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The veterans’ club

The 2009 edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal featured sages who, defying their 80 some years, showed that their love of music has only intensified with age.

Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck

The 30th anniversary of the Festival coincided with the 50th anniversary of the most famous opus of Dave Brubeck, Time Out – the first jazz album to have sold over a million copies. To mark the event, the Californian pianist was set to reinterpret his classic in full. However, a personal tragedy forced the 88-year-old musician to change the evening’s program at the last minute. Even in adversity, Mr. Brubeck delivered a dignified performance to a very appreciative public.

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman

Winner of the 2009 Miles Davis Award, the “father of free jazz” gave a memorable concert at Théâtre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts. Playing the saxophone, then switching to the trumpet and finally the violin, Mr. Coleman, 79, showed that he can still hold his own onstage. The next day, certain festival-goers were fortunate enough to chat with the pioneering musician, catching him on Ste. Catherine St. just steps away from the Festival.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

A regular on Montreal stages, Tony Bennett, 83 years young, gave a notable concert at the 30th edition of the Festival. After his daughter Antonia performed a few songs, the famous crooner took his rightful place in the spotlight. Showing no signs of slowing down, Mr. Bennett charmed the crowd with inspired interpretations of his classics as well as playful covers – his version of Fly Me to the Moon, sung without a microphone, was a hit. Class personified...

Sheila Jordan

Sheila Jordan

Sheila Jordan has been singing since childhood, but her talent only gained recognition from the 1970s onward. In 2009, the 80-year-old artist shared her vast wealth of musical experience at the Festival, where she had appeared the previous year. Drawing crowds to the Upstairs bar, the queen of scat took the stage alongside the Jeff Johnston Trio, delivering her trademark vocal acrobatics and proving she’s as supple and powerful as ever.

Jimmy Cobb

Jimmy Cobb

Legendary American drummer Jimmy Cobb came to the Festival to interpret Miles Davis’ innovative album Kind of Blue. The only surviving member to have participated in the original recording, Mr. Cobb, 80, was accompanied by the “young” musicians of the So What Band (Larry Willis, Wallace Roney, Vincent Herring, Javon Jackson and John Webber). Respecting the sequence of the original LP as it was conceived 50 years ago, Mr. Cobb valiantly performed So What and Freddie Freeloader all the way to Flamenco Sketches, ensuring the role of metronome that Davis had given him at the time.

George Wein

TGeorge Wein

For its 30th anniversary, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal honoured George Wein, the “father of all jazz festivals,” who, in 1954, created the first event of its kind: the Newport Jazz Festival. Mr. Wein, 83, was presented with a symbolic silkscreen of Louis Armstrong, a piece created by Tony Bennett especially for the Festival. That same evening, the Boston native settled behind the piano on the Théâtre Jean-Duceppe stage. Flanked by his Newport All Stars – Lew Tabackin, Randy Sandke, Howard Alden, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash – he gave a much-appreciated concert.

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