It’s Jazz Fest time! Catch 4 free shows by Concordia virtuosos
Every summer, this city transforms into a gigantic concert venue to host the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the largest of its kind in the world.
From today until July 8, millions of local and visiting music fans will take over the city’s downtown core to enjoy performances by an eclectic array of solo acts and ensembles from 17 countries around the globe.
“Both Louis and Nicolas worked very hard over their time at Concordia, so it was no surprise that the festival wanted to program them as artists. I see a very bright future ahead for the graduates of our Jazz Studies program as they make their presence felt in the greater community.”
‘Before I came to Concordia, I didn't think I could play jazz’
Perron, who plays the bass, graduated this year from Concordia’s Specialization in Jazz Studies. His quintet will perform two free shows on July 7.
The festival gave him a place in the program after he won the prestigious Oscar Peterson Jazz Scholarship, an achievement he said was possible thanks to the skill and confidence he gained during his university studies.
“Before I came to Concordia, I didn't really think I could play jazz. I thought I was someone who just didn't get it,” admits Perron, who says the jazz program taught him how to work toward his improvisational goals.
“It showed me how to approach my music with a certain calmness. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed when playing live jazz because there are so many possibilities. The pressure to come up with something cool on the spot can be daunting.”
‘It's about being able to learn and listen’
Perron says he soon realized, however, that succeeding at jazz came down to practice, hard work and motivation.
“It’s really about being able to learn and listen. Once I started thinking of myself as someone who can get jazz, it started to work for me. The writing began happening and the improvisations came.”
Perron says audiences can expect his band’s performances to blend traditional jazz with contemporary funk, including some originals.
“One of the tunes I’ll be playing I wrote in the second year of my degree. It has a darker tone because it’s about an unsolved mystery. I think it’s pretty fun.”
The other members of the Louis Perron Quintet are: Kellan Selig (guitar), Ben Mayo Goldberg (drums), Daniel Rosenthal Romagnolo (saxophone) and Marcus "Blues" Selman (trumpet).
Catch the Louis Perron Quintet on July 7 at 1 p.m. at Place Heineken (corner of Sainte-Catherine and Bleury) and again at 5 p.m. at Complexe Desjardins' Grande-Place.
The winner of the Charles Ellison Award takes the stage
Guitarist Nicolas Laurencelle will perform on July 2 with his band, the Silveresque Quartet, formed in 2015 during an improvisation combo at Concordia.
The band includes Concordia graduate François Gallant (BFA 17) on bass, Katherine Paradis on saxophone, and Mathew Higden on drums. Current Concordia student, Laura Anglade, will make a guest appearance with the group on vocals.
Laurencelle says the atmosphere at the university made it easy to form connections with other musicians and experiment. “A great aspect of Concordia is its community, which makes the learning experience closer to enthusiasm in my case,” he adds.
“Playfulness was a focus for many teachers I had the chance to meet, and so it all made sense in a musical environment.
The young musician won a spot at the festival after being nominated for Concordia’s Jazz Studies Scholarship and subsequently winning the Charles Ellison Award, which highlights musical ability, originality and academic result.
“To have the recognition of our teachers is something, but to play at the Jazz Fest is a cornerstone in my development. It was actually one of the five-year goals I set in a career class back in 2013.”
Catch performances by the Silveresque Quartet at Place Heineken on July 2 at 1 p.m. and at Complexe Desjardins' Grande-Place at 5 p.m. Both shows are free.
Find out more about Concordia’s Jazz Studies Specialization.