Rachel Russo, the owner of the AlphaSoul Café in Hintonburg, is practically bubbling with enthusiasm as she describes how she offered her restaurant as the new location for the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival jams.
The late-night jam sessions had been in limbo for months, when one evening Russo saw the announcement that the festival was looking for a sponsor and location for them.
“I had always meant to do something like that, but I didn't think that this year we were quite ready. But then when I realized they didn't have one, I thought, 'Omigod, we have to step up to the plate.' ”
And that led to the festival's announcement on May 21 that the jams would be held at AlphaSoul, with John Geggie again leading two slightly different house bands. It will be the first time that the jams have been located outside downtown, and not within walking distance of Confederation Park.
Russo said she bought a festival Gold Pass this year for the first time. She had attended the festival in past years – but not the jams. She had planned to use the pass to investigate getting involved as a festival venue next year, but the “brilliant opportunity” to host and sponsor the jams moved the schedule up.
“I really want the jazz to do well in this city, and we've had a number of clubs in this city close down, and it's just awful because I think it [should be] quite the reverse – we should have more clubs, we should have more places that have more music, we should have more places that have jazz because it's so vibrant, it's so alive. It's so indicative of where life is going.”
AlphaSoul's Friday jazz nights have appeared in OttawaJazzScene.ca's listings since it opened in 2011. Jazz trios, usually anchored by bassist Adrian Matte, play there three Fridays a month, and Matte's Ottawa Folklore Centre Jazz Band plays on the second Friday. The Latin Jazz Quartet led by Allyson Rogers plays there one Saturday evening a month, and the café has also hosted some special jazz events.
“Every so often, someone will come with their horn to play with the band, or a guitar, or they'll sing. And so we already have in a way a kind of jamming – very informal – and it's always so exciting!” Russo said.
In an announcement on May 21 the Ottawa Jazz Festival wrote that “A small but vocal group of Jazz Festival audience members who frequent the jam sessions were disappointed by the prospect of a jam-less festival. Alpha Soul [sic], emerging in popularity as a jazz venue offering live jazz every Friday evening, offered two essential components to allow the festival to keep the much-loved series: a venue, and sponsorship.”
Ottawa alto saxophonist Sam Cousineau was awarded the Yamaha Kando Award last week at the 2013 MusicFest Canada – one of many awards and scholarships going to young Ottawa jazz musicians and ensembles this year.
MusicFest, held this year in Toronto from May 13 to 18, is an annual national competition for more than 10,000 musicians aged 12-25, drawn from the elementary, high school, college and university levels. The Yamaha Kando is the festival's “premier” award, for an individual who has “demonstrated outstanding musicianship, past musical achievements and solo performances.”
The winner receives $4,000 in musical instruments. Cousineau said he would be choosing a tenor saxophone, which he doesn't currently have.
And that wasn't Cousineau's only win last week: he also received the JazzWorks Camp Scholarship (as he did in 2012), and an entrance scholarship to Humber College.
The quiet musician has been playing in Ottawa student bands – currently the Nepean All-City Jazz Band (NACJB) – for many years now, as well as occasionally around town in local clubs. He said the regular Monday night rehearsals with the NACJB – augmented by playing with different people, playing in front of an audience, and talking about the music with others – have helped him develop as a musician.
His talent has been recognized, by being chosen at least twice to play in the Manhattan on the Rideau video masterclasses at the National Arts Centre. Cousineau said he learned so much from the classes with Dave Liebman and with Donny McCaslin: “Those two gentlemen are such great saxophonists and musicians and they're wonderful people.”
Neil Yorke-Slader, the musical director of NACJB, said that, “Sam is the most dedicated teenage musician I have ever known. He sets very high goals for himself, then applies himself with discipline and focus to achieve those goals. He has a remarkable fluency and emotive capacity in his saxophone playing. Remember the name - Sam Cousineau.”
Cousineau is the third Ottawa musician to win the Kando award since 2006. Coincidentally, previous winners Daniel Ko and Nathan Cepelinski also play alto sax and studied at Nepean High School.
Thursday, May 23, 2012 - 8 p.m.
Cover: $10 ($15 with CD, $20 with vinyl version)
- Dean Pallen - saxophones
- Gerg Horvath - stand-up bass
- Arien Villegas - drums
- Carlos Santana - piano
After a successful official launch, Rimbombante continues its promotion of its very well-received new album, Maria has Lost Her Soul.
Dean Pallen is the saxophonist and composer for Rimbombante. He has also led the Malagasy World-Music group Raivo, and his own jazz quartet for which in 2010, he released his very well received Strathcona Park. In 2014, he will release a new album of music inspired by Madagascar called Dean Pallen Presents Madagascar.
Members of Rimbombante, have straddled the worlds of jazz and world music and other genres such as the avant-guard. Before arriving in Canada, Cuban born drummer Arien Villegas worked widely as a professional musician. He is currently the drummer in the Miguel Angel de Armas Quartet that is becoming one of Canada’s most preeminent Latin jazz outfits. Stand-up bass player Gerg Horvath has played and recorded with a number of jazz and world music groups. Since 2008, he has been a member of the electro-acoustic avant-garde ensemble Kingdom Shore. The Mexican-born Carlos Santana is a highly versatile and imaginative pianist who has played
and recorded with such World-Music acts as the Mighty Popo and Caridad Cruz. He studied jazz with Juan Jose Calatayud in Mexico and Jan Jarczyk from McGill University in Montreal.
