With the 38th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Fest set to kick off this week, we’ve rounded up our picks of the indoor shows we’re most looking forward to throughout the festival, which runs from Wednesday, June 28th through Saturday, July 8. Given the multi-genre mash-up of the fest (and the fact that we’re far from jazz aficionados over here), these eclectic picks should offer up something for all tastes. Check out our recommendations below. For tickets and the full schedule visit montrealjazzfest.com.
If you’re interested in checking out some free shows, we’ll have our outdoor show picks up in the coming days. In the meantime, don’t miss our previews for the free Half Moon Run / The Franklin Electric / Coeur de Pirate blow-out on June 28th and the free Anderson .Paak closing show on July 8.
Thursday, June 29
Caravan Palace at Metropolis
Paris-based Caravan Palace blend electronic dance music with jazz and swing to create a quirky, high-energy sound akin to Cab Calloway collaborating with Daft Funk. The 7-piece band has won raves for their deliriously frenetic live shows, so get your dancing shoes ready for this one. 8:30 pm, $43-$48.
Friday, June 30
Buddy Guy at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
The legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy tops off a triple-bill of blues alongside Charlie Musselwhite and the duo of Steve Hill and Matt Andersen. 7:30 pm, $83.75 to $108.75.
Bob Dylan at Centre Bell
Speaking of legends, the peerless Bob Dylan returns to town in support of his latest LP, Triplicate, a collection of standards interpreted in his patented gravelly-voiced manner. Going by recent set lists, expect to hear a few cuts from Triplicate alongside classics like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Ballad of a Thin Man.” 8:00 pm, $62.50 to $137.50.
Harlem Gospel Choir at Théâtre Maisonneuve
Get to Church with the world-renowned Harlem Gospel Choir, featuring nine singers ranging in age from 17 to 70. Do you see the light?! 8:00 pm, $47.25 to $59.25.
Saturday, July 1
Gipsy Kings at Théâtre Maisonneuve
The legends behind the wedding-staple “Bamboléo” return to Montreal for the first time in seven years to deliver their unique take on Andalusian flamenco/sala/pop. 8:00 pm, $88.75 to $94.75.
Thievery Corporation at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
The reigning lounge / trip hop DJ duo focus their sound on Jamaican dub on their latest LP, The Temple of I & I, so expect a strong dose of musical Jah-love at this one. 7:30 pm, $62.25 to $88.75.
Sunday, July 2
Ron Sexsmith at Club Soda
Long-standing Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith recently released his 15th LP, the 60’s-inspired The Last Rider, and heads to Jazz Fest in support of it for an early show at Club Soda. 6:00 pm (!) $33.25 to $35.25.
Music of La La Land
Just like Ryan Gosling, you too can save jazz by attending this live score of the La La Land film, conducted by Erik Ochsner. 7:30 pm, $78.75 to $103.75.
Men Without Hats at Club Soda
Montreal new wave heroes Men Without Hats will have you dancing safely late into the night at this headlining show, following their outdoor Canada Day appearance as part of the Jazz Fest Discothèque. 10:00 pm, $33.25 to $35.25.
Monday, July 3
King Crimson at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
The prog-rock originators will undoubtedly thrill a roomful of gear-heads with their intricately dense and heady compositions. Given Montreal’s love of all things prog, this will likely be one of the most in-demand shows of the festival. 7:30 pm, $93.75 to $210.25.
Jesse Mac Cormack Is Muddy Waters at Cinquième Salle – Place des Arts
In what is sure to be an interesting match-up, Montreal alt-folk singer Jesse Mac Cormack tackles the explosive music of legendary bluesman Muddy Waters for this one-off event. 7:00 pm, $37.75.
Tuesday, July 4
Charles Bradley at Metropolis
Following his recent bout with stomach cancer, soul revivalist Charles Bradley is back in action, and we’re all the better off for it. With his crack band the Extraordinaires in tow, the spiritual descendant of Otis Redding and James Brown returns to Montreal after cancelling his last scheduled show here due to his recent health scare. Why would you possibly miss this? 8:30 pm, $41 to $45.
Feist at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
Beloved Canadian singer Feist just released her long-awaited new LP, Pleasure, and she’s set to bring the intimate sound of that new record to Place des Arts for a rare show. Charlotte Day Wilson opens, following her recent sold-out show at Phi Centre back in April, making for a strong double-bill. 7:30, $57.25 to $78.75.
Nicholas Payton at Monument National
New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton’s latest LP, Afro-Caribbean Mixtape, fuses a multitude of genres including jazz, hip hop and spoken word to create a rich tapestry of African-based music as it has evolved and mutated over generations. Payton brings his mixtape to life for one show at Monument National, with support from keyboardist Laurent Coulondre. 8:00 pm, $46.75.
Wednesday, July 5
Joey Bada$$ at Metropolis
The politically-leaning Brooklyn rapper will bring some bounce to Jazz Fest when he hits Metropolis in support of 2017’s All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ LP. 8:30 pm, $43 to $48.
Thursday, July 6
The O’Jays & The Four Tops at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
Detroit and Philly will battle it out as R&B legends The O’Jays & The Four Tops team up for a can’t-miss double-header at Place des Arts. With deep pockets of 60’s and 70’s hits between both acts, be prepared for a night of irresistible soul delivered by true masters of the genre. 7:30, $88.75 to $118.75.
Friday, July 7
The Barr Brothers, Bassekou Kouyaté & Amy Sacko at Théâtre Maisonneuve
Montreal folk act The Barr Brothers team up with Malian musical duo Bassekou Kouyaté & Amy Sacko for this one-of-a-kind show at Place des Arts. Montreal’s Esmerine open. 8:00 pm, $47.25 to $57.25.
Tanya Tagaq at Club Soda
Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq is a stunning performer, crafting otherworldly sounds as haunting as they are beautiful. She’ll perform in support of her latest LP, Retribution, focusing on the rape — both spiritual and physical — of our Indigenous people. This is protest music at its most visceral and urgent. 10:00 pm, $38.25 to $40.25.
Saturday, July 8
Bros at Club Soda
Ewan and Shamus Currie of Saskatoon rockers The Sheepdogs step aside from slinging rock riffs to embrace the sounds of funk and Latin rock with their aptly-titled Bros project. 10:00 pm, $33.25 to $35.25.
Tony Allen at Monument-National
Nigerian-born Tony Allen, the former drummer and musical director for the great Fela Kuti, brings his legendary drumming skills to Montreal for the closing night of this year’s Jazz Fest. Don’t miss the chance to catch the co-founder of Afrobeat in this intimate setting as he pays tribute to one of his idols, Art Blakey, founder of the Jazz Messengers. 8:00 pm, $50.75.