Guitarist John Scofield was a great choice to open the New Orleans portion/final phase of the 2010 Montreal International Jazz Festival. His Piety Street Band released an exceptional funky New Orleans-gospel and blues-based CD under the Piety Street name earlier this year. The band was even better in person last night at the Theatre Maisonneuve. Pianist/B3 player/ vocalist Jon Cleary was a strong foil for Scofield, at one point echoing or extending Scofield's guitar lines on the centerpiece, "Walk With Me." "Glory Land" was a strong shuffle beat romp. The quartet also included bassist George Porter Jr. and drummer Terence Higgins.
Was Keith Jarrett going to play one or more encores after his two-set Montreal perforamce with triomates Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette? We'll never know. The band's performance was beautiful, digging deeply into a wide range of standards that tended to have you / me / romance at their core. (But don't they all really?) "You Go to My Head," "Everything Happens to Me," "Too Young to Go Steady," Autumn Leaves," "All the Things You Are," "My Ship" and "I've Got a Crush on You" were all on the agenda. The players' empathy and synergy is always a joy to witness. DeJohnette's delicate and airy drum solo on "Too Young" was exquisite.
Jarrett's zero tolerance for photography during his concerts is notorious, preferring perhaps that rather than distract the band and surrounding audience members, that attendees savor the moment for what it is. There was a firm "no photography" request before the show, and again right after intermission - for both the performance and the bows that followed. In this world of people wanting to do their own thing in their own moment, some believe they are exempt from rules set for others. During the third bow, possibly before the band was ready to do another tune or so, the aforementioned IDIOT fired off a flash with his/her point-and-shoot. Too bad the neighboring ticketbuyers didn't gently push his/her arm down so there would be no mood interruption. Jarrett suggested that the neighbors take his/her camera away - and walked off stage to end the night.
At the dark and intimate Salle Gesu space an hour later, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's quintet explored a half-dozen originals that blended rhythms rooted in swing and an ethereal tone that bordered on the exotic. The packed house loved it. Stanko's young bandmates supported his music wonderfully, with very strong piano, electric bass and guitar solos throughout.