Having recently had the good fortune of spending twelve full days in Montreal attending the Suoni per il popolo festival, it seems only fitting to direct a little light on some of the music produced in the Montreal scene that's coming to this year's festival.
First up is Thus Owls. The quartet is playing a midnight set on the first Saturday night (June 24) at Ironworks. This is one of the shows I’m most excited about.
Erika and Simon Angell came out to Vancouver last January to do some writing on the West Coast, and were able to set up an improv show with the local Vancouver scene as well as a performance of their own music. Simon is the guitarist who played with singer songwriter, Patrick Watson, for 15 years, and contributed in a tremendous way to shaping the music on those first three albums. Erika is a singer from Sweden who has recorded for ECM with Frederik Ljungkvist (Atomic) and Mariam Wallentin (Wildbirds and Peacedrums). Together they have come together to create this experimental indie groove music for Thus Owls that still draws on the instantaneous aspects of free form music. Erika is also performing in a collaborative set on Thursday, June 29 at Ironworks with dear friend and Swedish bassist/bandmate, Josef Kallerdahl, along with Ben Brown (Vancouver), and Marialuisa Capurso (Italy).
Next up is Land of Talk, playing at the Imperial on Main Street on June 26. If you don’t know the story yet, let’s help you get on board. After releasing two killer albums on Saddle Creek records in 2008 and 2010, the band hit the inevitable industry wall, packed up its gear, and left fans wondering where they had disappeared. Earlier last year it was revealed that they we’re back in the studio working on some new music and ready to tour. If you are seeking out a band with cool tunes, bad-ass original guitar, mixed with some beautiful and uplifting vocals, come to this show.
The Simon Millerd Quintet is playing at Performance Works on Canada Day. I first heard Simon when he was still in high school and coming out from White Rock to sit in with the October Trio, at Rime on Commercial Drive. He moved to Montreal years ago, and plays an active role as composer, keyboardist, and trumpet man in the ensemble, Nomad. This performance is in celebration of his new release on the Songlines label with pianist from Europe, Pablo Held. Although Simon’s name is in the title for this event, this is in fact the full Nomad outfit from Montreal. A group of individuals that I consider to be a crucial part of the “church” of Chris McCann’s school of music, and creative jazz scene in that city.
More about Simon Millerd's Lessons and Fairytales
And lastly, we have the music of Josh Zubot. During my stay in Montreal, I met a lot of musicians who all made one thing very clear to me. They miss Josh and his music immensely. Josh and some of his tightest cohorts from Montreal are reuniting to perform at the Roundhouse with his band, MENDHAM.
Josh is performing with a few other ensembles and collaborations at our festival this year. Let’s let it be known that we’re not taking him for granted.