Saturday, February 23, 2013
Southam Hall, National Arts Centre
Partway through Diana Krall's Saturday concert an old image of Krall's Great-Aunt Jean was projected on the extra-large video screen behind the musicians. Her great-aunt was in her (fairly plain) skivvies and standing in front of a piano.
Which of course brings up the substantially more sexy picture of Krall on the front of her latest album, Glad Rag Doll, which is supposed to evoke the same era. In fact, the photo of Great-Aunt Jean was not salacious at all, and she looked extremely cute and primarily interested in the piano.
The same could be said for the first night of Krall's two-night stint at the National Arts Centre. The Krall we saw there was not a sexy siren, but rather a working musician who joked with her bassist, had fun talking to and teasing the audience, and played piano and sang with clear ebullience.
The music was primarily the 1920s and 30s songs from Glad Rag Doll, music which Krall has said she learned from old family 78s. But she also resurrected several Nat King Cole tracks, including “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” from her 1996 album, All for You, and included more modern pieces by Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. The overall sound had a 1920s feel – or at least Krall's reimagination of that feel – generally syncopated, bright instrumentals, but showcasing lyrics often on the melancholy side.
Krall was accompanied by bassist Dennis Crouch (who also appears on Glad Rag Doll), Aram Bajakian on electric guitar, violinist Stuart Duncan (who doubled on guitar and ukulele), Karriem Riggins on drums, and Patrick Warren on keyboards and hand organ.
Following the lead of the Montreal, Toronto, and Rochester jazz festivals, the Ottawa Jazz Festival revealed its 2013 Main Stage line-up on February 22.
Jazz artists not previously disclosed include
- the David Murray Big Band with Macy Gray,
- David Sanborn and Bob James with drummer Steve Gadd, and
- Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party.
- Montreal teenage jazz singer Nikki Yanofsky
The festival will close with a special tribute to its long-time programming manager, Jacques Émond, who died in January. The celebration of Emond's contribution to jazz in Ottawa will include concerts from two groups led by prominent Ottawa musicians: the Rob Frayne Dream Band and Los Gringos. It will also feature one of Emond's all-time favourite ensembles: the Vic Vogel Big Band from Montreal.
The Main Stage line-up also includes
- gospel/soul singer Aretha Franklin,
- country star Willie Nelson (who has had a number of high-profile duets with jazz musicians including Wynton Marsalis),
- Zydeco/blues/funk singer Dr. John and the Nite Trippers,
- British indie soul-rock group The Heavy, and
- rock stars David Byrne and St. Vincent.
Previously announced were jazz artists Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra, The Bad Plus, and the Chucho Valdés Quintet.
John Geggie / Jean-Nicolas Trottier / Frank Lozano / Thom Gossage
Geggie Concert Series 12/13, #1
Saturday, February 16, 2013
National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage
One of the joys of John Geggie's long-running Invitational series is how he introduces local audiences to fine musicians they may not have heard before.
For this show, it was Montreal trombonist Jean-Nicolas Trottier, who, alone and in conjunction with saxophonist Frank Lozano, produced rich and intricate sounds which easily melded with Geggie's firm bass and Thom Gossage's playful drumming.
The concert, the first in this year's somewhat abbreviated series, attracted a full house. Geggie noted it was “great to see so many familiar faces”, with many fans from previous years in attendance.
The musicians each contributed originals to the set list for two 45-minute sets. The songs ranged from relatively melodic to fairly free, but not on the extreme edge in either direction.
The first set opened with “Acid Bunny” by Trottier: a flowing piece with Lozano on soprano sax and Trottier on trombone first playing a strong groove in unison. Trottier then produced a rich yet clear and controlled solo, followed by Lozano's soprano curlicuing upwards, as the bass and drums maintained a steady blues-tinged beat with occasional ornamentation.
Roddy Ellias and Gene Bertoncini
Roddy Ellias 2012-13 Concert Series, #5
Saturday, January 19, 2013
GigSpace Performance Studio
The next show in Roddy's concert series is this Saturday, February 23: the Roddy Ellias Ensemble, with pipa, flutes, bass, and guitar.
One of the joys of hearing two master guitarists play together is their unpredictability. They have the whole ocean of jazz and jazz standards to splash around in, and they needn't just grab from the shallows, or keep to the pre-planned course.
If they want to ad-lib: well, the audience is there to hear them, not any one particular song.
Guitarists Roddy Ellias (Ottawa) and Gene Bertoncini (NYC) played two back-to-back concerts mid-January in the intimate confines of GigSpace. The 7 p.m. show was not only sold out but oversold; we heard the last few minutes, which were very quiet and intense. OttawaJazzScene.ca attended the 9 p.m. show, which was less packed and a bit more relaxed.
Ellias and Bertoncini have played together at least once before, in the first “Roddy and Friends” invitational series at Café Paradiso in 2009. They were at ease with each other, having fun playing, trading stories, and sharing the joy of the music.
Updated March 25, 2013
The Souljazz Orchestra's 2012 album, Solidarity, has been nominated for a 2013 Juno Award in the World Music Album of the Year Category.
This is their second Juno nomination: they were also nominated in 2011 for Instrumental Album of the Year for Rising Sun.
In late March, Souljazz also was named "World Group of the Year" at the 2013 Canadian Independent Music Awards.
The Juno nominations were announced February 19. The awards will be handed out in Regina in April. You can see the other nominations at JunoAwards.ca/nominees-winners/. No other jazz and related nominees came from Ottawa-Gatineau, but there's a good selection from Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
Juno-nominated artists who have played recently or will play in Ottawa-Gatineau include Elizabeth Shepherd, Diana Krall, Carol Welsman, François Houle, Joel Miller, Rafael Zalvidar, Cory Weeds, Pugs & Crows, and Alex Cuba.
