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On the jazz and improvised music scene in Ottawa-Gatineau today:
- 6 p.m.: Yves Laroche
- 9 p.m.: Rolf Klausener
- 10 p.m.: Jazz Monday at Le Petit Chicago: The Chocolate Hot Pockets
Subscribe to our weekly jazz news and events newsletter to get the full details about these and other upcoming jazz events!
This week, Ottawa saxophonist Doug Martin is having an adventure at the Havana Jazz Festival – one that may provide inspiration for a new album.
He has been invited to perform three shows in theatres in the Cuban capital, as part of the festival. But he'll be playing with musicians he's never even met before.
“The only one whose name I know is Miguel de Armas, jr ,” Martin told OttawaJazzScene.ca shortly before he departed for Havana last week.
Yes, the son of Ottawa-based Cuban pianist Miguel de Armas, who began playing here in the spring of 2012, and has quickly made a splash in the Ottawa and Montreal jazz scenes.
“When I finally realized I wasn't going to be taking any musicians from here, and that I wanted to use Cuban musicians, I approached Miguel and asked if his son would be willing to play for me. And so the son, Miguel junior, is picking the other two musicians and I'm not sure who they are.”
The band will be de Armas jr. on piano, plus bass and drums, and possibly one or more conga players. They'll be playing primarily Martin's compositions, plus a few standards. He's looking forward to hearing an Afro-Cuban take on his music, which is mainstream modern jazz.
“I'm sure they'll have their own ideas, their own style, their own way of doing things. A lot of my tunes have never had a conga player in them, so it will be interesting to hear what that turns out to be.”
He's already sent his charts to Cuba and was hoping to rehearse for a few days before the group's first show at on Wednesday, December 17, at the Jardines del Teatro Mella theatre. They will also perform on Friday at Café Miramar, and on Saturday at Pabellón Cuba.
But he expected a fair amount of improvisation – not only in the music, but also in the arrangements. “Definitely it's going to be one minute to the next. I don't know what's going to happen. It will be an adventure for sure.”
The adventure first started in October, 2012, when Martin visited Cuba, and brought a few copies of his most recent CD, Odyssey, with him. “I never thought anything would happen, but just by chance I happened to meet a guy who had a jazz show on Radio Taino in Havana. And I gave him a couple CDs and he checked them out and he really liked them, so they started playing them on the radio down there.”
Update December 19: The Ottawa Jazz Festival finally confirmed part of its Winter Jazz Festival lineup, just a few hours before its office closed for the Christmas holidays. See the updated listing here.
In the program for Requiem for Fourteen Roses was an advertisement for the 2015 Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival, which provides a not-completely-confirmed peek at the Winter Jazz Festival's line-up. This information has not been yet published on the Ottawa Jazz Festival's website or Twitter feed or Facebook page.
Here's your first notice:
- Oliver Mtukudzi & the Black Spirits
- Megan Jerome, Fred Guignon, and Mike Essoudry
- The Matt Wilson Quartet
- The Nancy Walker Quintet
- The Roddy Ellias Septet plays the Music of Kenny Wheeler
- The Tigran Trio
The National Arts Centre (NAC) announced an extensive renovation today – one that may disrupt jazz shows and the jazz festival in Ottawa in 2016.
The renovation will surround the current building with new glass wings on three sides, move the centre's primary entrance to Elgin Street, and upgrade the performance spaces, washrooms, and lobbies. It is scheduled to be ready in 2017, in time for Canada's 150th birthday.
But its construction will require the closure of the Fourth Stage (which fronts on Elgin Street) for an indeterminate period in 2016. The NAC's Director of Communications, Rosemary Thompson, said “we don't actually know exactly how long it will take to reconstruct that portion of the building. The entire construction phase is 12 to 18 months. But that face of the building I don't exactly know yet.”
In the OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll this spring, the Fourth Stage was voted as local jazz fans' Favourite Jazz Concert Venue. The stage is heavily used by the NAC Presents series and by local musicians to present jazz and other shows.
The Ottawa Jazz Festival, which runs in late June, has regularly held its Improv Invitational series in the Fourth Stage, with two or three shows every night. The jazz festival is already facing the loss of its main outdoor venue in 2016, with Confederation Park undergoing major renovations, and has not yet found a substitute outdoor space.
Thompson said NAC Presents programming would not be affected for 2015, and she expected the Fourth Stage will continue to be open for the next 12 months. “It's 2016 that's the issue, and we'll have more clarity in the next weeks and months to come.”
