The Montreal International Jazz Festival, recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s biggest jazz festival, kicks off June 28th right here in Montreal

Over the years, the Montreal International Jazz Festival has expanded its scope to include many forms of popular music, most notably blues and rhythm & blues; close relatives to jazz music. For aficionados (dare I say ‘purists?), jazz remains as the musical core of the 10 day festival that includes 150 indoor concerts and more than double that number for the free outdoor shows.

Due in large part to the performance opportunities afforded local musicians; the Jazz Fest includes a series of concerts sponsored by TD at the festival’s own intimate club L’Astral. The classically trained Daniel Clarke Bouchard will open the TD Jazz D’Ici series on June 29th. All the Jazz D’Ici concerts begin at 6pm, enabling you to comfortably take them in before attending an 8pm indoor concert or attending one of the outdoor shows.

We’ve highlighted a cross section of the interior shows, but I’d also like to mention some unique shows. The Academy Award winning La La Land movie will be shown at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier on July 2 –with a live orchestra performing the sound track. King Crimson, active since 1969, is an eight member progressive rock band that will be on stage with four drummers.

Ron Sexsmith is a singer songwriter who has penned hit songs for Rod Stewart and Diana Krall. He’s also greatly admired by Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Feist; and he’ll be performing a 6pm show at the funky Club Soda on July 2.

The intimate Gésu Theatre is home to the TD Invitation series. I’ve seen some wonderful concerts in this cozy and comfortable venue, including the late Alain Toussaint. The concept is that a group or artist performs for three consecutive evenings, with a different guest performer each night. The concerts begin at 6pm, leaving plenty of time to take in another indoor or outdoor show. I’m interested to see John Pizzarelli on July 4 with singer Catherine Russell performing selections from Frank Sinatra and the American Songbook; July 5 with his wife Jessica Molaskey singing songs by Joni Mitchell and Paul McCartney; and back into the Sinatra song book with bossa nova guitarist Daniel Jobim on July 6.

For tickets and the full schedule of events visit: www.montrealjazzfest.com

Christine Jensen & Ingrid Jensen – June 30th

Buddy Guy – June 30th

Gipsy Kings – July 1st