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It was a perfect night — it wasn't too hot, it wasn't too cool, it was just the right night.
And just like that, it's back. And in earnest. After two toned-down pandemic editions, the 42ndMontreal International Jazz Festivalis headed by Genderfluid's Australian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer Tash Sultana. Held Thursday night with a free outdoor explosion of lining.
Sultana is like a phenomenon. A one-man band playing guitar since the age of three has an endless list of pianos, basses, horns, drums, beat-making machines and other instruments. Hone their skills on the way, and with open mics and buses on the streets of Melbourne. Adding a 5 octave vocal range will bring a Hecuba performer to the opening knight.
It was certainly no coincidence that Sade's Smooth Operator played in PA just before Sultana entered the TD stage. For the first time in my memory, at the request of the artist, there was no official festival introduction for the outdoor explosion. Sultana just walked, picked up the guitar and started playing.
The bluesy riffs turned into quivering grooves that quickly looped and were constructed with layers of lightly pulled out atmosphere. When Sultana dropped the beat, his body began to move. And I heard a voice — hot and humid, soaring, and irresistibly stirring.
The effect is thrilling and captivating when a tattooed sultana dances around the stage and is all black with dark blonde rock rolling from a beanie, with just one person. I noticed that I was making all the noise. ..
This leads us to another first place. This is the first time that a jazz fest explosion has occurred almost completely alone. (Several musicians participated in Sultana in the middle of the show.)
Earplugs helped when the sultana began to shred. Settled in the light riffs of mystic, a deep-rooted reggae groove, and the sultana's voice flew over, cheers broke out.
They picked up a saxophone for a funky techno truck and then dropped it for a spare guitar detail cigarette. This is a song about being in a "permanent vacation of the soul".
Sultana showed the knack of catchy hooks with a seriously groovy love jam Pretty Lady, and showed her rap skills with the socially important funk soul jewel Greed on last year's Terra Firma album.
And until late at night, a swarm of enrapts barked all the way down the block.
"There are a lot of people here," Sultana was surprised. "I didn't notice until I opened my eyes. If you looked around you, you never knew who would be here tonight. All ages, all races, all genders, and literally all. There are people, and that's the power of music. It's the most beautiful of all.
"This song is called a coma. If you're going to smoke a joint, smoke it now. "
This 42nd edition has hardly started and the bar was already set very high.
Long before Sultana went on stage, just past sunset at 9:30 pm, the site was busy and led to traffic jams trying to pass through parts of the site.
Occasionally there was cannabis and cigar smoke, and there was excitement in the air. When Wynton Marsalis stood up indoors at Salle Wilfred-Pelletier in Placedes Arts, Ottawa blues singer and contrabass player Angelique Francis was holding a courtroom outside the Rogers stage.
She wasn't shy and gathered an enthusiastic crowd after 7 pm. The Francis website has a comparison with Bessie Smith and Muddy Waters, but it's not that big of a deal. She has a strong, gritty voice and she knows how to use it.
She listened to her call to "make money," and her reference to Mardi Gras provided a background for the festive sounds of the Francis genre.
Her female horn section spotlighted reggae-style numbers, and a chugging tune called Snow Rage felt Canadian.
Toronto folk rock singer-songwriter AHI (real name: Ahkinoah Habah Izarh) brought a heartfelt urgency to his guitar ballad on the Rio Tinto stage. When the crowd filled the steps of Place des Arts and lined up at Ste-Catherine St., they were in the office as if they were another day.
It was almost enough to make us forget about the last two years or more. People in Montreal may not be able to practice at this full-scale summer festival, but our muscle memory begins.
The Montreal International Jazz Festivalwill be held until July 9th. And for information,montrealjazzfest.com
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