Live reviews

Reviews and dispatches from Montreal #FIJM 2022 (13): Michel Donato and guests

Michel Donato et invités – Les 80 ans de Michel Donato

(Gesù. 9 July 2022. Report by Sebastian Scotney)

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Michel Donato. Photo Benoit Rousseau/ FIJM

Maybe Benoit Rousseau’s picture from last night here captures the essence, the good humour of a universally popular figure in jazz in Canada.

The blurb for this concert, on the last night of the Festival, explains the background: “Michel Donato is one of the most popular double bassists in Canada, racking up collaborations with such luminaries as Bill Evans, Charlie Haden, and Oscar Peterson. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is excited to be bringing him back yet again this year, for the 33rd time!” (Preview by La Presse of this concert HERE)

Donato will be 80 in August 2022, he has basically been playing professionally since the age of fifteen . And there is more to come to mark his big birthday:

  • Alain Bédard‘s Effendi label will be releasing a album “Michel Donato et ses Amis Québécois” with François Bourassa, Frank Lozano, Pierre Tanguay and the bassist himself.
  • The autumn will also see the publication of a biography by one of Canada’s top broadcasters and writers Stanley Péan, the result of several years of work, and (by the sound of it) a lot of lunches and good humour.

One of those tall jazz stories was told, which has the feel of “pull-the-other-one”, a joke rather than any form of reliability, namely that on a gig the drummer Joe Morello called the tune “Take Five”, which Michel Donato interpreted as an instruction to take a five-minute break… and did so. It certainly speaks to the irrepressible humour of jazz folk in general, and of Donato in particular.

The first person to appear on stage was the co-founder of the Montreal Jazz Festival André Ménard (phone snap left). He is an astonishing fount of stories. Perhaps it is to be hoped that his biography or memoirs will also be published at some point…

Categories: Live reviews

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