A Night in Montreal
Montreal is a fantastic city in the summer; it has four universities downtown, a great selection of bars, clubs and venues, and a fairly unique mix of English, French, and a thousand other languages. With the F1, Just For Laughs, Francofolies and (most importantly) The Montreal Jazz Festival in town, there is no shortage of fun things to do.I got to sample three of my personal favorites iconic Montreal institutions yesterday, so I figured I'd write about them:
- Jodi Proznick Quartet: I'm not a huge jazz fan, but these guys played the kind of jumpy jazz that's really fun to listen to. The bass player, Jodi Proznick, was fantastic.
- Ragleela: "Indian ragas" music, apparently. Wasn't really my kind of thing, but it was interesting to listen to, with the sitar and tabla.
- Shakura S'Aida: This band was really fantastic. The singer had a terrific set of pipes, and the perfect voice for the kind of blues and soul they were playing. They had a great organ/piano man who did some really fun improvisation, and they mixed in some really great guitar solos. I'll definitely look for them again next year.
- Jah Cutta & Determination: I only had a chance to watch these guys for a little while. They were playing on the "tropical" stage, so it was highly Caribbean influenced music. While I can't say I'm a big fan of the genre, the audience was really responding to them.
That night I tried two fantastic beers. The first was a Scotch ale, which was a dark red beer. I lack adequate vocabulary to properly describe a beer, but it combined everything I love about a red with the qualities of a darker beer. The second, which they called Great Plains, was an unfiltered wheat beer. I had never tried a wheat beer before, but I really enjoyed the distinctive taste.
Not only was the beer fantastic, but they had a great live blues quartet playing. They were called the Stephen Barry Band, and they all looked old enough to be grandparents. Apparently that night was their 32nd(!) anniversary playing together. They played a terrific set, lots of classic covers, and with four instruments (guitar / bass / drums / sax) they made a great simple-yet-full sound. I thought so much of them I went to see them during a break and bought their latest album off them, Bluesville.
There you have it, one fun night in Montreal. Happy Canada day!