Requiem for 14 Roses
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa
It began with 14 ringing notes on a gong, the sound of each note rising and falling throughout Knox Presbyterian Church.
Then long lines of flickering candlelights slowly moved down the church's nave. They were held by 40 female and male choristers, there to sing the premiere of Elise Letourneau's Requiem for 14 Roses, and to remember the women killed in the École Polytechnique Massacre, exactly 25 years before.
As the music continued, first the men and then the women singers moved to the front of the church, singing the emotion-filled and deeply solemn music.
Letourneau combined choral passages, eloquent soloists (including jazz vocalist Sienna Dahlen and local cantor Jeremy Burko), and instrumental sections in her requiem. While remaining within the standard requiem form, she interposed 14 short instrumental passages throughout, featuring two trombones and two flugelhorns, to commemorate each of the women murdered, the melodies emphasizing the promise and loss of lives cut short.
Concert #111: Phil Minton
Improvising Musicians of Ottawa-Outaouais (IMOO)
Raw Sugar Café
Sunday, December 7, 2014
British vocalist Phil Minton has taken the human voice to completely unexpected places and possibilities in the last 40-odd years. His improvisations don't use words – nor even word-like sounds. Instead, through extended vocal techniques, Minton creates a huge variety of sounds with different textures and timbres and rhythms.
His voice produces snake-like hisses, bird whistles, and guttural lion growls, and he fits them together into coherent sonic landscapes that range from barely audible whispering to crack-the-whip shrieks to what sounds remarkably like static. He turns the voice into a percussive instrument, but also a sibilant and even a tuneful one, and adds considerable emotional depth as well. To listen to Minton is to be constantly – and happily – surprised.
Ottawa's A B Series, which presents musical and literary events, brought Minton back to Ottawa for a long weekend starting last Friday. Over the weekend, he taught Ottawa volunteers how to sing in his Feral Choir, teaching them that anyone who can breathe can create beautiful or interesting sounds – outside of standard cultural references.
Tonight (Monday, December 8), he will conduct the Feral Choir in a free concert at St John's Anglican Church at Somerset and Elgin downtown at 7:30 p.m., and then perform solo there in a ticketed concert at 9 p.m.
Minton also collaborated with a wide collection of Ottawa's most dedicated improvisers at an IMOO concert Sunday evening – a concert which broke down the barriers between vocal and instrumental music.
In the midst of a nation-wide discussion about violence against women, an Ottawa jazz vocalist and choral composer is presenting a musical memorial to the 14 women murdered in the Montreal Massacre.
This Saturday – 25 years to the day after that tragedy – Elise Letourneau will unveil her Requiem for Fourteen Roses at Knox Presbyterian Church. It's a major, concert-length production involving 40 choristers, five soloists, and an eight-piece instrumental ensemble.
Its message is hope and remembrance.
“It's about making sure that we stay open to talking to each other about it. Because it's been 25 years and so many of the same things are still happening. And we can't forget. We have to keep talking about it,” Letourneau said.
But both the music and poetry included in the concert look beyond anger to finding solutions, she said. “I don't want to leave people with a sense of hopelessness. It's not about going to hell in a handbasket or anything. Personally I would rather hope that one way or another it can be figured out – and I hope I live to see it.”
"Somebody's got to write a requiem"
It's a project that's consumed most of a year (in fact, she's still making minor changes to the music) – and almost got derailed by a life-threatening medical emergency along the way.
A new band, a new location, new organizers – everything came together for a new jazz jam in Ottawa last month.
And it's returning for its second set this Friday.
On November 7, OttawaJazzScene.ca arrived at Christopher's, a cozy Greek restaurant near Mooney's Bay. It was shortly before the jam was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. – and the front parking lot was already completely full.
Inside were many people eating heaping platters of Greek food, and chatting animatedly in two different sections of the dining room. Lots of guitar and horn cases were piled near tables and sitting in corners. The sign-up sheet for the jam was being passed from table to table, and getting carefully filled in.
The host band, MMAD-Men, was also new. This was the group's first public appearance, but the group (Michael Lechasseur on bass, Marc Salsbury on guitar, Andre Ferraton on drums, and Dmitry Egunov on alto sax) opened the jam smoothly and competently. Beginning with the Miles Davis classic, “All Blues”, they played a set of classic jazz instrumentals featuring strong bass lines and an overall swinging feel.
