Excited music lovers, exhausted organizers and bleary-eyed writers were all over the map this weekend as they tried to single out his or her favourite moments of the 24th annual Montreal International Jazz Festival, which ended yesterday. The festival, which seems to get more eclectic and broader-reaching by the year, had them all scrambling for superlatives as they tried to make some sense of the marathon that began 11 days and a musical lifetime ago with a dixieland celebration and was set to end only hours ago with guitarist Jimmy Johnson's blues riffs.
There were celebrity sightings — Leonardo DiCaprio hiding under a cap in a loge seat at Biréli Lagrène's tribute to Django Reinhardt and showing up at the Wilco show with Ethan Hawke. Ray Liotta also turned up backstage at the Elvis Costello show, with Jack Kerouac's niece Christine looking on. Costello, in turn, was ushered into sax legend Lee Konitz's dressing room by Montreal's walking jazz encyclopedia, Len Dobbin, who announced the British singer's arrival with a casual "Hey, Lee — Elvis is here." Costello's upcoming album, North, features Konitz.