And so it begins...

Et il commence... we are getting our vacation groove on:  sleeping LATE, wandering Montreal, resting, chatting up new friends and enjoying our wonderful kids.  Our flat is in Little Italy - just a block from Marché Jean-Talon - a totally wonderful vegetable, meat, flower and everything in-between market that takes up a full city block. (Check it out @ http://www. marches publics-mtl.com/English/Jean-Talon/)  It is a great place to eat crepes, practice your French and watch people of all sizes, shapes and ages come and go.
Then it was off to Les Place des Arts - the arts center of Montreal - to both check out the scene and spend a rainy afternoon in le musee d'art contemporain (http://www.macm.org/en/) that was showing a retrospective of abstract Canadian artists as well as two major exhibits by Michel de Broin (a creative soul with a wicked sense of humor and juxtaposition) and Eve Sussman's look at the collapse of the imagination in late Soviet communist culture.

After late afternoon naps - and a splendid dinner at the not-for-profit club affiliated with the Jazz Festival - we spent two hours with Ravi Coltrane and crew.  Two things struck me about his performance of wildly improvisational jazz.  First, it is simultaneously an emotional and intellectual encounter with sound, meter, tone and creativity.  This quarter was frenetic - giving each soloist tons of room to explore during their solos - but also playing hard and bold against each other, too.  And second, while some people don't enjoy the extended solo thing that is demanded from this type of jazz, it can be meditative if you let yourself get lost in the sound and the freedom.

We wrapped up the night by walking through the crowd of thousands at midnight - taking in the stunning light work cast upon massive buildings throughout the center of town - before turning in.  Today the rain has stopped and I suspect we'll start the day as tourists in the Old City before heading back to jazz land tonight for a romantic show with Joshua Redman and a string orchestra. 

Yesterday we put in six miles of walking - and today will be much the same. It is Dianne's birthday, too so who knows what might happen? Bénédictions à vous tous.

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