It was easy to hear the band (aside from an annoying and frequent door chime), and there was a happy, generally listening vibe in the audience.
Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra
Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University
Sunday, November 30, 2014 – 7 p.m.
Halfway through Sunday's show by the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra, director Nick Dyson told the audience “you've just heard 75 to 80 years of big band music”.
This was the first concert of the season for CYJO, now in its sixth year. Dyson deliberately programmed a wide range of big band styles for the band – and avoided the standard chestnuts. The upbeat “Jumpin' Punkins”, from Duke Ellington's Orchestra, was followed by the Coltrane-esque “Yes or No” by Wayne Shorter, and then by the funky “Get in Line” from Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.
A highlight was “Blue” by trumpeter Bobby Shew, a moody piece whose lead solo was played evocatively by Eric Littlewood on flugelhorn.
The concert opened and closed with numbers from Canadians, which Dyson always enthusiastically features in his concerts. The first number, “Just Friends”, was arranged by Toronto Boss Brass leader Rob McConnell; Dyson said they wanted to get the hardest tune of the night out of the way first. The final piece, “Cruisin' For A Bluesin'” was by Canadian-raised trumpeter and bandleader Maynard Ferguson, and featured an energetic and multifaceted drum solo by Andrew Ferderber.
Super Awesome Club / Carleton University Jazz Fusion Ensembles
Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University
Thursday, November 27, 2014 – 7 p.m.
In the late 60s, jazz musicians started picking up electric instruments and incorporating musical ideas from rock, funk, and R&B – and jazz fusion was born. And it's stayed vibrant ever since, as a concert last Thursday at Carleton University showed.
Headlining was a long-time Ottawa groove/jazz band, the Super Awesome Club – torn out of its usual haunt of Irene's Pub in the Glebe. They were preceded by three student ensembles, directed by Carleton jazz instructor – and Super Awesome Club member – Wayne Eagles.
Why the “Super Awesome Club”? Because, unlike some jazz musicians, these ones don't take themselves at all seriously.
“We're awesome and we're super and bingo! We added two and three together and got the Super Awesome Club,” says drummer Matt Ouimet. “And everyone's a member who comes to see it because everyone's welcome in our club! But we're very important in that club. We might be the leaders.”
Three of the group's members – Ouimet, Steve Boudreau on keyboards, and Jake von Wurden on electric bass – met in Ottawa and formed the group close to a decade ago; Eagles (electric guitar) joined three to four years ago.
But because one or another was almost always touring or working elsewhere, they'd only really get together during the holidays – particularly Christmas – for a blow-out show at Irene's, with lots of laughter. Von Wurden moved back to Ottawa about a year ago, which has allowed the group to get together more regularly and possibly record.
- Ottawa Jazz Festival loses money in 2014, needs new home in 2016
- Roddy Ellias returns to GigSpace alone (video)
- Whiplash drums up the tension, but doesn't do justice to jazz (movie review)
- The Brian Browne Trio shows why the jazz piano trio has enduring appeal (review)
- The Alex Goodman Trio presents a wide-ranging show of fast, fluid jazz (review)
- The Adam Saikaley Quartet sets the walls to grooving at Mugshots (review)
- A memorable evening of Gypsy Jazz & more with Tcha Limberger and Denis Chang (review)
- Sold-out audience applauds Rob Frayne's return to the sax (video)
- The unpredictable Brian Browne
- Tcha Limberger and Denis Chang: a passion for finding the sources of Gypsy jazz
- A nod to Johnny Hartman and a defining concert for Floyd Hutchinson
- Guelph 2014: Ernst Reijseger plays the cello as you have not heard it before (review)
- Geri Childs sings about long-time friendship in More than Magic CD release (review)
- Marianne Trudel Quintet: An exhilarating, subtle start to the 2014-15 NAC Presents jazz series (review)
- Evoking the soul of Hank Mobley (review)
- Lara Solnicki chose jazz, but added a classical twist
- Merrickville's Jazz Fest Day 3: polished vocals and joyful instrumentals
- Merrickville's Jazz Fest Day 2: crowded with music
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- Adam Daudrich Trio at MJF: melodic and propulsive with a solid bass
- Blossom Dearie tribute is 'hip' at Merrickville's Jazz Fest (video)
- Brian Browne is MJF's first and busy artist-in-residence this year
- Sun Crescent Barbecue Stompers bring The Big Easy to Merrickville