Mambo Nuevo Latino Restaurant
77 Clarence Street,
See the OttawaJazzScene.ca review of the CD release party for Maria has Lost Her Soul:
Gaby Warren: Reflections of a Jazz Fanatic CD Launch
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage
Partway through his CD release concert Tuesday, Ottawa vocalist Gaby Warren mentioned how he went to a club in the 1950s to hear Thelonious Monk. When he arrived, he saw a large Bentley parked out front, so he knew that Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, the patroness of jazz musicians in general and Monk in particular, was there. So that was the only time he got to talk to “Nica”, he told the audience.
Warren told this story with such matter-of-factness and modesty that one had to hide one's raging envy: he heard Monk live? And talked to the legendary baroness? It was simply to give another angle on Horace Silver's song “Nica's Dream”, which appears on his new CD and which he and his quartet – saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, double bassist John Geggie, pianist Nancy Walker, and drummer Nick Fraser – performed with verve and exactitude.
Friday, May 24, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
- Paul Rushka – double-bass
- Frank Lozano – tenor & soprano saxophones
- Kenny Bibace – guitar
- Josh Rager – piano
- Mark Nelson – drums
Thursday, May 16, 2013
GigSpace Performance Studio
Split Cycle, a group split between Montreal and NYC, performed Thursday in Ottawa on GigSpace’s new stage. They played tunes from their new self-titled CD, and some brand-new tunes written right before the tour. They played intricately woven modern jazz that swung and that rocked, that softly brushed, grooved in time, and freely escaped the constraints of time.
The band played music they are passionate about, music that was intense harmonically, melodically, and especially rhythmically. The collective of musicians would take turns counting in their own tunes, while the others buried their faces in their music stands.The night started off with the leaping intervallic melody of “Samuraikatagi”, before falling into its 13/4 groove on which guitarist Aki Ishiguro soloed as bassist Nicolas Letman-Burtinovic and drummer Martin Auguste swung behind him. After returning to its melody and deceptive non-ending, saxophonist Samuel Blais took an unaccompanied alto solo that caused the band to slowly erupt, returning to the 13/4 groove and then ending with a pretty and new melodic section.
Friday, May 24, 2013 - 8 to 11 p.m.
No age restrictions.
- Miguel de Armas - piano
- Marc Decho - bass
- Arien Villegas - percussion
Miguel de Armas,the Ottawa based and Cuban born pianist has brought together a powerful and energetic style and at times ideas seem to be flying out from under his fingers almost more quickly than he can fully process them. With the help of a rhythm team, drummer Arien Villegas and bassist Marc Decho, he manages to keep his feet on the ground and generate lots of inspiring moments during their performance.
Tasty and head turning musical arrangements of the classic jazz standards, Cuban traditional music as well as from his own, are definitely heating up a bit the Ottawa music scene.
The kitchen is open until 10:30 p.m.
Burgers on Main
343 Somerset Street West, between Bank and O'Connor
2 doors west of Bank Street, In the heart of Somerset Village
Friday, May 24, 2013 – 8 p.m.
Tickets: adults $28, seniors $25, students $23
Tickets can be bought at a kiosk at Gatineau's City Hall, or online at http://www.ovation.qc.ca/gatineau
- Lysandre Champagne - trumpet, vocals
- Maude Alain-Gendreau - piano
- Frédéric Pauze - upright bass
- Marton Maderspach - snare drum
The Misses Satchmo borrows the great Louis « Satchmo » Armstrong’s nickname and breathes new life into his song book. The band gives a renewed youth to Satchmo’s repertoire. They take us on a trip in the world of Louis, the Duke and Ella, all of whom played at the great Standish Hall in Hull in the 50’s and 60’s.Mené par la pétillante Lysandre Champagne (voix et trompette), le charmant quatuor Misses Satchmo présente sa relecture actuelle et originale de l’oeuvre de Louis Armstrong, surnommé Satchmo.
- Geggie Series 2012 - 2013: with William Carn, Tara Davidson, Tim Bedner, and Jim Doxas at the NAC Fourth Stage
- Next concert in John Geggie Invitational series may be the last
- The community celebrates Ottawa Jazz Hero Roddy Ellias (video)
- Gaby Warren: a jazz fanatic steps to the other side of the footlights
- No Ottawa Jazz Festival jam sessions in 2013? Listeners object.
- Jeff Johnston Trio enraptures the audience (review)
- Kellylee Evans to appear again at NAC Presents
- 2013 Montreal Jazz Festival celebrates pianists – and the late Dave Brubeck
- Jazzfest 2013: Great jazz from across Canada
- Roddy Ellias: a humble Jazz Hero
- Jeff Johnston returns to his trio's musical roots and then moves forward with his new album
- Evandro Gracelli brings Brazilian warmth to Ottawa for three busy weeks
- Energetic music attracts a packed house at Rimbombante CD release show
- Jazzfest 2013: Local musicians you will want to hear
- Expecting the unexpected at Saturday's GigSpace concert of improvising composers
- Listeners get JazzED at 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival lineup announcement
- Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 lineup: what's on
- Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra - in the making (video)
- The Jivewires are on an upswing
- Ontario government funds jazz (and other Ottawa festivals)
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