The internationally renowned musician Oliver Jones will soon receive the title of “honorary citizen” from the City of Montreal.
Mayor Denis Coderre will officially make the announcement on May 20.
"I'm still in shock. To be honoured by the city of Montreal, it's something special. Thank you, thank you very much,” said Jones.
The 79-year-old pianist grew up in Montreal’s Little Burgundy, where he became an icon in the city’s jazz scene.
"I feel good everywhere I go in Montreal. It's just not the same in the rest of Canada,” said Jones.
A child prodigy, Oliver Jones gave his first concert at the age of five.
Today, he has become a source of inspiration for another young Montreal musician, Daniel Clarke Bouchard.
"It was really exceptional for him to give me the chance to play on stage and become better," said the 14-year-old pianist.
In 1986, Jones won a Juno Award for his album Lights of Burgundy and in 1989 he won the Félix Award for his Just Friends album.
His tour of Nigeria was also the subject of a 1990 National Film Board of Canada documentary, Oliver Jones in Africa.
For some jazz lovers, this tribute to Jones from the City of Montreal was a long time coming.
"The first question I ask is: why did it take so long? says Radio-Canada music journalist Stanley Péan.
“He has been a part of our cultural landscape and a pride of Montreal for a very long time.”
Only ten other people have received the title of “citizen of honour” by the City of Montreal: singer Charles Aznavour, the head of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano, and writer Dany Laferrière.
The Oliver Jones 80th Birthday Celebration concert will be held on July 5, as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.