Wednesday, April 26, 2017
- Taylor Angus Duo
- Peter Liu Jazz Duo
- Florquestra [review]
- David Devisscher and Friends Jazz Jam
- The Adam Saikaley Trio [interview with Adam]
Discover the OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Pick of the Week for April 20 to 26.
Get the where, when, who, and what of 68 upcoming jazz and improvised music events from April 19 to 30, for a price of a Tim's double-double a month! Donate now to OttawaJazzScene.ca's reader funding campaign and get your full-featured current newsletter right away.
Go to a live jazz show or jam in Ottawa in the last few years, and there's a good chance you would see Tariq Amery. If he wasn't joining in on flute or tenor sax, he'd be listening intently and with obvious enjoyment.
Live music is his passion – for as many as 15 shows a week.
But now the young jazz musician with the big grin is moving outwards. He's releasing his debut CD, and he's looking at jazz scenes outside Ottawa, including possibly studying in Europe.
On Friday, April 21, Amery will release the CD at his own show at the Avant-Garde Bar. It's an atmospheric blend of voices and textures, in styles ranging from ballads to Wayne Shorter-style experimental modern jazz to Latin. He wrote most of the compositions on it last October, and recorded it in sessions in November and December.
It was an ambitious project, involving eight musicians from Ottawa and Montreal. Amery's soaring flute is an important part of the mix, but so is Daniel Ko's fierce saxophone, Ed Lister's powerful trumpet, Clayton Connell's electric piano, and Will O'Neill's fluent guitar. Vovo Saramanda drives the music with energetic Brazilian-style percussion along with Michel Delage on drums and J.P. Lapensée on bass.
Each of these musicians has a strong individual voice, and Amery's philosophy with the CD was to give them the room to express that. “I mean it when I say I wasn’t projecting anything onto the project. I really wanted it to be what it was.”
“I think the big thing for me was leaving it really open for other people to be themselves. I didn’t try to force any specific ideas. I had a general outline of what I wanted it to be, and then I was just like, ‘You guys do your thing and we’ll see of what we can make of this.’ ”
“I would throw things out there but nothing specific enough to make it obvious what to play. I was really letting the music ask for what it wanted.”
The CD is called Indefinity, a word which Amery created by gluing together “indefinite” and “infinity”. It turns out that word is also in the dictionary, meaning “being vague and poorly defined” – which isn't far off what he was aiming at.
David Renaud and Brian Browne
Live @ Record Runner
Record Runner Rehearsal Studios
Friday, April 14, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
Clarinetist David Renaud and pianist Brian Browne have an easy rapport, born of shared musical tastes and a joint willingness to experiment and have fun with their music.
The duo communicated that rapport with their audience on Friday, in a happy and varied show at Record Runner Rehearsal Studios. They played songs from the two albums they've recorded together: 2016's First Love, and the just-released Encore.
Jazz standards, gospel numbers, and blues all appeared in the set list, played with nuance and a great deal of verve – and the occasional unexpected musical tease by Browne. These were all well-known pieces – in fact, Browne played completely from memory, without any sheet music – but the duo didn't take them for granted. They immersed themselves in each song's melody and rhythms, and then used them as stepping-off places for exploration.
The two Ottawa musicians have known each other for years. “He's good for me. He makes me listen,” Renaud told the audience.
Ottawa pianist Adam Saikaley is a musical Renaissance man. Adept at playing hip-hop, reggae, punk, pop, and jazz, he's also worked as a DJ, and as a classical music producer on CBC Radio. In the jazz sphere, he's led tributes to his favourite Miles Davis albums, played 60s and 70s jazz with his quartet, and performed free jazz with local improvisers.
His newest project is a jazz piano trio with bassist Alex Bilodeau and drummer Michel Delage. But don't think Oscar Peterson: Saikaley's music, while definitely melodic, is influenced by avant-garde pianists like Cecil Taylor and Kris Davis. On April 1, the trio was the opening act for the JUNOfest jazz showcase at Live! on Elgin, the only local group to join the JUNO nominees in that showcase. Their rendition of Saikaley's dynamically-rich original compositions evoked warm applause from the audience.
