Montreal jazz fest announces free outdoor shows: Here are the highlights

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The Montreal International Jazz Festival has announced its free outdoor show lineup, and fittingly for the fest’s 40th edition, hometown acts are leading the charge.

Montreal artists Charlotte Cardin and Matt Holubowski headline the opening and closing free outdoor blowouts, respectively, while Australian singer Nick Murphy (formerly known by the stage name Chet Faker) holds down the mid-fest slot.

Cardin has been on the verge of stardom since appearing on hit Quebec show La Voix in 2013. Sporting a powerful voice that recalls Amy Winehouse, the former model’s sassy, trip-hop-inspired EPs Big Boy and Mean Girl led to a deal with Atlantic Records in the U.S. in July 2017. Fans will get a taste of her forthcoming full-length debut album when she performs Thursday, June 27.

Another La Voix finalist, indie-folk singer-songwriter Holubowski performs July 6; while Murphy brings his moody anthems to the stage on July 2. All three shows are at 9:30 p.m. at Place des Festivals.

Other performers on the fest’s main TD stage include: French trumpeter and fest regular Erik Truffaz, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of his classic Blue Note album Bending New Corners, June 28; Michigan gospel-country duo the War and Treaty, June 29; Chicago’s Lowdown Brass Band, June 30; Puerto Rico’s Plena Libre, July 3; Canadian jazz singer Molly Johnson, July 4; and Montreal’s Jordan Officer, July 5.

Montreal’s Charlotte Cardin, who sports a powerful voice that recalls Amy Winehouse, will highlight the free outdoor opening blowout at this year’s jazz festival. John Londono / jpg

Among the acts on the Rio Tinto stage (corner de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Jeanne Mance St.) are: Manitoba’s Alexa Dirks, better known as Begonia, June 27; Brazil’s Luedji Luna, June 28; New Orleans jazz singer Quiana Lynell, June 29; Harlem’s Michael Mwenso and the Shakes, June 30; Montreal’s South African sensation Lorraine Klaasen, July 1; American R&B singer Victory, July 3; Montreal rock-reggae revolutionary Paul Cargnello and guests, July 4; and French swing DJ act the Scratchophone Orchestra, July 5.

World music converges on the Scène Casino de Montréal (Clark St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd.), with early evening performances including a “fête haitienne” with Montreal’s Vox Sambou and guests, June 27; the electro-house of DJ Afrikana Soul Sister and guests, July 1; and a Brazilian party with Bïa, Paulo Ramos and others, July 6.

The Grooves Casino series takes over nightly at 10 p.m., with names including: Montreal Latin-rap-soul duo Agua Negra, June 27; silky-voiced chanteuse Munya, July 1; and soul-jazz-rap sextet Schemes, July 3.

The party is always on at the Hyundai Stage (corner Clark St .and De Montigny St.), featuring an array of blues acts at 7 and 10 p.m. Highlights include: Cameroonian-Montrealer Cécile Doo-Kingué, June 27; Brooklyn trio Daddy Long Legs, infusing the genre with cajun, gospel and country, June 30; traditional bluesmen Mississippi Heat, June 28; Victor Wainwright and the Train, June 29; the Dawn Tyler Watson Band, June 30 at 9 p.m., followed by her group the Ben Racine Band at 11; Germany’s Wellbad, July 1; Montreal veterans the Stephen Barry Band, July 4; New York’s Popa Chubby, also July 4; and Vancouver’s Sue Foley aka the Ice Queen, July 6.

Dixieland rules at Place Heineken (corner Jeanne-Mance St. and René-Lévesque Blvd.) with daily shows at 4 p.m. Jazz takes over at 5 and 7 p.m., with acts including: Montreal’s Rémi Bolduc Quartet, June 28; Dutch saxophonist Yuri Honing and his quartet, June 29; U.K. sax-man Nubya Garcia, who fuses Afro-groove and hip-hop into the mix, June 30; and California pianist Connie Han and her trio, July 6.

Late-night revellers can head to the Heineken sessions at 11 p.m. at Place Heineken, with Montreal swingers Les Royal Pickles, June 27 to 29; France’s Sax Machine, mixing hard bop, afrobeat, funk and hip-hop, June 30 and July 1; future soul act the Liquor Store, July 2 and 3; and Toronto Latin jazz ensemble Manteca, July 4 to 6.

Nightcap à Minuit, in MTelus’s M2 lounge, rounds up jazz-soul-R&B group the Shed, featuring Melanie Charles, June 27 and 28; funkateers Fredy V and the Foundation, June 29 to July 1; Latin groove crew Sonido Pesao, July 2 and 3; and hip-hop jam sessions hosted by brass band Urban Science, July 4 to 6.

As previously announced, this year the jazz fest will have an outpost on Wellington St. in Verdun, dubbed the Verdun International Jazz Festival. Performers include North Carolina funk-soul singer Boulevards; Chile’s Newen Afrobeat; Grammy-nominated New Orleans Indian funk band Cha Wa; Cameroon’s Blick Bassy; the inimitable Susie Arioli; Montreal indie-rockers Suuns; funk phenom the Brooks; Quebec City rapper Webster and his jazz band 5 For Trio; and indie artist U.S. Girls.