Rock and jazz keyboard star Herbie Hancock will kick off the 14th edition of the Montreal Intl. Jazz Festival July 1, with organizers planning more than 300 concerts over 11 days.Fest topper Alain Simard confirmed the fest has inked a three-year, $ C3.15 million deal whereby Montreal-based cigarette company Du Maurier Ltd. replace Alcan as main sponsor. This year’s fest is budgeted at $ C7 million, with about 40% coming from corporate sponsors and 40% from ticket and merchandising revenue. Hancock’s show will feature his new acoustic trio. Other concerts announced this week include performances by vocalist Bobby McFerrin, pianist Ellis Marsalis and British blues rocker John Mayall with ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor. Shows will take place at the Place des Arts complex, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Spectrum and the newly reopened Salle du Gesu. Last year’s festival drew a record 1.3 million concertgoers.
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