- Rob Frayne is back, with a tenor sax
- Joel Miller Trio: quiet audiences make acoustic jazz come alive
- IMOOfest 2014 celebrates local talent as well as Canada's top improvisers
- Peter Liu: love songs and jazz cross cultural boundaries in Bamboo Groove
- ZenKitchen quietly launches new Wednesday Night Jazz (video)
- Ottawa benefit raises $900 for Canadian trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler (video)
- A cross-Canada celebration of poet P.K. Page in music and dance
- Ottawa audience enjoys Organic's groove (review)
- New Santé Restaurant jazz series will highlight male vocalists in October
- Bernie Senensky, in two voices
- David Braid, Jill Barber, Mike Rud, and John Geggie featured in NAC concerts in 2015
- ZenKitchen doubles its jazz, with musicians rarely heard in Ottawa
- Merrickville's Jazz Fest features new artists, and some greatest hits, for its 4th year
- Guelph 2014: John Heward and Barre Phillips are 80-year-olds with oomph (review)
- Guelph 2014: Pugs & Crows didn't live up to its talent (review)
- Local improvisers put on the spot at IMOO season opener (review)
- Guelph 2014: Lee Pui Ming and Dong-Won Kim astonish the audience (review)
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- OttawaJazzScene.ca - Into the next five years
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- The Christian McBride Trio fulfills the tradition; the Darius Jones Quartet fights with it
- Bobby McFerrin never forgets to experiment (review)
- Collaboration in two acts: Newport Festival Now 60 & the Norma Winstone Trio
- Real jazz is a big hit in Confederation Park, with Kirk MacDonald and Dianne Reeves
- Virtuosity in improvisation and composition: Colin Stetson & Hamid Drake, Darcy James Argue (review)
- Jane Bunnett and Maqueque bring Cuban passion to Ottawa
- Jane Bunnett spotlights the spirit & energy of female Cuban musicians in Maqueque
- The Patrick Smith Trio recreates history (video)
- Kellylee Evans celebrates Canada Day with 2 free concerts with the NAC Orchestra
- Branford Marsalis to open Music and Beyond; Oliver Jones also featured
- Myriad3 creates dramatic, percussive music (review)
- Kirk MacDonald explores symmetry in music
- CYJO celebrates its 5th anniversary with flair and many past faces
- Jazz Festival jams at new Albion Rooms treat listeners to fine musical moments
- High-profile Montreal and Ottawa jazz artists to perform in Aylmer this summer
- Ottawa Fringe Festival will present jazz for the first time
- Jon Ballantyne starts the Ottawa Jazz Festival with complex melodies (review)
- ZenKitchen may be closer to reopening after packed fundraiser
- Jazz Scene: Jazz Heard! OttawaJazzScene.ca celebrates 5 years, with a photo exhibit
- Vocalists, instrumentalists, Latin and more for free at the 2014 Montreal Jazz Festival
- Ottawa composers thrilled by JazzWorks Originals concert
- The Reis Demuth Wiltgen Trio swept the audience along with its vigorous music
- 2014 Geggie Invitational Concert: complex tapestries of music (review)
- Diana Krall to perform a free outdoor concert at the 2014 Montreal Jazz Festival
- What you - and we - learned from the OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll
- Some praise, some sorrow at jazz festival programming
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- OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll: Concert Venues
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- H'Art artists and Jesse Stewart collaborate for a multi-media musical theatre show
- After 75 years of playing, Oliver Jones still masterfully shares the joy of jazz (review)
- Kirk MacDonald shows 'next level of musicianship' at NACJB on Friday
- No Rideau Centre stage at the Ottawa Jazz Festival this year
- 2014 Chamberfest features clarinetist Don Byron in its genre-bending concerts
- Jacques Emond's jazz recordings play on, at Carleton University
- John Geggie reunites with favourite Canadians for an Invitational concert tonight
- Omer Klein gave an exhilarating and intense performance for his Canadian debut
- Omer Klein's lifelong love affair with the piano ... and improvisation
- The Mash Potato Mashers parade for their final time
- Steve Berndt and Brian Browne turn tasty leftovers into gold with "All Over Again"
- The Roddy Ellias Trio never stops talking with their music (video)
- Bumpin' Binary grooves on organ and drums
- The Adam Saikaley Quintet brings Miles Davis' Filles de Kilimanjaro to vivid life
- Beeched Wailers open a new jazz jam at the Rochester Pub & Eatery
- 2React takes hip-hop back to its roots in jazz
- Jesse Stewart brings renowned improviser William Parker to Ottawa for innovative concerts and lectures
