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Dispatches from Montreal (3): ONJM with Miranda Joan at FIJM 2023

Orchestre National de Jazz de Montreal with Miranda Joan

(Scène Rogers, Parterre Quartier des Spectacles. 30 June 2023. Mini-review by Sebastian Scotney)

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ONJ directed by Jean-Nicolas Trottier. Phone snap.

The jazz orchestra ONJM (Orchestre National de Jazz de Montreal) is a regular at FIJM and this concert marked a decade of appearances. From past festivals, the concert I have remembered most vividly was the 2018 celebration of the music of Carla Bley. The orchestra has also commissioned composers like Christine Jensen and Marianne Trudel to write new and original work.

Forget all that: just as the German public radio bands do concerts which are more ‘popular’, so it is with ONJ. The side of their work on display from an open-air freestage last night was designed to appeal to the thousands who came along to hear them in a small park on the festival site. Montreal-born singer Miranda Joan fronted the band on in a programme billed as a Tower of Power tribute.

Miranda Joan. Phone snap.

Her mode of operating last night was in a style of performance for which the closest equivalent I can locate would be Joss Stone in her noughties full-on soul mode. The one-hour programme, billed as a Tower of Power tribute, was designed to gradually get the crowd into dancing mode. And it worked well. So from a peaceful “Ma Cherie amour” with flutes and clarinets, the mood shifted dramatically with Chaka Khan’s “Tell me something good” and never turned back. A special word for the highly adaptable guitar of Steve Raegele .

LINK: Programme details from ONJM website

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