival season is officially upon us in Montreal. One of the highlights of this time of year is the city’s esteemed Jazz Festival, who are celebrating their 36th anniversary this year. Starting this Wednesday, esteemed performers from all around the world will be hitting up Montreal for what is sure to be 11 days of unforgettable live music.
With tenths of performances happening each day, some find it overwhelming to pinpoint who they should see. This is why today, we have gathered up 5 performances at this year’s Montreal International Jazz Festival that shouldn’t be missed:
5. Danny Brown
After years of border issues during attempts to perform in Canada, Fool’s Gold Records signee Danny Brown finally made his way to Montreal to 2013 alongside Action Bronson during their “2 High 2 Die” tour, and again the following year at Osheaga. The energy of his performances make you feel as if you’ve taken MDMA, even if you’re dead sober. With a new album on the horizon, its first single being one of his best songs in recent memory, Brown’s performance is sure to be the highlight of the Festival’s “Rythmes SiriusXM” series at Metropolis.
Danny Brown performs at Metropolis on July 5th
4. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Kicking off the festival are non other than Soul sensations, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, performing for free in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles area. Known for their distinct throwback sound (which has been used in films and television series such as The Wolf on Wall Street, Suits, and How to Make it In America), this funky bunch is the perfect way to kick off the festivities, and fun for the whole family, at that.
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings perform at Quartier des Spectacles on July 29th
3. Blue Note 75 Band
There is perhaps no label more synonymous with the word “Jazz” than the iconic Blue Note Records. Grouping together an all-star lineup of Lionel Loueke, Ambrose Akinmusire, Marcus Strickland, Derrick Hodge, Kendrick Scott, and festival favourite Robert Glasper to commemorate 75 years and counting of unforgettable Blue Note releases, this concert is essential for any diehard Jazz fan.
Blue Note 75 Band perform at Theatre Maisoneuve on July 1st & 2nd
2. Taj Mahal
At 74 years young, Harlem-born Taj Mahal returns to the Montreal International Jazz Festival for what will be his 5th performance since 1996. Clocking in to the 54th year of his career, 25 studio albums deep, the Blues legend has always kept true to the integrity of the genre. With performance reviews remaining rave as Taj (real name Henry Saint Clair Fredericks) chimes into the twilight years of his career, you can count on this being an unforgettable evening with a legend in the game doing what he does best.
Taj Mahal performs at Théâtre Maisonneuve on July 2nd
1. Kool & The Gang
Have you recently had an urge to “Get Down on It” or have a “Celebration” as of lately? Look no further, we’ve got just the event for you! A staple for partying and good times for over 5 decades strong, Kool & the Gang’s Place des Arts performance will undoubtedly have you out of your seat and groovin’ the whole night. It will be “Fresh”, to say the least (ok, we’ll stop!).
Kool & The Gang perform inside Place des Arts’ Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier on July 4th
Purchase all of your Jazz Festival tickets here.