Their next concert outing will be at GigSpace's Jazz MicroFest, where they'll open the Saturday evening concerts on April 29. They also play at Bar Robo on the last Wednesday of each month.
When OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor interviewed Saikaley on the morning of Monday, April 3, he and the trio had had a very busy weekend. Saturday was their JUNOfest show, and the next day, they recorded their first album.
We began by talking about Saikaley's love for real pianos, whose sound he loves and which he doesn't get to play on often enough at shows, although he has one at home. At JUNOfest and at the recording session, he played Steinway pianos; at GigSpace, he'll have a Yamaha to stretch out on. And having a piano to play on does make a real difference to the sound, he contends.
This is a lightly edited version of our conversation.
OttawaJazzScene.ca's reporting is made possible by reader donations. Thanks to Barry Cooper whose support helped make this interview possible.
Nicholas Adema Quintet: Music from Famous Canadian Trombonists
St. Luke's Anglican Church
Sunday, April 9, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
It was a night for the trombone on Sunday as Nicholas Adema brought together three Ottawa musicians and one Toronto musician to play compositions by well-known Canadian trombonists.
And it sparked a definite interest. In his introduction, the St. Luke's Church music series coordinator stated that the show had attracted one of their largest audiences. The 17-year-old trombonist, composer, arranger, and senior high school student had been working for the last year to organize it.
The set list included numbers by Rob McConnell (from the Boss Brass), Ian McDougall, and Terry Promane, plus several numbers by local composer Mark Ferguson. Ferguson was also on the bandstand, but playing piano, not trombone. Bassist Alex Bilodeau and drummer Michel Delage provided a flexible but driving rhythm section (and several emphatic solos).
Adema also included several of his own compositions, including “Samba Not So Samba” which he had also performed recently with the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra, but in a quite different arrangement with more room for trombone. Trumpeter Kaelin Murphy, who is currently studying at the University of Toronto, contributed a particularly fine flugelhorn finale to the ballad Adema had written in honour of Ferguson, “M.F.”.
In April, pianist Cynthia Tauro and her quartet is hosting the late-night Jazz Monday jam sessions. It's the culmination for her of many years enjoying the music at those jams.
She's the first woman leader of a host band at Jazz Mondays in its 12-year history at Le Petit Chicago. OttawaJazzScene.ca checked its archived event listings, and while we found other women who had played on that stage on Mondays, Tauro was the first to lead a group.
She's playing with three musicians who frequently appear at this jam: guitarist Alex Moxon, drummer Michel Delage, and bassist Alex Bilodeau. Bilodeau also coordinates Jazz Mondays. At their first show on April 3, they performed Tauro's own original songs in the first set, ranging from Latin numbers to soulful to romantic to grooving. Tauro both sang and played keyboards, with the rhythm section providing a strong jazz propulsion filling the downtown Gatineau club. As usual, they opened the second set to jammers.
Tauro graduated in 2016 with a degree in jazz piano and voice from Carleton University. Originally from Toronto, she's now living in Ottawa and performing in venues across the city.
OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor interviewed Tauro between sets at Le Petit Chicago on April 3.
Over the last two years, Montreal saxophonist Rémi Bolduc has immersed himself in pianist Oscar Peterson's music – and developed an immense respect for Peterson as a composer and musician as a result.
Bolduc has just released a tribute CD to Peterson, Swingin' with Oscar, with his arrangements of Peterson's compositions. He is currently on tour with his quartet playing this music throughout Ontario and then further east, including a stop in Gatineau on April 12.
And, in the process, he's broadened his outlook on jazz. It used to be that when Bolduc listened to albums by the Canadian jazz icon, he would choose those Peterson made with famous saxophonists.
