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MJF 2010: Day 1


Recap of my first day at the Festival: IT WAS SiCK! Last year's start was EPIC with a Stevie Wonder concert followed by a Stefano Bollani and Enrico Rava duet. But this year was ALL [Vijay Iyer] and I LOVED every bit of it.

Started of the day meeting with [Vy]! We headed off to the press room where we got our press passes and a pair of espressos complimentary of the Festival. Next stop: the Festival's Art Gallery where we assisted to the unveiling of a new Miles Davis printing. Of course, veggies, wine, cheese and bread were complimentary once more.

Then rush off to the Planete Jazz lounge to set up for our Vijay Iyer interview. Murphy's law exhibit A: Vijay calls me 15 minutes early. We hide our uneaten lunch and go meet with him at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Seemed only fitting knowing Vijay and his most recent ACT album covers.

Vijay is a CLASS ACT (no pun intended)! He is one of the chillest guys I've ever met and he's really won me over. Vijay. I'm a fan.

So. Professor X played a song on the piano, following our interview. Because he was early not many people witnessed the brilliant artist at work in such an intimate setting (plus VJ had to wrestle the noise of kids on the nearby playground and the sound of a giant Machiavellic children powered piano). But VJ was super chill about it (I actually was worried he would get pissed off. no judging VJ but I know some musicians who are difficult.) Anyways, Vijay left with a smile and we had a few hours on our hands before the first show.

Next stop: A tiny chapel hidden on Sherbrooke street. The setting is immaculate. Old wooden floors. Chandelier hanging above the Fazioli piano. I can't believe I will have the chance to witness the Professor in such an intimate setting.

Vijay is flawless. Arduous at work, he produces notes, patterns, phrases, formulas that reach unexplored areas of my imagination. I think. i ponder. I admire. I reflect. I enjoy. I love. I understand.

Here's my live tweeting from the concert:

6:29 PM: #nowplaying Vijay Iyer solo concert at the #mtljazzfest #jazzlives
6:38 PM: OMG. This @vijayiyer solo concert is SiCK!!!!!!! Amazing way to kick of the jazzfest. First 10 minutes tomorrow on Nextbop.
6:44 PM: @vijayiyer #nowplaying solo rendition of Darn That Dream. Exquisite. #jazzlives
6:50 PM: @vijayiyer #nowplaying Thelonious Monk's Epistrophy. SiCK. #nowplaying
6:55 PM: @vijayiyer closing with two pieces by Ellington. Lets see if I can guess.
6:57 PM: @vijayiyer #nowplaying Duke Ellington's Fleurette Africaine. Sooooo beautiful. #mtljazzfest #jazzlives
7:00 PM: Really hope Fleurette Africaine makes @vijayiyer 's solo album!!! (Later learnt that is is via @fullyaltered)
7:10 PM: @vijayiyer 's encore is Imagine by The Beatles! #nowplaying #mtljazzfest #jazzlives

At this point my iPhone dies and I can't live tweet the second concert.

I was floored. Seeing VJ live was eye opening. He is revolutionary. I don't think his music is for everyone. But he's a genius. And I know I'm definitely gonna make sure I see him play live every chance I get from now on.

Pause. Breather. Head back to HQ for our [Lorraine Desmarais] interview. This was actually a great experience. There were a lot more people on the site at 9PM so Lorraine's playing really drew a crowd! I was so please to see that a brilliant musician such as herself could gather a crowd of ordinary people walking around the Jazzfest.

10:30PM. VJ part 2. Trio. Stephan Crump. Marcus Gilmore. Probably most perfect trio I've seen since Brad. Marcus is a monster. Stephan is a monster. VIJAY IS A MONSTER. All three have very different, even conflicting it would seem, styles yet are perfect for each other. Sort of a opposites attract thing. Anyways, after the solo show it was all preaching to the choir for me. Vijay is the man. I enjoyed every single second of the show, in which he showcased most of his Historicity album. PLus we were treated to THREE ENCORES!!!!. But man. I don't care what anyone says. Historicity was best album of 2009. But live music is soooo much better than CDs!!!!! VJ and the crew absolutely killed it.

Had a chat with Stephan. Copped his new rosetta trio album (which is SiCK and will be added to nextbop after the jazzfest). Then said bye to VJ and left. Perfect start. My comment to Justin: "I wish this was the last day of the festival. It was so perfect. How can we not be disappointed after a day like today?".

Head home. Charge iPhone.

12:47 AM: Just had the best day ever! 2 back to back @VijayIyer concerts. 1 solo and 1 trio. This year's #MTLjazzfest is SiCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fall asleep on the computer while rendering videos.

Come back tomorrow for more of my adventures. Something crazy's bound to happen.
Peace Out.