More magic lights UP Festival International de Jazz de Montréal: James Taylor, Katie Melua, Dee Dee Bridgewater

– Reunion of Return to Forever with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola and Lenny White –

If the first concert announcements promised a vintage 29th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, get ready for the next legendary artists on the 2008 roster! It is the Festival's great pleasure to welcome the immortal James Taylor, new darling Katie Melua in a grand opening concert, the luminous Dee Dee Bridgewater, and a stunning reunion of the legendary Return to Forever featuring Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola and Lenny White. This musical event is presented by General Motors in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, from June 26 to July 6, 2008, Montreal is the centre of the jazz universe! Tickets for these concerts go on sale this Monday, March 17 at 10 a.m.

New stars added…

Return to Forever with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola and Lenny White

Friday, June 27, 7 p.m. Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA. Pleins feux General Motors series.

* It's a reunion that already qualifies as the jazz event of the year, when Chick Corea on piano, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar and Lenny White on drums reform the group that blazed through '70s jazz-rock and announce their intention to tour, the jazz world returns the salute. According to founder Chick Corea, the quartet has one goal: take songs from four classic albums that altered the musical landscape, and play them until that landscape shakes.

James Taylor and his Band of Legends

Sunday, July 6, 7:30 p.m., Bell Centre

* James Taylor, fresh from celebrating his 60th birthday, assembles a “big band” of musicians who have marked his career and embarks on a North American tour that brings him to the Festival. For those who missed the last 40 years of pop music, it's an opportunity to discover the masterpieces that put James Taylor in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fans will swoon anew to the unmistakable voice behind How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You), Carolina On My Mind, Fire and Rain and, of course, You’ve Got A Friend, and discover what a singer of this magnitude can do with classics from the eternal songbooks of Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton and Junior Walker.

Katie Melua Opening Concert

Thursday, June 26, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA .Pleins feux General Motors series.

* 1984: Katie Melua is born in Georgia, SSR. 2003: the world bends an ear to her first single, The Closest Thing To Crazy. 2005: now a British citizen, she is the top-selling female artist in the UK for a second consecutive year. 2006: she is the top-selling European female artist in the world! 2007: her 3rd album, Pictures, confirms her global star status, bewitching millions of fans with her remarkably warm voice. 2008: the Festival welcomes Katie Melua and her new songs with a special opening concert"”her first major North American performance! An irresistible concert event.

2008 Festival International de Jazz de Montr̩al Р2

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Red Earth: A Malian Journey

Thursday, June 26, 6 p.m. Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA .Voix du monde series.

* The Festival darling explores new horizons, traveling the red earth between her native Memphis and Bamako, the capital of Mali. A quest for identity and a return to roots make for perhaps her most luminous album, and one that floored the critics. It's a full-colour show fusing jazz and traditional Malian music, with 10 musicians onstage. Those lucky few who've caught her onstage speak of a kind of magic… and a transcendent groove!

…to a shining jazz galaxy

Add the above concerts to those already announced as part of the 29th program of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, tickets already on sale: Aretha Franklin / Steely Dan / Leonard Cohen / Saxophone Summit with Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Ravi Coltrane / Coral Egan / Omara Portuondo /Charlie Haden Quartet West / Ladytron, as well as the Battle of the Bands featuring the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. And don't forget the all-new Guitarmania concert series, part of the Montreal Guitar Show from June 26 to 29 (visit montrealguitarshow.com for info): Erik Mongrain / Michel Haumont and Jean-Félix Lalanne / Jordan Officer / Antoine Dufour / John Jorgenson / Jake Shimabukuro / Andy McKee / Don Ross / Martin Taylor / Gareth Pearson / Jim Hall and Pierre Bensusan.

Tickets for these new shows will be available at the main box office at Métropolis (59 Ste. Catherine St. E.). Tickets for concerts presented at Place des Arts will be available at Métropolis as well as Place des Arts (175 Ste. Catherine St. W.).

The complete indoor concert program for the 29th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal will be announced on May 6, while the program for the free, outdoor concerts will be made public on June 3. To get the jump on the crowd, sign up for the Spectra Newsletter and have the scoop on the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the SIMM and the Montreal Guitar Show emailed to your inbox.

Written by the Montreal Jazz Fest