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Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 7 to 10 p.m.
Brian is back!
- Brian Browne - solo piano
Montreal-born pianist Brian Browne has long been regarded as one of the leading proponents of jazz piano in Canada. Browne's distinctive, bluesy piano style swings with traces of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Errol Garner and Bill Evans, yet the sound is unmistakably his own.
Friday, December 13, 2013 - 9 p.m. to midnight
- Adrian Matte - saxophone
- Mark Fraser - bass
- Ted Zarras - drums
- Alex Moxon - guitar
The Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra (CYJO) brought to life more than a century of music in their first concert of the 2013-14 season.
For the December 8 concert, band director Nick Dyson chose a set list which ranged from 1888 to the modern day, comfortably mixing modern composers like Lennie Niehaus with jazz icons like Charlie Parker and Freddie Hubbard.
The two oldest pieces performed by the student big band were “I Ain't Got Nobody”, which dates back to 1915, and “Anitra's Dance” from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite, which was originally premiered in 1888.
But the band closed the concert with a very modern piece: “That's How We Roll”, written by Gordon Goodwin for his Big Phat Band and released in 2011.
The concert, which was enthusiastically received by the audience, allowed all the different sections of the band to shine in both upbeat and more measured numbers. Two slower numbers particularly stood out: the blues-tinged “A Minor Affair” by Sammy Nestico, and “Lil' Darlin'”, made famous by the Count Basie band, with its languorous tempo. Dyson described it as the hardest piece in the big band repertoire to play because it is so deliberately slow.
The concert was held in the Kailash Mital Theatre at Carleton University, where the orchestra and audience were treated to the highly supportive lighting and sound provided by the theatre's enthusiastic, professional technical crew. Carleton University's music department supports CYJO by providing space for CYJO's rehearsals and performances.
More than half of CYJO's 17 student musicians are new this year, as many former members moved to study music in other cities. However, one new member, Myles Pelley, is a tuba player – a first for the band.
CYJO draws its members from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, and several local high schools. Its next concert will be held in February: the exact date and program have yet to be announced.
– Alayne McGregor
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Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 6 to 9 p.m.
No cover, but pay what you can donations encouraged
- Bernard Stepien - tenor saxophone
- Nathan Corr - guitar
Bernard writes: "Once again Christmas is upon us and every single musician in town is involved in all kinds of creative Christmas music projects. This year, I have decided to engage into two radically different Christmas projects. The A Very Ayler Christmas project [on December 15] is now becoming a tradition of its own. But a saxophonist inevitably is aware of one of the greatest musician in Jazz history, Charlie Parker, that one fine Christmas day in 1948 decided to give us his rendering of White Christmas that to this day blows my socks off. Thus, this year you have the opportunity to see two different approaches to Christmas carols."Nathan Corr graduated this year with distinction with a Bachelor degree in music from Carleton University. Bernard Stepien is the host of the radio program Rabble Without a Cause on CKCU 93.1 FM, the leader of the Bernard Stepien Orchestra's "A Very Ayler Christmas" project, and for decades a musician and promoter of jazz (especially the avant-garde) in Ottawa.
Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
- Marcie Campbell - vocals
- Tim Bedner - guitar
- Mark Alcorn - bass
- Marilee Townsend - drums
Stellar singer, Marcie Campbell has been entertaining audiences across the provinces with her ready wit and arsenal of repertoire.
After jazz studies at Toronto’s Humber College, vocalist Campbell returned to her native Winnipeg and quickly became the go-to-gal for local band leaders and high profile events. For years, Campbell has packed rooms in the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Beat Niq Jazz and Social Club (Calgary), NAC 4th Stage (Ottawa)and had the opportunity to work along side legends John Hendricks, Jon Faddis, David “Fathead” Newman, Bill Watrous and Kenny “Boss man” Wayne. She’s opened for comedian Bob Newhart and been the feature artist with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra. Other highlights include her sold out concerts both in Calgary and Winnipeg performing a tribute to – Nancy Wilson and in Ottawa performing alongside local favourites Karen Oxorn and Caroline Gibson in concerts featuring the music of Blossom Dearie (2010) and Peggy Lee (2011).In 1997, Marcie Campbell released her debut recording Set the Mood, establishing herself as impressive interpreter of song and capable composer. Fan favourites from that recording include Campbell’s take on the Pink Floyd classic – "Money", standard "Black Coffee" and her own "Lament for Billie". Marcie Campbell will take you on a ride through old, new and everywhere in between. While evoking memories of her influences Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson and Carol King Campbell’s sound and style are all her own.
The Ottawa Jazz Festival reversed its 2012 deficit with a surplus in 2013 of $120,834.