On Sunday, February 10, Ottawa composer Ryan Purchase presented the first public performance of his nine-movement suite titled "Morphology of a Lover".
Performing with him were many of the musicians who contributed to the improvised composition and recording of the suite, soon to be released on CD.
The four core musicians: Purchase on trombone, Joel Kerr on bass, Mike Essoudry on drums, and Yoni Kaston on accordion and clarinet were joined for individual songs by Craig Pedersen on trumpet, Mark Molnar and Raphael Weinroth-Browne on cello, and Linsey Wellman on alto sax.
Purchase stated up-front that the music played that night could be very different from the CD because much of it would be improvised, even though it shared the same basic concepts.
It was an evening of intricate interactions among the instruments. The sound moved from quite sparse and quiet for the first three movements, to much denser and louder near the end. The fourth movement, "Her Neck", which also featured Pedersen, had all five instruments vibrating, each in a different manner: buzzing trumpet, roughly-bowed bass, clattering drums, resonant accordion, and fast hard riffs on trombone -- and ended with a drum roll.
Chucho Valdés will appear at the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival on Tuesday, June 25, according to his artist management. The Cuban piano master last appeared at the festival and in Ottawa in 2009.
Valdés will also play at the Montreal Jazz Festival (Théâtre Maisonneuve) on June 28 and in Quebec City on June 27, according to his website.
In his more than 40-year career, Valdés has popularized Cuban jazz around the world, founded Irakere, one of the great Cuban jazz ensembles, and played and recorded with countless jazz masters, including Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea. His powerful piano playing dominates any stage.
The festival had previously announced that Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, and The Bad Plus will appear at the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival.
Ottawa audiences have only been able to hear local jazz pianist Nick Maclean during the holidays for the last four years, as he's been completing his studies in the renowned jazz program at Humber College in Toronto.
He's back for Study Week this week, and this time he's bringing five other Humber students, in a new jazz fusion band they've formed called Snaggle. They'll be performing their original compositions at the Avant-Garde Bar on Thursday, and then in Montreal and Toronto on the weekend.
This won't be the quiet, somewhat introspective music we've heard from Maclean before, whether in Notes in Triplicate or in duets with local vocalists or bassists.
“It's going to be very far departed from any of the stuff that you would have seen me in Ottawa before,” he says.
And it will be louder. It will be “a solid rhythm-section groove, with horns floating on top of it with different melodies and such. We really like to groove this music and have a lot of fun with it. There's an interaction between the players, and solo sections and we even have a couple sections where everyone is collectively building up to a great big chaotic climax.”
Maclean said Snaggle is a fusion group, but not just 70s jazz-rock fusion. “Pretty much nothing's off the table. We've got a tune heavily drawing off some klezmer influences. We've got one that's drawing on classical, heavy metal, and polka all in the same tune. It's a fun one. But most of the stuff is jazz-rock-funk-ish.”
Its main inspiration: a Brooklyn-based jazz group called Snarky Puppy, which “plays, in a very weird and twisted way, dance music, but it's very artistic and really fun.” Snaggle has a similar instrumental lineup to the core members of Snarky Puppy, and like Snaggle, the original members of Snarky Puppy all met at university. (Snarky Puppy has played Ottawa twice: in 2011 at Barrymore's, and at the 2012 Ottawa Jazz Festival.)
Other Snaggle influences – at least in terms of Maclean's compositions – include the Brecker Brothers, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the Brian Blade Fellowship.
The band was founded last September by Maclean and bassist Doug Moore, who have also written almost all its material. All the members are currently in their final year of study at Humber.
Expanded on February 14, 2013
Ottawa jazz vocalist Renée Yoxon is one of three finalists for the Council for the Arts in Ottawa's (CAO) RBC Emerging Artist award. The finalists (chosen by a selection panel from a pool of nominations) were announced February 12 at the council's Sweetheart Cocktail for the Arts.
An expanded selection panel will select the winner in late March/early April, and the name will be announced in mid-April at the CAO's annual awards luncheon.
The previous three winners of the award have been a theatre director and two visual artists. Yoxon is the first jazz musician to be a finalist.
- Elizabeth Shepherd plays bittersweet music for a full house (review)
- John Scofield at la Maison de la Culture (review)
- Elizabeth Shepherd marries a pop sensibility to a jazz aesthetic
- “I wouldn’t be playing what I play if it wasn’t for Miles”: an interview with John Scofield
- Florquestra Brasil launches their first album, Flortografia, with all-around enthusiasm
- Nick Fraser's new CD is full of resonances
- Pressed jazz jam creates a happy vibe for the start of its second season
- Friends, colleagues pay tribute to Jacques Emond on special "Swing is in the Air"
- Cory Weeds Quartet with Steve Davis: remembering music and musicians past
- How do you run a successful jazz club? We ask The Cellar's Cory Weeds
- Cory Weeds swings across the country and into Ottawa
- Remembering Jacques Emond's life-long love of jazz
- Local jazz fans pack the house for last Monday jazz night at Le Petit Chicago
- What's inside Chocolate Hot Pockets ?
- Our favourite shows (Ottawa-Gatineau jazz in 2012)
- Monday jazz at Le Petit Chicago canceled suddenly
- Bill Coon and Tim Bedner attract record crowd to ZenKitchen's jazz brunch
- Oswald, Thomson, Stewart play engaging improvisations at final 2012 IMOO concert
- Holly Cole Christmas at the NAC (review)
- 2013 Geggie series is shorter and starts later, but has the same spirit
Page 5 of 25