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Updated March 7, 2014
After more than 30 years as a jazz musician and many awards including the Order of Canada, Phil Dwyer is completely changing direction.
Dwyer is going to become a lawyer. He revealed that during a wide-ranging workshop at at Les Brasseurs du Temps (BDT) on March 2, in which he also discussed saxophone technique, made the audience laugh with his stories, explained what he had learned from playing with musicians around the world, and described and demonstrated his new saxophone line.
The 48-year-old Juno-award-winner told the audience that he had been accepted into the law program at the University of New Brunswick and would be starting this fall.
Dwyer was clearly looking forward to the prospect, joking about enjoying reading law texts on the subway. His legal interests don't overlap with his musical ones. Instead, they include “bleeding-heart liberal social issues”: public interest law and social policy. With his own experience with mental health issues, he said he wanted to give those with mental health problems more effective legal representation.
He said he had scored in the top 10% in North America in his LSAT results, but had been turned down by law school after law school because of his age and lack of a university degree. “You know how many people apply to law school? You know many 48-year-old bipolar jazz musicians get into law school? Oddly enough, they're not beating the door down.”
A cozy and unpretentious pub in Centretown West was packed for Ottawa's newest jazz jam on Tuesday, March 4.
Trumpeter Nicholas Dyson brought his new quintet, The Beeched Wailers, to host the jam at the Rochester Pub & Eatery. For the jam's first night, they opened with a varied repertoire: pieces by well-known jazz instrumentalists including Steve Kuhn and Thelonious Monk, and two originals by Dyson and pianist Steve Boudreau.
The notes of the opening piece, Joe Henderson's “Recorda Me”, were only heard by a sparse audience, but by 10 p.m. the bar had started to fill, mostly with local professional and amateur jazz musicians, including some students. The pub's kitchen was open late, allowing hungry participants to fill their stomachs with burgers and fries as well as their ears with music.
The jam in the second set featured many musicians circling on and off the stage. Highlights included an intimate and expressive version of Duke Ellington's “In a Sentimental Mood” by vocalist Marcie Campbell, and Tariq Amery's intense flute solos and duets with Dyson on “Oleo”. The jam closed at 12:30 a.m. with the quintet (which also includes drummer Michel Delage, saxophonist Tyler Harris, and bassist Dave Schroeder) up again playing a propulsive and tight version of “Sticks” by Cannonball Adderley.
Friday, March 7, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $22 in advance; $25 at the door. See www.capitalvox.ca/support-capital-vox/tickets
An evening of music celebrating this time of cultural change.
"So much happened, both politically and musically in the 1960's. Our musical evening celebrates this time of cultural change and includes selections by Crosby, Stills & Nash; Sam Cooke; The Who; The Chiffons; Burt Bacharach; The Drifters; The Mamas & The Papas; Joni Mitchell; Sly & The Family Stone; The Beatles; and more!"Capital Vox Jazz Choir is a non-profit charitable organization and has been heralded as Canada's first community jazz choir. Established in February 2007, Capital Vox Jazz Choir is based in Ottawa, Ontario. The jazz choir is comprised of 25-30 auditioned voices and is backed by a core three-piece rhythm section, and guest musicians. The members of Capital Vox Jazz Choir represent all walks of life - government workers, high-tech professionals, business owners, artists, full-time parents, students, retirees, and more - joining their voices in a shared love of vocal jazz.
Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15 in advance, and $20 at the door (available via www.theblacksheepinn.com/)
Experimental, improvised chamber music and poetry, sponsored by the Ottawa Writers Festival.
8:30 p.m.: Solo saxophone set by Linsey Wellman
9 p.m.: Poet David O'Meara, backed by musicians Michael Dubue and Adam Saikaley10 p.m.: The composition George Crumb's Black Angels, performed by Music In The Barns, with live visuals by Hard Science. Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble is a flexible roster of fourteen leading musicians from across Canada and the US. They are known for bringing the concert experience to new social and experiential spheres with daring performances combining new works and rarely performed classical gems.
Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 8:30 p.m.
The Adam Saikaley Quintet
- Linsey Wellman - alto sax
- Alex Moxon - guitar
- Adam Saikaley - Rhodes
- Marc Decho - bass
- Mike Essoudry - drums
The quintet will be interpreting the music from the landmark Miles Davis album, Filles de Kilimanjaro, from front to back!The Adam Saikaley Quartet plays originally composed Juke Jazz. The tunes are smooth and atmospheric, while the electronic rhythms are frenetic and ankle breaking.
Phil Dwyer Trio
Les Brasseurs du Temps
Sunday, March 2, 2014 – 8 p.m.
Based in Vancouver Island, Juno-winning musician and composer Phil Dwyer doesn't often perform in Ottawa-Gatineau. Local jazz fans were lucky that he had a series of dates and recording sessions in Toronto last week, and that musicians Sylvie Duchesneau and J.P. Moisan figured out how to extend that trip by one more day to bring him to Les Brasseurs du Temps (BDT) in Gatineau.
It was a chance for Dwyer to play with his son Ben on double bass, and with Jim Doxas on drums. And what they gave an appreciative audience was straight down the mainstream, a mixture of standards and a Dwyer original, but all delivered with verve and clarity.