Treasurer Jean Vanderzohn attributed the surplus to greater sales of passes and single tickets, increased liquor sales, the new Signature concert series – and non-jazz acts like Willie Nelson and the Doobie Brothers.
Speaking to the festival's Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 27, she noted that artists' fees exceeded $1 million for the first time this year ($1.115M), primarily because of big non-jazz names like Nelson, the Doobies, and David Byrne and St. Vincent, as well as R&B/jazz crossover artist Boz Scaggs.
It also reflects “the continually increasing cost of artists”, she said. “Every time Catherine goes out and talks to somebody, it seems their fee's gone up from last year and the year before.”
This compares to only $710K for musicians in 2009 or $922K in 2012. In 2010, the festival spent $885K on musicians for its 30th anniversary, which featured major names like Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Roy Hargrove, George Benson, Joe Lovano, and Tord Gustavsen.
Capital Vox will celebrate a less-known side of Dave Brubeck at its opening season concert Saturday, with both choral pieces and solo piano music written by the late, renowned jazz pianist and composer.
The concert will be only a few days short of the first anniversary of Brubeck's death (December 5, 2012, just before his 92nd birthday). The Ottawa community jazz choir wanted to pay tribute to him, said director Elise Letourneau, by exploring the compositions he wrote for choir and voice.
But the piano won't be forgotten, either: the choir will be accompanied by pianist Sally Robinson, and keyboard master Brian Browne will perform solo in the middle of each set.
Brubeck is not usually associated with choral music, Letourneau said; most people have never heard the part of Brubeck's repertoire that Capital Vox will present.
In fact, up to about three years ago, she only knew of Brubeck's instrumental jazz – and then she discovered the choral compositions.
“I thought: this is really cool! And the more I looked the more I found. This wasn't just one or two choral pieces he wrote. He wrote a lot of music for choir. We're programming a whole concert of it, but there's probably a whole 'nother concert of Brubeck material that we didn't do, that we could. And then on top of that, he wrote a few Masses and music like that as well.”
Jamie Baum is exploring new territory in her current Canadian tour, which reaches Ottawa on Saturday at GigSpace.
It's the first opportunity for the American jazz flute player to play with Jane Bunnett, her Canadian fellow flute player and longtime friend. It's also a release tour for her latest CD, which has taken her in new and original directions inspired by music from the Indian subcontinent.
“I really love Indian music and qawwali music,” Baum explained.
Several of the pieces on the album are directly inspired by performances by the late Pakistani vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who was a singer of Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music. Others, while staying within the jazz mainstream, reflect Baum's experiences performing in India and listening to music from there. That led her to “new ways of writing and improvising”, which she enthusiastically described.
The quintet's tour includes Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa, and Kingston. OttawaJazzScene.ca spoke to Jane Bunnett the day after the first show in Waterloo, and she said that show attracted a “full house and a fantastic turnout – and the music is pretty adventuresome music. The crowd was really receptive. They loved it.”
Baum and Bunnett first met at a jazz convention in the 1990s, and have both been nominated in the same categories for Jazz Journalists Association Awards.
“So she would be there and I would be there, and we would start to bond and hang out. When she'd play in New York, I'd go hear her and we'd get a bite. When I was in Toronto, and even once in Montreal and she was there at the same time, we would just hang out,” Baum told OttawaJazzScene.ca.
“She's been in the Downbeat polls as I've been in the Downbeat polls. We have a lot of mutual friends in common, with people who have written about woodwinds,” Bunnett said. “I think originally the first person was a writer-journalist-radio guy in New York named Bob Bernotas, who said to me, 'Oh you've got to meet Jamie. You'd just get along great!' And sometimes that can be the worst thing somebody tells you: oh you guys will just get along great, and you end up like can't stand the person, right? Why did they say that? But we really did: we hit it off. And so we've been friends ever since and we keep in touch.”
The Bryn Roberts Quartet plays GigSpace on Thursday, November 21, at 8 p.m. It's part of a cross-Canada tour which took them to the Cellar in Vancouver on Nov 15-16, and The West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg on November 17. The tour continues to the Jazz Bistro in Toronto on Wednesday and Thursday, November 19-20, and the Upstairs Club in Montreal on Friday, November 22.
Pianist Bryn Roberts composes long, lyrical jazz melodies – memorable ones which are expressed through all the musicians in his quartet. You can hear them in his just-released third album, Fables – and when he appears with his all-star quartet at GigSpace on Thursday. That show will feature selections from Fables, as well as older compositions, some standards, and a few surprises.
