Montreal Music Festival 2014

July 25, 2017
Osheaga 2014 lineup announced

• C is for a Culture-town with 38 museums. A lot of artists, musicians and writers live in Montreal and support a thriving culture scene. Bookshops such Indigo employ people who know the stock to help customers, with separate advisers for English and French. There are plenty of cafes in every neighbourhood.

• D could be either of the Dianas, Krall or Ross, who were performing at the festival. Diana Krall marked a 20-year association with the festival by performing to a huge audience on the main outdoor free stage. As Bernie Perusse, a leading Montreal music critic, tweeted: “Obvious jazz fest newbie arrives on site 9:10, saying 'On verra pas Diana Krall.' Wait, you were expecting to SEE her?” . Diana Ross's show was one of the unqualified successes of the festival. Photographers were not allowed in, but ageing print journalists were seen dancing in the aisles to “I Will Survive”.

• E is Elvis Costello, and all the other guests and sitters-in that create the unexpected at a jazz festival. They're always announced as surprises – you could hardly call Elvis Costello's appearance at the Diana Krall show a real surprise.

Elvis Costello with his wife Diana Krall at the Montreal Jazz Festival Pic: GETTY IMAGES

• F Aretha Franklin. The high-kicking Queen of Soul is reviewed here. Shame about the malfunctioning backing tracks.

• G. Guitar. They are everywhere during the festival. There's one on every stage, one in a backpack in every lift. The Festival remembered the late Paco de Lucia with a special prize. I heard the very fine Peter Bernstein. He's that very rare bird, an under-stated and quiet New Yorker.

• H. Harold Mabern. A pianist now in his late seventies who's played with everyone, and was in Bernstein's group, with drum legend Jimmy Cobb too. Mabern doesn't show off, just builds intensity by punching and holding chords. I was just a few feet from him at the club Upstairs. Unforgettable.

• I. Iroquois, the original inhabitants of the island of Montreal. If these nomads hadn't been such good fur trappers, if beaver fur hadn't found a market for the linings of hats in Paris . . . then the history of Montreal could have been very different.

• J. Jazz. After 35 years this festival is too big to just be about jazz. It's a high-profile national institution for which the Prime Ministers of both Canada and of Quebec write welcome greetings in the programme. Jazz people worry that commercial imperatives threaten to make the jazz marginal. From what I saw, this was an audience expecting its jazz, wanting it, and loving it.

• K is for kids. I attended a performance by the Little School of Jazz. It's been going for nearly three decades and replaced personnel several times, apart from one veteran drummer. These folk know what they are doing, every toddler watching the show was completely transfixed.

• L. Loose change, or rather the lack of it in Montreal pockets ever since the demise of the one cent coin. Retailers simply round the prices shown up or down to the nearest five cents, and no copper coins change hands any more. The government announced it in 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint started taking in the coins a year ago. Everyone seems happy about it, and it does save a lot of time.

• M. Montreal's Metro system. The Metro dates from the planning exuberance in the period of the Expo in 1967, running up to the Olympics in 1976. The bits which really worked were the money which was poured into developing a network of miles of underground passages and shopping malls, all linked to the Metro. In the winter they are vital. Less successful from that period was the now white elephant Olympic stadium.

• N for Nelson's Column. Reminders of the UK are plentiful. Montreal has a column with a statue of Nelson which was erected in 1809.The statue from the original monument now sits in the Historical Museum, which tells the story of the city's history from the first French in the 1620s up to the present day, and tells it very well. It is strange irony to have a statue celebrating a victory over the French, in a French-speaking town.

Lake Street Dive - Festival de jazz de Montreal 2014
Lake Street Dive - Festival de jazz de Montreal 2014
Montreal Ukrainian Festival 2014
Montreal Ukrainian Festival 2014
Ester Rada - Feeling Good - Montreal jazz festival - 2014
Ester Rada - Feeling Good - Montreal jazz festival - 2014
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