“I was really focusing on sax players. And I put a lot of my energy into transcribing solos of all sax players. And, of course, I heard Oscar Peterson on some of his records, but because I was checking out Sonny Stitt with Oscar, or Ben Webster with Oscar. I was really always taking the angle of the sax player. And as I get more mature in my music, I opened my mind. I'm like, OK, you've got to go further that that.”
In the fall of 2015, Bourgie Hall at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts asked Bolduc to perform a tribute show to Peterson, to honour the 90th anniversary of Peterson's birth. It was one of a series of tribute concerts he's played there, each time honouring a different jazz master. For the show, he brought in Taurey Butler on piano, along with long-time collaborators Fraser Hollins on bass and Dave Laing on drums.
He said he picked Taurey Butler as the pianist for this project because “we'd played together, and I thought that Oscar had a big influence on him.”
Butler studied classical piano as a child, but stopped playing piano after age 12. “And then he heard Oscar Peterson, and that brought him back to jazz. So Taurey, when he plays, he has that approach. He's really, of course, virtuosic, he uses all kinds of elements on the piano, and the way he plays the chords and his time feel and his whole vocabulary is highly influenced by Oscar Peterson. In Montreal, I couldn't really think of anybody else that had that power when he plays.”
After the concert, “my agent started to call me and say ‘People would be interested to hear that project again.’ And so we did a few concerts, and I decided, OK, let's do a CD. I guess people love that music – especially Oscar Peterson in Canada.”
The Cellar Live record label in Vancouver released Metalwood's Juno-winning album because of its ties to this country.
“Metalwood is Canadian, like really Canadian, and they come from across Canada, and so it was totally a natural fit,” said record owner Cory Weeds.
It was an illuminating comment in a year when most of the winners in the Juno jazz categories live in New York City.
The 2017 jazz-related Junos were awarded on Saturday to:
- Metalwood: Twenty (Jazz Album of the Year: Group)
- Renee Rosnes: Written in the Rocks (Jazz Album of the Year: Solo)
- Bria Skonberg: Bria (Vocal Jazz Album of the Year)
- Diana Panton: I Believe in Little Things (Children's Album of the Year)
Rosnes, Skonberg, and two of Metalwood's four members are Canadian ex-pats who now live in New York City.
When asked to comment on this, Rosnes said, “Well, it's the mecca of our music. New York has a fantastic jazz scene as you know. It's very vibrant, and a lot of Canadian musicians go there to play and learn and a lot of us end up staying.”
She noted that the Canadian musicians in New York are “all friendly with one another, and we have a great love for Canada and we come back very often to perform and to see family of course as well.”
In her acceptance speech, Skonberg said, “I'm proud to be Canadian.” She thanked the New York City community, “for lifting me up”, and her home town of Chilliwack, BC, “for keeping me grounded”.
JUNOfest 2017 Jazz Night #1: Heather Bambrick and David Braid, Shirantha Beddage Quartet, Amanda Tosoff Quintet, Barbra Lica Quintet
Live! on Elgin
Friday, March 31, 2017 - 9 p.m.
With the Junos in Ottawa, many nominated jazz musicians were here for the ceremonies. And some were also here to perform, in JUNOfest concerts across the city.
For jazz fans, the action was primarily at Live! on Elgin downtown, where four ensembles played Friday night in 45-minute sets. It's a compact club which was packed with enthusiastic listeners and stayed that way all evening.
The Friday show was all-Toronto – not surprising since this year's nominees were mostly from Toronto and NYC.
JUNOfest 2017 Jazz Night #2: Adam Saikaley Trio, Quinsin Nachoff Trio and Septet, Brandi Disterheft Quartet, Dave Young Quintet
Live! on Elgin
Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 9 p.m.
The second evening of JUNOfest jazz concerts emphasized instrumental music, with ensembles playing both swinging mainstream jazz and more experimental orchestral jazz music.
In three 45-minute sets, Quinsin Nachoff, Brandi Disterheft, and Dave Young presented music which they had recorded on their Juno-nominated albums (or, as Nachoff said with a smile, “our Juno-losing albums”).
