The 27th Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, will be lending its support to Louisiana, and more directly the people of New Orleans, by showcasing the sounds and sentiments of the birthplace of Jazz, The Big Easy. President and co-founder of the Festival, Alain Simard:
It's good to see that Louisiana has responded so courageously to the disaster. Much has been done since the tragedy struck and the city is now ready to welcome tourists. Their return is essential for the overall re-birth of the region that’s been so gravely affected. Our Festival has always enjoyed a direct link to Louisiana. We’ve always closely watched the New Orleans Jazz Festival for up-and-coming musicians for our Montreal stages. So now it's our turn to help.
Laurent Saulnier, vice-president of programming for the Festival, added,
It goes without saying that we'll be doing what we can to help the warm, accommodating citizens of the state. Offering a free outdoor special event in honor of New Orleans to open this year's Festival is the least we can do.
In collaboration with the State of Louisiana, the festival, which runs from June 28 to July 6, will be kicking off its festivities with a free, outdoor mega-show starring The Neville Brothers. Their hope is to sensitize the general public to the importance of re-embracing the southern states and supporting those still trying to rebuild their lives there.
The Neville Brothers, synonymous with New Orleans, packed the Metropolis last year with their first show in 12 years. Aaron, Art, Cyril, and Charles will be serving up a jambalaya of tracks off their most recent CD Walkin' In The Shadow Of Life, seasoned with their greatest hits.
Other Louisiana luminaries performing during the week will include Tony Bennett, Etta James, John Pizzarelli, Bonnie Raitt, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. New Orleans mainstay Allen Toussaint will be performing with Elvis Costello and his band on July 3.