Burgundy Jazz

Catbird Productions, incCA


Production / Professional


Katarina Soukup, David Eng, Dominic Turmel, Nancy Marrelli, David Drury, Samuel Thulin, François Côté, David Mongeau Petit-pas, Jonathan Grenier, Isabella Salas, Pierre Mathieu Fortin, Faisal Lutchmedial, Paul Litherland, Raymond Desblois


BURGUNDY JAZZ recounts the Montreal black community’s outstanding contribution to jazz music in an exciting, rich, interactive, and cinematic format with stunning art direction. It celebrates Montreal’s roots as one of the world’s most important jazz cities, and a jewel of North American nightlife.  During the Golden Era of Jazz, one neighbhourhood in particular –Little Burgundy– became a hub for nightclubs and speakeasies where local stars Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones, Louis Metcalf and Nelson Symonds jammed with legends such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane. The innovative BURGUNDY JAZZ companion iPhone app features walking tours seeded with rich 3D soundscapes that allow the user to manipulate a soundscape by physically interacting with their phone, and a companion eBook tells the story through an array of rare jazz artifacts.


Our goal was to create an interactive project that appealed to both old and young, jazz experts and jazz neophytes, as well as English and French audiences (and therefore an experience that all Canadians could enjoy). The project is centred on the online component (webdoc), where we offer a rich experience with free music and cultural content about the era. Once in the experience, there are several calls to action throughout the site for people to discover the other facets of the experience, namely its mobile and tablet experiences. The iphone app is distributed for free and allows people to make a real or virtual tour of Little Burgundy to discover its jazz history. In addition to this, users can find additional music via in-app purchases containing the Burgundy Jazz music compilation, and other essential albums, which are available for purchase on iTunes, on a per-song basis. The app targets a younger music-loving market. The site also entices users to purchase the interactive book. Through marketing/audience research, we knew that Baby Boomers, in particular, are both the main jazz afficianado demographic as well as heavy users of tablets. We are also packaging the entire project for the educational market.


BURGUNDY JAZZ reveals a little known story: that of the Montreal Black community’s huge contribution to jazz music history. It also brings appreciation of Montreal as a major international jazz capital and how it came to be *the* center of nightlife in North America because it was the only major city that hadn’t enacted Prohibition. The web doc platform combines cinema and interactive media in a compelling way, and the iPhone app combines audio-based augmented reality & geo-localized content, enhancing users’ experience of both story & place. The project captures the stories of older musicians/community members, which risked being lost forever (giving the project a sense of urgency and rarity). We also maximized the project’s audience through numerous partnerships (eg the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, the world’s biggest jazz festival), social media and online PR (blogs, radios and DJs). Finally, the project involved the local community in a deeply meaningful way: project partners include the Montreal black community, the local city borough, a local cultural centre & a portion of profits will be donated to a local non-profit community group.


The overall look and feel of the BURGUNDY JAZZ webdoc, iPhone, and eBook takes its inspiration from the classic album covers of the Blue Note music label, in addition to classic illustration of the swinging 40s, 50s, and 60s. We wanted the three platforms to feature different content and to have a user experience unique to each one. The webdoc offers a rich *cinematic* experience in 14 web capsules. Users watch continuously or stop to explore the themes of each chapter in more depth via photo galleries, audio extracts, extra video & an interactive timeline. The iPhone app employs *audio* and *geolocated* content: a series of 4 different Walking Tours brings the user on a guided tour of Little Burgundy and its jazz history. Binaural (3-dimensional) and augmented reality soundscapes programmed in Pure Data accompany the user along these routes, creating an immersive sonic world that allow the user’s gestures and interactions with the telephone to change the soundscape. Finally, the Burgundy Jazz eBook (iOS) tells the story through *texture* and an array of rare jazz *artifacts* (swizzle sticks from renowned night clubs, fancy dress of the 1920s, porter uniforms, old LP vinyl records, cocktail shakers, and sheet music).


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