If anything, Live! on Elgin was even more packed than Friday night, with appreciative applause from the audience throughout. Listeners were focused on the music, and any conversations were quiet and respectful of the performances and other listeners. Jazz fans of all ages were present, enjoying the music.
Ottawa pianist Adam Saikaley opened the evening, playing his original music with his trio: bassist Alex Bilodeau and drummer Michel Delage. Unfortunately, I was still reporting on the Juno Awards dinner (which ran substantially late) at the same time as his set.
- National Arts Centre announces Canada Scene jazz concerts
- Mayor Watson: City of Ottawa will develop its first music strategy
- “No extra clutter”: James Brown and Jim Vivian have a guitar-bass conversation
- No RendezVous Rideau Jazz series at 2017 Ottawa Jazz Festival; future uncertain
- Juno Awards Week: jazz nominees from across Canada present new and different music in Canada's capital
- 2017 Ottawa Jazz Festival lineup reduces jazz, Canadians (analysis)
- A tuba (and jazz) fantasia with the Keith Hartshorn-Walton Quartet (review)
- Want to volunteer at the Ottawa Jazz Festival or another summer music festival? Applications are now open
- John Stetch to reimagine classical compositions at 2017 Ottawa Chamberfest
- Ottawa jazz focuses on Canada in March, leading up to the Junos
- Simon Denizart Trio wins over NAC audience with energetic, multi-faceted jazz
- French pianist Simon Denizart is inspired by new culture & new musicians in Quebec
- GigSpace Jazz MicroFest puts the local into International Jazz Day
- The Stretch Orchestra (video)
- Jazz tuba advocate Keith Hartshorn-Walton blows his own horn
- Chris Maskell and Gentiane MG play approachable yet complex jazz
- The Rachel Beausoleil Quartet evokes the elegance and beauty of Jobim's music
- "Let's play!" Jane Bunnett and Miguel de Armas combine their jazz and Afro-Cuban energy
- The Caroline Cook Trio shares jazz grooves in a warm mid-winter show
- One-third of 2017 Juno jazz nominees don't live in Canada
- Beeched Wailers attract keen listeners and players for 1st jam night at Bar Robo
- Sung Ra extravaganza inspires standing ovation
- Doug Martin gets in the groove in his second Havana Jazz Festival appearance
- Gentiane MG: "stretching to explore the unknown"
- Christine Duncan audaciously rethinks choral music in her Element Choir
- Sung Ra spectacle adds voices, costumes, and dancing to the Rakestar Arkestra
- First Jazz Night at The Brass Monkey presents three bands to an appreciative audience
- Ottawa-Gatineau celebrates Canadian jazz in January for 2017
- Miguel de Armas brings in 2017 with a bright Latin beat
- Original voices shine in holiday show
- Three views of jazz at Christmas
- Renée Landry adds swing and originals to holiday songs
- Rémy Bélanger de Beauport takes the cello to wild and lonely places
- Jazz mashed with Christmas carols (and more!) at the end of December
- 45north plays all-Canadian jazz with enthusiasm and flair
- Ottawa Jazz Festival balances books in 2016 by cutting musician budget by one-third
- More jazz than Jingle Bells in the second week of December
- Ranee Lee shares a generous performance with many sides
- Escape the Christmas carols with jazz in December
- Jazz vocalist Ranee Lee has flourished in Canada
- The Crooked Jazz Trio doesn't travel straight-ahead
- Safe Low Limit: creative, new low blows and bows (video)
- “Don't waste your notes”: an interview with Dong-Won Kim
- "Canada Scene" 2017 launches with Robi Botos' jazzy nod to Oscar Peterson
- The audience kept clapping for Miguel de Armas and Claudia Salguero
- Touring Dutch duo impressed by Canadians' response to jazz
- Amy Brandon creates altered states of guitar
- Safe Low Limit digs deep for Jazz Mondays in November
- Cole Porter without the words engages the audience at Brookstreet tribute show
- Maureen Kennedy's passion for finding hidden jazz standards
- Maqueque notches up its Afro-Cuban jazz energy with its second album
- The Ken Harper Trio brings commitment and energy to new concert series at Southminster
- Samuel Blaser and Gerry Hemingway perform music to feed the soul
- Sienna Dahlen's expressive music deserves an audience's full attention
- Tim Bedner & Elise Letourneau revisit their Thursday nights at Cafe Paradiso on Saturday
- The Canto Trio blends two sax voices and bass in an evening of classic jazz
- Two musicians make their sculpture sing in an Ottawa park
- John Stetch dramatically mixes folksong, classical, and TV themes into dynamic jazz
- Rachel Beausoleil shares the Brazilian popular music you don't know
- Marianne Trudel pays a rich tribute to Guelph Jazz Festival founder
- François Houle excited about new projects, long-time collaborations
- Francois Houle: just the clarinet
- Betty Ann Bryanton takes her musical revenge, to a happy full house
- Roddy Ellias and Megan Jerome create quiet beauty in a new collaboration at Irene's
- Musical friends return to 2016 Guelph Jazz Festival to celebrate founder's last year
- It's a new jazz season - and September sings!