Unlike his quieter show with Don Thompson last summer at Chamberfest, this time Dwyer chose a generally energetic set-list, featuring pieces by Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. His tenor sax strongly rang out through the large upstairs concert area at BDT, sometimes commanding, other times coaxing, and always creating enjoyable music.
The show opened with Monk's “We See”, which showed off Dwyer's pure tone on sax. Its swinging vibe put both the audience and the musicians at ease. The intensity increased with “Village Green” (best known in the recording by drummer Elvin Jones), and demonstrated what would be a consistent pattern throughout the show: the strong communication among the trio, each underlining the other's performance. The piece included a rumbling bass/drums duet, and pungent, vibrating lines on sax, and inspired strong applause.
The Jérôme Beaulieu Trio
National Arts Centre Fourth Stage
Saturday, March 1, 2014 – 7:30 p.m.
Sitting front and centre on the stage Saturday night was a manual typewriter – a portable Remington – placed on a small box. Not your typical accessory for a jazz piano trio, you might think.
But as a percussion instrument, and a way to intrigue the audience, it worked remarkably well.
This trio of 20-something Montrealers – Jérôme Beaulieu on piano, Philippe Leduc on bass, William Côté on drums – have made a point of including unexpected sounds, loops, and effects to enhance their music. So there were extensive collections of effect pedals next to both the piano and the double bass, and Côté could play sound clips from his drum pad, as well as deploying his own repertoire of bells and other percussion instruments.
But, at the same time, those effects never distracted from the essential flow and melody of the music.
Café Nostalgica, the University of Ottawa restaurant whose Wednesday jazz nights had been an important part of the scene for many years, will again serve jazz with its beer.
Ajà Besler, the Advocacy and Communications Coordinator for the Graduate Student's Association (GSAED), which owns the café, told OttawaJazzScene.ca over email that “Jazz Nights will be making a come-back. We'll post news on our website and Facebook page when it's official.”
The café regained its liquor licence on Tuesday. The loss of that licence last fall had led to all evening programming being canceled, including the jazz nights.
For many years, the Wednesday jazz nights at Café Nostalgica at the University of Ottawa have been an important nurturing place for local jazz artists, giving them a place to experiment with new material and lineups in front of an appreciative audience, if not great pay. The Graduate Students' Association decided to tear down and completely rebuild the old building containing the café to make it larger and more accessible; it closed at the end of March, 2012.
The National Arts Centre Orchestra will host Canadian crooner Matt Dusk for Christmas.
On December 19, Dusk and the orchestra will present a concert of well-known holiday tunes, including "Silent Night", "Little Drummer Boy", and "Winter Wonderland". They will be joined by Juno-award-winning jazz vocalist Molly Johnson, who was last at NAC in 2013, and by the Ottawa Choral Society.
Dusk is up for a Juno this year for his album, My Funny Valentine – The Chet Baker Songbook, which features an eighty-piece orchestra and special guests Arturo Sandoval, Guido Basso, and Emilie-Claire Barlow. He has released four albums, one of which, Two Shots, went gold in Canada. Dusk is an alumnus of the St. Michael’s Choir School and studied under jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson at York University.
Johnson has released five jazz albums; she was nominated for four Junos for best Vocal Jazz Album, and won for Lucky in 2009, She also received the 2009 National Jazz Award for Best Female Vocalist.
She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, recognized both for her music and her charitable work raising funds for people living with HIV/AIDS. She also hosts the weekend early morning program on CBC Radio 2.
The concert is part of the orchestra's 2014-15 season, which it announced today. This season, the orchestra performed three nights with Canadian jazz vocalist Denzal Sinclaire in a tribute to Nat King Cole. Local jazz singer Kellylee Evans also presented a Christmas show.
The NAC will also continue its Casual Fridays program next season, with three classical concerts being preceded by hour-long sets by local jazz artists. The jazz groups include:
In March 2014, jazz listeners will have almost a superfluity of great jazz to hear, including two local CD releases:
Starting with the first weekend (February 28 to March 2):
- soprano saxophonist Jane Bunnett returns to Ottawa on Friday to play with guitarist Roddy Ellias and percussionist Jesse Stewart (think of Jane more in her modern jazz rather than her Cuban jazz persona),
we move on to Saturday with
- the Jérôme Beaulieu Trio making its first appearance outside Quebec at the NAC (read our interview with Beaulieu to learn more about the trio's innovative modern jazz),
- American guitarist Joel Harrison with a high-powered NYC quintet, making a rare Ottawa appearance at GigSpace,
- the first J'acousmatic experimental music performance at the University of Ottawa.
On Sunday, there's
- renowned Canadian multi-instrumentalist Phil Dwyer giving an afternoon workshop and evening concert at Les Brasseurs du Temps in Gatineau.
- the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra's second show of the season with a diverse and upbeat program of big band music, some arranged by local jazz musicians
- the Keys 2 Drums Trio with Steve Boudreau, Jeff Asselin, and Michel Delage getting into percussive instruments at IMOO, and
- a new group, 2React, with Marc Decho, Alex Moxon, and Mike Essoudry, playing improvised hip-hop at Stella Luna.
Starting March 4, The Beeched Wailers, led by trumpeter Nick Dyson, start a new weekly jazz jam at the Rochester Pub.
On the second weekend (March 6-8):
- 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
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