Roberts grew up in Winnipeg, which is where OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor caught up with him for a phone conversation on Sunday. He was at his parents' house for a brief stay, as he prepared for a concert that evening – and was a bit worried that a “pretty miserable snow storm” (a standard risk for Winnipeg in November) might affect attendance.
He's in the middle of a Canadian CD release tour which started with two sold-out nights in Vancouver last weekend, and will continue after Winnipeg to Toronto, Ottawa, and finally Montreal. While the CD was officially released in NYC in mid-September, and was briefly showcased in a European tour, this is the first extensive chance for audiences to hear this music.
It's also the first chance for Canadians to hear much of Roberts in many years. In the late 1990s, after he graduated from McGill, he was an important part of the Montreal jazz scene, and released his debut album in 2000 to considerable acclaim and a Montreal Jazz Festival appearance. But in 2001, he moved to New York City, and for most of the last decade his talents have been as much in demand to back up rock stars like Serena Ryder and singer-songwriters like Dar Williams as they are for straight jazz gigs.
For this tour, Roberts has brought three notable jazz musicians with him: tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, a Canadian expat who is highly influential in the NYC jazz scene and a member of John Scofield's “Quiet Band”; Matt Penman, best known to Ottawa audiences as the bassist in the SF Jazz Collective; and German drummer Jochen Rueckert, who has played with musicians like Mark Turner, Marc Copland, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Abercrombie, and Madeleine Peyroux.
This is an edited version of our conversation:
The Ottawa jazz scene showed its diversity and enthusiasm on the weekend, as two very different shows – one touring, one local – both filled GigSpace to the door.
On Friday night, Brooklyn (and ex-Toronto) vocalist Melissa Stylianou brought her quartet to Ottawa as part of a three-city mini-tour of Ontario. It was an intimate show of jazz standards, originals, and a few “left-field choices” which connected well with her audience. The overall sound was stunning.
On Saturday, Ottawa master guitarist Roddy Ellias introduced his updated trio, with Thom Gossage on drums joining Adrian Vedady on double bass. They played an uninterrupted 105-minute set which included the material which they will be recording in the next two weeks (and even took advance orders for that CD).
Much of the material had been featured at previous trio concerts, but that didn't matter. By the time Ellias had improvised new beginnings to tunes and radically changed arrangements, this was a fresh and fascinating example of guitar trio. Vedady and Ellias played a number of duets demonstrating how their two different tonalities could intersect and compliment each other. Gossage added understated texture in some places, and some surprisingly assertive and unexpected percussion in others which served to highlight the entire trio's music.
There's lots of choice again this week, with the star-studded Bryn Roberts Quartet on Thursday and the Trombone Summit on Saturday at GigSpace. Vocal jazz fans will be torn between the Nylons at Shenkman, and Montreal bossa nova duo bet.e & stef at the Mercury Lounge, both on Thursday. Roberto Lopez brings his highly energetic and original jazz inspired by Afro-Columbia rhythms to downtown Gatineau on Friday (we were very impressed with his concerts in Ottawa and Montreal this summer), and Zola's is broadcasting a concert from New York City featuring noted saxophonist Chris Potter. And there's lots more!
– Alayne McGregor, with files from Brett Delmage
- Roberto López combines Colombian rhythms and jazz into danceable music
- Roddy Ellias stops fidgeting and hits the Record button
- Roddy Ellias stops fidgeting and hits the Record button
- Donations to jazz radio shows fall while CKCU exceeds funding target
- David Occhipinti in Ottawa Friday afternoon to debut his new chamber jazz CD
- An early and jazzy start to Christmas
- IMOOfest to return after financial break-even and artistic successes
- IMOOfest 2013 Night 3: unpacking the music (review)
- IMOOfest 2013 Night 2: stretching the rules (review)
- IMOOfest 2013 Night 1: a huge dynamic range (review)
- Will Accordion Conspiracy take over IMOOfest? (video)
- Organ-ic fusion fills the church (review)
- Phil Nimmons and David Braid reinvent their music with each concert
- Ensemble SuperMusique takes a chance with IMOO at Club SAW
- Mortimer Katz remembered: a very long life filled with bebop
- Guelph 2013: Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers moved from sorrow to triumph (review)
- Guelph 2013: The improvisers get improv'd
- Three Ottawa vocalists recreate classic Ella and Billie Newport concerts (video)
- Guelph Jazz Festival listeners treated to elevator music (review)
- William Parker tells Guelph 2013: You can't resurrect the jazz masters
- Guelph 2013: Bomata warmed a rainy-day audience with melodic yet unusual jazz
- Guelph 2013: Satoko Fujii and Kaze blew away preconceptions
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