- Conjunction: three jazz and three classical musicians make music that sings (review)
- A powerful jazz fusion outing for Modasaurus (review)
- The swinging style of Denielle Bassels
- Trumpet Bootcamp gives students a different perspective
- Kiran Ahluwalia filled the park with haunting melodies and circling rhythms
- Carleton U Jazz Camp faculty quintet enjoys the upbeat (review)
- The 2016 Merrickville's Jazz Fest gets funkier and celebrates John Lennon
- 'I got rhythm': Rob Frayne takes the helm at the JazzWorks jazz camp
- 2016 Carleton U Jazz Camp goes all-Ottawa, with afternoon concerts
- Gene DiNovi infuses Duke Ellington's music with his own life
- The Ottawa and Gatineau jazz scenes strut their stuff in August
- A flowing conversation among Ernst Reijseger, Jesse Stewart, and David Mott (review)
- A standing ovation for So Long Seven's mélange of rhythms and influences
- A show of thanks: Mike Rud honours jazz guitarist George Benson this weekend
- Chamberfest: A jarring juxtaposition of jazz and classical
- The Doug Martin Quartet gives a vibrant release to their 'Spirit of Survival' CD
- Jesse Stewart, David Mott & Ernst Reijseger share a passion for invention & improvisation
- Ernst Reijseger at Chamberfest: reinventing how audiences see and hear the cello
- Will Halifax Jazz Festival's Heather Gibson put jazz on NAC stages as the new NAC Presents producer?
- Oliver Jones takes on new challenges in his farewell tour
- Doug Martin revisits Cuba in music in his new CD, Spirit of Survival
- Take a Jazz Stay-cation: Ottawa jazz highlights in July
- Classical and jazz dance together at the 2016 Ottawa Chamberfest
- Canadian saxophonist P.J. Perry named to the Order of Canada
- A hard-driving quartet finds new corners of modern jazz
- Steve Bilodeau reaches the semi-finals in Montreux Jazz Festival International Guitar Competition
- Kirk MacDonald & Pat LaBarbera are back in town, celebrating musical friendships
- Brian Browne and Peter Woods fill the Record Centre with standards
- Ottawa's jazz fans discover new groups and new sounds in the 24 hours of the Jazz Ramble
- Two CDs by Nick Fraser create beautiful moments through collaborative improvisation
- The Amos Hoffman Quartet adds classical and Mid-East motifs to mainstream jazz
- A rural county excited by jazz: what Prince Edward County Jazz Festival does differently
- Finding new ways to develop young jazz talent at the Prince Edward County Jazzfest
- There's lots more live jazz than just the jazzfest in June
- The Bank Street Bonbons show the power of brass at Irene's
- The timeless beauty of jazz raises thousands for refugees
- This Sunday: discover jazz vocalists and support refugees
- The 2016 Prince Edward County Jazz Festival is showcasing the Canadian jazz it loves
- William O'Neill: a guitarist talks about his love of big band music
- Erin Saoirse Adair adds power to her anger with a jazz backing
- Ottawa jazz fans show their appreciation for Oliver Jones' 76-year career (review)
- The Rachel Therrien Trio rethinks and reenergizes jazz classics
- Andrew Ferderber's A+ graduation performance, and how he got there
- Sweet swing fills the church as the Hard Bop Association pays tribute to Duke Ellington
- Fawn Fritzen matches originals with vocal jazz classics in a finely-tuned show
- Ed Lister's hard-swinging tribute Wednesday to Duke Ellington's classic music
- Fawn Fritzen takes a fresh approach to jazz standards
