All about that Jazz: Monday festival picks & more

Highlights of the weekend (and a really unfortunate no-show), what to see today and the big show to come.


Samito. Photo by Cindy Lopez (see the complete Jazz Fest week one gallery here)

Well, I promised a review of Sugarhill Gang and here it is: apparently they don’t know how to get to the airport. Saturday night’s scheduled Club Soda show from the hip hop pioneers was cancelled about an hour before curtains.

And that wasn’t even the only bummer I experienced that day, incidentally. Let’s just say I had an inadvertent little free-­form jazz jam from late afternoon into early evening when my west­bound 211 driver got lost among the many, many construction detours out of the city.

I just had to drop my kid off with my mom, but the whole affair, back and forth, cost me nearly four hours of travel, and I missed Samito‘s 8 p.m. outdoor set, which I declared the set-to-see outside that day.

I caught up quick by text today with local jazz talent and session man and fellow journalist David Ryshpan for the skinny.

“Samito’s set was the best I’ve heard from him and I’ve known him for years,” Ryshpan reports. “Gave the album tracks (from his eponymous debut, which dropped in late May) the dose of energy they need on a stage that big and it’s clear that the band are a good group of friends, too.”

Keep an eye out for your next chance to catch Samito, and I’ll do the same.

I did manage to catch about an hour of Kalmunity’s second midnight serenade at the Savoy du Metropolis, which was packed and poppin’ with the collective of players and truthsayers in fine form. The free, late-night Savoy series contiunes to come correct this week with more Montreal live-band hip hop goodness, which we’ll get into later in the week.

Tonight, by the grace of funk, I’ll be at Place des Arts’s Salle Wilfrid Pelletier for Kool & the Gang and back tomorrow with news from that and more previews.

Here are today’s picks to get the week off to a good start:

Monday, July 4

West Trainz

1 p.m.: If you’ve got a lucky day off, or are in town visiting with the kids, there’s a free (materials included) puppet-making workshop, “Creating and Handling Marionettes”, until 4 p.m. at the Rio Tinto Family Club area on the Place des Arts esplanade. Definitely a fun little thing to do if you’re jazzin’ it up with the kiddies. 175 Ste-Catherine W., free, outdoor

5 p.m.: I’m not even sure yet what West Trainz really is, but they play several outdoor sets this week and they promise a dance vibe, which is a decent way to end the work day for the office crowd looking for some action. Place des Festivals, Jeanne Mance btwn Ste-Catherine & de Maisonneuve, free, outdoor

7 & 9:45 p.m.: A legend, plain and simple, Hammond B3 jazz revolutionary Dr. Lonnie Smith and his trio perform off-site at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill four times this week: twice tonight and again tomorrow. Upstairs is a great, intimate place to get close and personal with jazz history over dinner and drinks. Indoor, 1254 Mackay , $40, 514-931-6808 for reservations

8:30 p.m.: Montreal International Jazz Festival favorites Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue make it brassy and sassy at Metropolis. Sure to be a stompin’ good party. Indoor, 59 Ste-Catherine E., $42$54.60

8:30 p.m.: All the celebration in the world with Kool & the Gang. Indoor, Place des Arts, 175 Ste-Catherine W., $73.75$93.75

9 p.m.: Brainfeeder label production talent Taylor McFerrin does his thing at l’Astral. Indoor, 305 Ste-Catherine W., $28$30

La Dame Blanche
La Dame Blanche

10 p.m.: Afro-Cuban talent, Buena Vista Social Club progeny and Sergent Garcia flautist la Dame Blanche takes over the Turkish Airlines/CBC Radio stage. Outdoor, Clark & de Montigny, free

EXTRA HI-HAT: There are apparently still a few tickets for Ms. Lauryn Hill‘s second night at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m., with opener Jalen N’Gonda. If the glowing reviews come in after night one, I guarantee they are gone, so think fast.

This week I’ll be bringing you some Q&A with Ms. Hill’s guitarist — Lachute/Montreal native and Kalmunity alumnus Jordan Peters — on the truly incredible tale of how he ended up working for the hip hop/R&B crowned queen, which I look forward to sharing immensely. Meanwhile, if you’re a fan and have the loot, you’re looking at between $93.75 and $118.75 for a theatre experience with an icon. ■

For a detailed site map, ticket info and the complete program, please consult the official Montreal International Jazz Festival website