Anyone who's ever been to the Montreal International Jazz Festival knows there's nothing else quite like it in North America. Every year for a week and a half, the festival takes over a massive plaza, several adjacent city blocks and everything that can be called a concert venue in the area. There's live music all day and deep into the night, and at the heart of the matter is plenty of exceptional, well-programmed jazz.
Our partners at WBGO have recording at the festival since the 1990s, and they've been live broadcasting from Montreal since 2004. This year, they go live July 1-4, and they'll be posting updates at the WBGO Blog too. As they prepare for the festival's kickoff this weekend, they've prepared us a little mix of artists they're looking forward to seeing at the event. By "little," we mean over 100 selections from some of the biggest names in the business. We recommend you hit play at any time, and just let it fly. [NPR Music:The Mix: Jazz In The Present Tense]