In 1989 to orchestrate a performance of the recording quartet Bass Desires, the
Festival booked separate shows on the same evening for all four members: John Scofield,
Bill Frisell, Peter Erskine and Marc Johnson. The only live performance Bass Desires
ever played was performed at midnight in Montréal. A dream concert for jazz aficionados.
Milton Nascimento, Wayne Shorter, Herbie
Hancock and Pat Metheny
Making musical miracles requires vision, courage and brilliant timing. Milton Nascimento’s
1986 show was programmed on the same evening as performances by Wayne Shorter and
Herbie Hancock, hoping to bring them all together on the same stage with surprise
guest Pat Metheny. An unforgettable reunion.
The Invitation Series was inaugurated for the Festival’s 10th anniversary
to create bold and surprising pairings of musicians. This is a major programming
challenge during the hectic touring season. Versatile bassist Charlie Haden was
given eight evenings to showcase his diverse partnerships in duets and trios plus
a reunion of the Liberation Music Orchestra. / One of Paul Bley’s early groups with
Ornette Coleman included Charlie Haden. When Bley was invited to perform in Haden’s
Invitation Series, his only stipulation was to be paid more than the headliner.
Oregon was a popular group in Montréal in the 1970s. In 1992, band members were
invited to play individual sets with their new projects and special guests on the
same bill, culminating in an Oregon reunion concert. The music flowed from 6 PM
until after midnight.
Frank Morgan, Sir Roland Hanna, Barry Harris
and Kenny Barron
Mythical saxophonist Frank Morgan spent part of his career in jail because of his
addiction. His return to the stage was celebrated with an album featuring his favourite
pianists. In 1992 the Festival booked Sir Roland Hanna, Barry Harris and Kenny Barron
to accompany Morgan separately and collectively. For the special occasion they all
1994 Invitation Series
Ron Carter was a well-known bassist who had played with Miles Davis. For his 1994
Invitation Series he refused to play any music except for his own little-known
compositions, which severely restricted the range of musical possibilities.
1995 Invitation Series
The 1995 Invitation Series was shared by pianist Randy Weston and saxophonist
David Murray. David Murray performed with the World Saxophone Quartet, solo, and
a bass clarinet concert. Randy Weston displayed daring variety with Melba Liston’s
string jazz ensemble, blues with Teddy Edwards, a night with ‘Spirit of Afrika’
and final evening with his all-star septet.
1996 Invitation Series
The 1996 Invitation Series was given to local bassists Alain Caron and
Michel Donato. Alain Caron performed with his local band plus international virtuosos
Frank Gambale and Otmaro Ruiz, Didier Lockwood and Gil Goldstein. Michel Donato
was more cautious, performing with Oliver Jones, singers Karen Young, Michel Rivard
and the unknown future-star Gregory Charles.
1997 Invitation Series
The 1997 Invitation Series was split between Ray Anderson and Bill Frisell.
Ray Anderson performed a trombone summit, a blues evening and a collaboration with
local star, and long-time fan, Bernard Primeau. Magical. Bill Frisell played it
safe by performing solo, in duets with familiar collaborators Lee Konitz on sax
and Jerry Douglas on dobro, plus his own quartet.
In 1998 the Festival used the Invitation Series to introduce European star
accordionist Richard Galliano to North America in five different concerts: a duet
with Michel Portal, a duet with French cellist Jean-Charles Capon, New Your Tango,
and an Italian trio plus a full chamber music concert with I Musici Orchestra. John
Scofield’s half of the Invitation Series showed his boldness and diversity in six
concerts with Jim Hall, Charlie Haden, The Dirty Dozen, Toots Thielemans and Joe
1999 Invitation Series
The 1999 Invitation Series featured Joe Lovano and Oliver Jones’ ‘retirement’ concerts.
Oliver Jones displayed his full musical range from blues with Stephen Barry Band
to Chamber Music with Angèle Dubeau’s La Pietà, and a concert with long-time Oscar
Peterson collaborator Herb Ellis. Joe Lovano played quietly with Bill Frisell, explosively
with John Scofield and dazzlingly in a Tenor Summit that included Michael Brecker.