Music Is My Sanctuary Guide to the 2015 Montreal Jazz Fest

The 36th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival is upon us and we here at MIMS have taken it upon ourselves to recommend some of our favorite acts & live shows for you to make the most out of these 10 days of musical madness. We are also taking part in the festivities with our 8th anniversary celebration at Metropolis on July 4th! (Details below)

Friday June 26th

Theo Croker
A young trumpeter who benefited from the teaching and mentoring of legends such as Donald Byrd, Marcus Belgrave & Gary Bartz is launching his new Afro-Physicist record produced by Dee Dee Bridgewater. These young jazz musicians with broader horizons and roots to the spiritual past are leading the way in what jazz has become, so take a ride and discover this fresh new sound.

Heart Streets
One of our favorite new groups from Montreal, the two girls from Heart Streets have been doing their thing for a few years now and it’s only a matter of time before they make it big. We’re looking forward to seeing how their live show has evolved as they keep gaining confidence. A lovely mix of R&B and Rap.

It’s no secret one of the hottest weekly spots in Montreal is Thrusday’s at Bleury with #LeCypher jam-session that easily fuses hip-hop,jazz,soul and modern R-n-B. The unmistakable energy of seasoned performers putting together a live set of improvised jams and funky covers of modern classics is being brought live to Jazz fest for many nights during the Festival.

Saturday June 27th

Las Cafeteras
Las Cafeteras is a Chicano band from East Los Angeles, California.Their music fuses spoken word, with traditional Son Jarocho, Afro-Mexican music and zapateado dancing. Everything you like about the spoken word afro-soul scene here in Montreal but from an Afro-Mexican perspective and with live dancing the performances are sure to be captivating and deep.

Speakeasy Electro Swing
Swingers are ready to be served the best in Electro-swing, Balkan beats and house remix of music from the 40s with wild live dancing it’s a pretty unique experience.

Stanley Clarke
You simply can’t miss the chance to hear this virtuo bassist and legend of Jazz Fusion.

One of the most exciting young groups in Jazz right now. The anglo-scandinavian trio are back at the MTL Jazz Fest but we’ve never seen them here. And considering we play their tracks very often at our nights we can’t miss their live show! Definitely in our top 5 most anticipated shows.

Sunday June 28th

Rachel Therrien Quintet
Montreal trumpeter and composer Rachel Therrien has managed to accomplish a lot in a short time. Travelling the world from Cuba to Columbia and leading many creative workshops you can expect exceptional and creative jazz from this quintet.

Robert Glasper Trio
The man returns to Montreal in trio form this time which will lead to a very interesting evening. Not to say that this is closer to more traditional jazz roots but I can’t wait to see and hear how the trip from the success of the Robert Glasper Experiment back to the core of Glasper’s jazz beginnings will pan out and where it will lead the audience.

Jai Nitai Lotus
Long-time emcee and producer Jai Nitai Lotus always brings tremendous energy to the Jazz Fest stage with banging beats, great vocal backing and awesome lyricism this will be a high octane live hip-hop performance .

Ikebe Shakedown
We had the chance of playing with these guys (and Soul Jazz Orchestra) a year ago in Montreal and these guys absolutely destroyed it. This is for all the Soul-Jazz-Afro-Funk heads!

Monday June 29th

Heads of State (Gary Bartz, Buster Williams, Larry Willis, Al Foster)
Four giants of Jazz music unite for a listening experience for the most discerning jazz heads!

Erykah Badu
No need for an explanation on this one, but I may add that Badu may be one of the best live acts form the Neo-Soul world. Theatricality, emotion and pure soul will be on the menu with Charles Hamilton as an appetizer. Get ready to grind and swoon in a more intimate Place-des-Arts setting.

Nomadic Massive
The most upbeat and inspiring International Montreal HipHop Crew is back to rock the JazzFest stage. With a new album in the works the nomads will no doubt destroy the stage as always.

Gogo Penguin
Along with Phronesis and BadBadNotGood (also performing), UK’s Gogo Penguin are amongst our favorite young jazz groups. The young trio draws influences from electronic music, trip-hop and deep jazz. This one is also in our top 5 most anticipated shows.

Tuesday June 30th

Wayne Shorter
Saxophone legend Wayne Shorter is the perfect pick of established artist for the Jazz Fest because of his creativity and risk taking internationally influenced compositions.

Snarky Puppy
Grammy award winning Snarky Puppy are sure to bring the funk and they have collaborated with many of Montreal’s most taented singers so I am convinced the show will be extra special and full of surprises.

Also highly recommended: Detroit MC (adopted Montrealer) Illa J and local caribbean funkster Wesli (back from a worldwide tour) will also have great free outdoor shows to offer

Wednesday July 1st

Charles Bradley
I have seen Charles Bradley live and to this day it stands out to me as one of the greatest musical experiences I have witnessed. The quality of the music is unmatched of course but it’s the sheer emotion of a life of suffering and simple joys of Bradley being so appreciative to be on stage as well a the raw energy emanating from the veteran that has touched audiences worldwide. Opening act is awesome and pick up a record or two from the Daptone merch table.

Blending Afro-peruvian grooves with electronic music this veteran band has taken the cumbia amazonica sound to the 21st century.

Thursday July 2nd

Busty and the Bass
This high-octane funk band made up of McGill alumni has been rocking shows and getting some well deserved shine in NYC don’t miss their homecoming show. As far as retro-funk they are the real deal.

Also recommended is the R&B singer Melanie Durrant and Montreal’s own Face-T, veteran of the reggae & dancehall scene and frequent collaborator with our good friend Poirier.

Friday July 3rd

Heavy Soundz
Montreal collective Heavy Soundz fuse hip-hop, latin drums and get the party exploding whenever they hit the stage with their full instrumental ensemble.

Montreal premier of the documentary on the highly influential and genre-bending bass player Jaco Pastorius

Also highly recommended is Toronto’s Elizabeth Shepherd, a great jazz and soul singer.

Saturday July 4th

Hichem Khalfa 5tet
Montreal trumpeter Hichem Khalfa has assembled a quintet with musicians as talented and focused as he is. A true gem of a group to discover.

Music Is My Sanctuary 8th year Anniversary
Mick Jenkins, Ghostface Killah, BADBADNOTGOOD + DJ set from Lexis (Hosted by Boogat)

Each year we try to celebrate our anniversary in style with some great guests (year 4 was Lefto, 5 was Jazzanova at the Jazz Fest, 6 was Kode9 and last year was Leon Vynehall at Piknic Electronic). This promises to be our best birthday jam yet with an absolutely loaded lineup! The first part of the show is paid and from midnight to 3am it will be a Free dance floor party! We hope to see you there! (Details)


Sunday July 5th

BBking tribute
The Jazz Fest is synonymous with the Blues and BB is one of the most prestigious artists that has graced its stage. Pay homage to a legend and give him the send off he deserves

SoulJazz Orchestra
Ottawa Afrobeat band extraordinaire SoulJazz Orchestra will be back for two can’t miss performances. They pack the Afrobeat punch but bring a unique almost psychedelic flavor to the mix and the band is so tight that the result is stunning.

Series Compositeurs Jazz
Throughout the duration of the festival, Bleury Bar a Vinyl will be hosting a Jazz Composers Series featuring musicians from Montreal, Toronto, New York & Chicago who will meet, practice each other’s compositions and perform all within a one-day span. A true return to Jazz’s essence and some unique captivating performing you can catch just two steps away from the main stages. Our own ASMA will be DJing between sets on July 1st, Lexis on the 2nd , Dr. Miette 29th of June.