- Jesse Stewart talks about the challenges of making music outdoors at -25C (video)
- After 30 years playing jazz, Phil Dwyer is going to law school
- Phil Dwyer Trio energizes BDT with a compelling collaboration (review)
- Three standing ovations for Jérôme Beaulieu Trio's first show outside Québec
- Café Nostalgica is bringing back jazz nights
- Matt Dusk and Molly Johnson to celebrate Christmas with the NAC Orchestra
- A Jazzy March in Ottawa-Gatineau
- Jérôme Beaulieu meets his audiences half-way, with melodic and unexpected jazz
- Jesse Stewart brings Jane Bunnett, one of his favourite musicians, to Ottawa
- Tonight is the last night for the iconic Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver
- Warm and sincere, Denzal Sinclaire wows the orchestra audience
- Denzal Sinclaire pays tribute to his musical hero Nat King Cole - with orchestra
- Once a year, Michael Pytura celebrates his favourite big band jazz singers
- The Sicilian Jazz Project reached the audience's hearts (and made them dance)
- The Maskell-Cousineau Quintet: serious, accessible, and fun music
- Jesse Stewart brings 'Memories of Ice' to free Winterlude shows
- Juno Award nominations recognize many musicians who played in Ottawa-Gatineau
- FOLKRUM dreams big for a new Ottawa-Gatineau concert venue
- Ottawa-Gatineau's 2013 Jazz Score
- Afrocentric jazz returns to Le Petit Chicago after an intense and satisfying debut
- Roddy Ellias, Petr Cancura, and Andrew Downing form equal sides of trekan
- Clayton Connell shows his piano range Wednesday, before heading off to Austria
- Linsey Wellman's Wedding and Funeral Trio melds Balkan rhythms and jazz
- Jazzin' the Holidays creates holiday cheer for GigSpace (video)
- Gaby Warren hosts a baker's dozen of Christmas jazz jams
- AlphaSoul Café to close its doors after more than two years presenting jazz
- The Adrian Matte Quartet heated up AlphaSoul on a frosty night
- Jamie Baum and Jane Bunnett: two voices in close conversation (review)
- CYJO brings a century of music to life in first 2013-14 concert
- Ottawa Jazz Festival shows a 2013 surplus, mainly from non-jazz acts and beer
- Capital Vox remembers Dave Brubeck through both his words and music
- Jamie Baum and Jane Bunnett bring new, Indian-influenced music to life
- Bryn Roberts returns to making his own, lyrical music
- Diverse concerts sell out to Ottawa audiences
- Roddy Ellias stops fidgeting and hits the Record button
- Donations to jazz radio shows fall while CKCU exceeds funding target
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- IMOOfest 2013 Night 2: stretching the rules (review)
- IMOOfest 2013 Night 1: a huge dynamic range (review)
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- Phil Nimmons and David Braid reinvent their music with each concert
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- Guelph 2013: Espousing music of the moment (review)
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- Phil Dwyer and Don Thompson celebrate the long-lasting beauty of standards (review)
- Second annual IMOOfest in November
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- Henrique Cazes and Sambacana fill St. Brigid's with gentle Brazilian rhythms (review)
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- The Jesse Stewart Trio sparks everyone's imagination (review)
- Montréal Guitare Trio starts Chamberfringe on a strong note (review)
- Renée Yoxon and her Gentlemen Friends swing the park (review)
- Three young musicians bring new music and their new experiences back to Ottawa
- Joel Miller and Honeycomb at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
- Caridad Cruz and Miguel de Armas ignite their audience
- Trifolia: adventurous jazz at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
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- Guelph Jazz Festival celebrates 20th Anniversary with World Artist Summit Sep 3-8
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- A romantic evening: The Thomas Enhco Trio and the Steve Kuhn Trio at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
- Christine Jensen, Ingrid Jensen, Gary Versace at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
- 2013 Montreal Jazz Festival celebrates pianists – and the late Dave Brubeck
- Almonte's JazzN announces new house concerts, reflects on successful first year
- AlphaSoul jazzfest jams get jammed
- Alan Jones embraces risk with his all-Canadian, all-star sextet
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- Two exceptional percussionists play the Ottawa Jazz Festival this week (video)
- David Byrne talks about music and the music biz, in all its eclectic glory (book review)
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