The Gear Page, for the first time in its history, has chosen to affiliate with a guitar show. We made this decision regarding the Montreal Guitar Show because of its unique approach, the wonderful group of luthiers who will show their work, and the association of the guitar show with the Montreal Jazz Festival. We have sent one of the TGP Moderators ("Chiba") to cover both the Montreal Guitar Show and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Chiba is sending daily reports of what he is finding there. Below, and on the following pages are his articles as TGP's "roving reporter".
Air Canada, like every other airline in the world, has large planes and small planes. They sport marques like Boeing, Airbus and ... Bombardier. Bombardier is nearly obscure in most of the USA, but in the northern states, they're known for snowmobiles. Elsewhere in the US, they're known for jet skis.
The very small twin-engine Bombardier CRJ-200 50-passenger plane made it from Washington DC to Montreal in just over an hour, a trip that can take upwards of 14 hours by road. The passengers were a mix of people returning home from a stay in the states as well as musicians and music fans headed to the Montreal Jazz Festival. The Guitar Show starts tomorrow.
After a somewhat hairy scat into the city in a taxi, I found my hotel, 1 Rene Levesque, and found the accommodations nice. 1 Rene Levesque is a converted college dorm and it has great ambience and very helpful employees. As a matter of fact, the only problem I had was that the ethernet jack in my room was dead, but since there's a room downstairs with computers and ethernet jacks that do work, I find myself able to better reflect on the performance I just watched as well as concentrate on the photos and writing.
I've attended festivals and trade shows all over the US as a performer, vendor assistant, fan, and now as a journalist. I have to say that the staff running the Montreal Jazz Festival are completely on the ball. Everything has been very smooth and easy to navigate.
The Festival has a long stretch of Rue Saint-Catherine shut down to handle multiple outdoor stages. Though the sky is thick with dark, forboding clouds, it's not raining, so there's a big group of people just enjoying the music.
I caught a band called Gadji-Gadjo at the Radio Canada (CBC) Stage. They were incredibly tight and played an invigorating style of music that blended traditional jazz, big band and a bit of zydeco together for an eclectic and energetic set. With accordion, violin and clarinet all taking the lead from time to time, there was a great mix of melodies to listen to.
On the Rio Tinto Alcan Stage, a group of high school musicians called the Stage Band Montcalm ran through a set of crisp, horn-based jazz band standards. They had good feel and energy, and the phenomenal sound system gave them a good balance out in the crowd. While the trumpet soloists were a bit rough - though with great passion - the real stars of the Stage Band Montcalm were the saxophone soloists. The 20 or so kids in this band looked like they were having fun.
Tonight I'll be attending concerts by Japanese saxophonist Sadao Watanabe as well as trying to catch Gypsophilia (Halifax, Canada), Nobuki Takamen (Hiroshima, Japan), and Federico Aubele, whom I met on the plane.