- Jazz swings through May
- An expanded quartet rethinks the music (video)
- Miles Ahead, but not in reality (movie review)
- Michael Kaeshammer and his audience have fun with energetic and varied music
- Michael Kaeshammer plays the music he loves and that's in his fingers
- Song of Lahore shows jazz triumphing over intolerance (movie review)
- Sitar, violin, guitar & cajon entice the audience at high-energy Sultans of String show
- The Sultans of String create an improvised collaboration with Indian sitar
- Polished performances from the Carleton University student Jazz Ensemble
- Garry Elliott and Steve Boudreau add new voices and viewpoints to their music
- Students fuse genres to create new music in year-end Carleton University concert
- Raise a glass (or several!) to jazz in Ottawa in April
- 2016 Jazz Juno Awards winners: Allison Au, Robi Botos, and Emilie-Claire Barlow
- Born To Be Blue stays true to Chet Baker's music, but romanticizes his life (movie review)
- Vocalese with Steve Berndt and Christine Fagan: "A jazz adventure" (video)
- Olivier Babaz shines a world of music on his new jazz album
- Brazilian drumming inspires Rob Frayne's latest percussive project, DrumSwamp
- Only applause broke the silence as the Sonoluminescence Trio played the Record Centre
- Ottawa Jazz Festival announces summer line-up, including Chick Corea, Dan Brubeck 4tet, Wynton Marsalis, The SF Jazz Collective, and Colin Stetson
- Rob Frayne recruits for a jazz band on a mega-scale
- David Mott on the Sonoluminescence Trio in performance (video)
- Jazz to head to the NAC's Back Stage during construction
- James McGowan and Jesse Stewart improvise music from many streams
- First impressions: Friday Night Jazz at The Marshes with Miguel de Armas
- Have your ears stretched in March with jazz from unexpected places
- Rob McConnell's music is "the boss" at Sunday's CYJO concert
- The Harley Card Trio creates a layered and nuanced collaboration at Brookstreet
- David Renaud looks for grace and love in his new duo CD with Brian Browne
- René Lavoie pays hommage to Cannonball Adderley, the saxophonist who changed his life
- Laila Biali is letting her audiences hear songs in the making, in the spirit of jazz
- A wild night at Irene's with the Alive! Ensemble and the music of Grant Green (review)
- From all over the globe, the Florian Hoefner Group unites in presenting luminous jazz (review)
- HML Trio's weekly Brookstreet Options jazz jam celebrates three years of 'good music and a great hang' this week
- Nick Fraser stretches the boundaries of drumming with Justin Haynes' scores (review)
- Crossroads concert scribbled on genre boundaries while remaining true to Lynn Miles' songs (review)
- Vocalist Jeri Brown and drummer Jesse Stewart: 'things that I haven't heard before'
- Hear both the roots and the future of jazz in February
- 2016 Juno jazz nominations move westward, and in unexpected categories
- Linsey Wellman declares his bilingual Manifesto (video)
- Fraser Hollins picks long-time musical friends for his Jazzfest show: Brian Blade, Jon Cowherd, and Joel Miller
- Karen Oxorn reflects 60 years of loving music in her concerts this weekend (podcast)
- An immersion in music from Pauline Oliveros and friends
- Standing Room Only packs the dance floor at its first Ottawa tea dance
- The Ken Harper Trio creates organic rhythms at Irene's
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