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The Legends of Jazz

The Festival's Artistic Director, André Ménard takes a trip down memory lane and reminisces on some of the legendary names who have graced the Festival's stages over the years.

Leonard CohenLeonard Cohen
It was a long-time dream to present Leonard Cohen at the Festival. It took many years of patience and the opportunity to do him a favour to make it happen in 2008.

Keith JarrettKeith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett concerts are always special. Place des Arts and the MSO would only let him use the rehearsal piano, so he flew his technician to Montréal and completely rebuilt the piano – at his own expense. A true virtuoso.

Ella FitzgeraldElla Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald performed at the Festival in 1983 and 1987. A relaxed, down-to-earth- lady, she had a wry sense of humour.

John McLaughlinJohn McLaughlin
John McLaughlin was booked as headliner in 1994 in a triple bill at the Forum with Milton Nascimento and the brilliant Paco de Lucía, who stole the show.

Antonio Carlos Jobim Antonio Carlos Jobim
The Festival pursued Antonio Carlos Jobim for years. In 1986 he came to Montréal for the first time and was a hit on and off the stage.

Paco de LucíaPaco de Lucía
In 1984 Paco de Lucía refused to tour as opening act for Milton Nascimento but agreed to perform the one show in Montréal. A late flight necessitated dare-devil driving rewarded by a private warm-up concert.

Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin
In 2008 Aretha Franklin, whose voice did not like air-conditioning, required heaters on the path from the dressing room to her microphone on stage.

UZEB played the Main Event for Montréal’s 350th birthday in 1992. It was their unofficial farewell concert.

Dave Holland and Jim HallDave Holland and Jim Hall
The 2000 Invitation Series was shared by bassist Dave Holland guitarist Jim Hall. Holland played a duet, trio, a quintet and achieved his dream of putting together a big band that went on to tour the world. Hall played duets with favourite musicians.