John Heward and Barre Phillips 80th Birthday Celebration
Guelph Jazz Festival
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 – 8 p.m.
Montreal jazz drummer John Heward is also renowned Canadian painter and sculptor John Heward, and he shows a similar experimental bent in both his artistic pursuits.
For the week of the Guelph Jazz Festival, the main floor walls of the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre featured several of his artworks: canvas painted and twisted into large-scale dramatic pieces. When he performed at the art centre as the first evening show of the festival – with some of his favourite musicians – there was a similar feeling of drama, uncertainty, and flair.
The concert and show were to celebrate Heward's 80th birthday – but only his 31st year as a professional musician. He played the drums as a teenager, but then concentrated on the visual arts. In 1983, at 49 years old, he bought a set of drums, and started playing improvised music. He's played in various avant-garde groups in Montreal, including Nicolas Caloia's Ratchet Orchestra, and PO (“Provocative Operations”). He leads the free jazz group Murray Street Band.
Pugs & Crows
Guelph Jazz Festival
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre
Thursday, September 4, 2014 – 5 p.m.
View photos of this performance
Pugs & Crows is a Vancouver-based instrumental group which creates “dramatic cinematic music” blending indie rock and modern jazz. Their most recent album, Fantastic Pictures, won the 2013 Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.
They played an hour-long late afternoon show at the Guelph Jazz Festival, to an enthusiastic and packed crowd. Performing with lots of energy and tight arrangements, they went through a good selection of numbers from both their albums, plus a few new pieces.
The group has an unusual lineup, with piano (Cat Toren) and violin (Meredith Bates) joining electric guitar (Cole Schmidt) as lead instruments, together with double bass (Russell Sholberg) and drums (Ben Brown). For this show, their music was accented by guest Tony Wilson on electric guitar and slide guitar, adding fluid lines and strong emotional touches.
Improvising Musicians of Ottawa-Outaouais (IMOO)
Raw Sugar Café
Sunday, September 14, 2014
IMOO opened its fourth season on Sunday by returning to its roots in the local scene. It brought together a diverse collection of Ottawa-area improvisers in unexpected combinations, in its first evening in IMOO's new home of Raw Sugar Café.
IMOO organizers Linsey Wellman (alto sax) and David Jackson (guitar) arranged for Ian Birse (electronics and electric guitar), David Broscoe (alto sax, tuning forks, and noisemakers), Laura Kavanaugh (violin), Rory Magill (xylophone and percussion), and Mark Molnar (cello) to play in duos, trios, quartets, and all together. They tried a new format: each group who played would pick the next set of musicians to be thrown together to improvise.
Wellman, Jackson, and Magill began quietly, with shimmering guitar and low tones on sax, and became more intense, with Magill joining in with light taps on xylophone near the end. The collaborations which followed constantly changed textures and sounds: rough-edged violin and cello contrasting with shakers; rattling bells and ringing tuning forks alternating with with buzzing electronically-altered electric guitar and punctuated notes on saxophone. Near the end, there was even an (atypical) string quartet.
Lee Pui Ming and Dong-Won Kim
2014 Guelph Jazz Festival
Guelph Youth Music Centre
Sunday, September 7, 2014 – 10:30 a.m.
The Guelph Jazz Festival rarely deals in the obvious or the tried-and-true, but its 2014 closing concert really confounded the audience's expectations.
Lee Pui Ming is an improvising pianist, composer, and vocalist, who combines classical, jazz, and Chinese traditions, and is active in Toronto's new music community. Dong-Won Kim is a percussionist, composer, and vocalist from Korea, trained in the movements and instruments of that country's traditional music, but with a strong improvising bent,
On-stage was a Yamaha grand piano, and Kim's instruments: the jang-go, an hourglass-shaped drum with hide-covered ends; the buk, a round leather drum; and two hanging bronze gongs.
So piano and percussion, right? Not exactly.
The gamut of music-making technology – from simple tin can shakers to advanced tangible electronic surfaces – contributed to the upbeat sound of the annual KidsAbility Youth Orchestra concert at the 2014 Guelph Jazz Festival.
The result was lots of smiles and action – for both the participants and the children and adults in the audience – at the show at Guelph City Hall.
Each year, the Guelph Jazz Festival commissions a musician to work with young musicians with disabilities to help them learn more about music and tools they can use to express themselves musically. This year, Ottawa percussionist Jesse Stewart (who recently worked with disabled adults at H'Art of Ottawa) came to a local day camp run by Playsense to work with nine youth, for an hour daily over one week in late August. Most of the young musicians he worked with were able to participate in the Youth Orchestra concert which opened the jazz festival's series of free Saturday concerts.
At the concert, Stewart mentioned that this work exploring possible future sounds tied into the festival's theme of “Sounding Futures”.
The tools Stewart taught the students began with rattles, squeakers, and other simple percussion instruments. But they also included the AUMI (Adaptive Use Musical Instrument) software and the Reactable.
An update from OttawaJazzScene.ca
On July 3, 2014, OttawaJazzScene.ca reached our 5th Anniversary! I founded the publication five years ago to celebrate and give greater public exposure to the vibrant 365-days-a-year jazz and improvised music scene in Ottawa-Gatineau and across Canada. Now, more than 10,000 articles and event listings later (a milestone which we reached in June, just before our anniversary) I feel we have made good progress towards accomplishing our initial objectives. There is strong interest in live local jazz performance, and other media have followed our lead in covering it.
We are reporting from one of our favourite festivals, the Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium, this week.
For its coming of age this week, the Guelph Jazz Festival is bringing in well-known performers from around the world – and as far out as Saturn.
The festival, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday (September 3-7), is turning 21. To celebrate, it's shaken up its 2014 lineup with performers who are returning after long absences, including pianists Randy Weston, Vijay Iyer, and D.D. Jackson. But its biggest musical focus will be on Sun Ra, the late composer and bandleader, to celebrate the centennial of his arrival on Earth.
Sun Ra famously claimed he came from Saturn, and his cosmic music and other-worldly costuming was one of a kind. His Arkestra, now led by alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, will perform “Hymn to the Universe” on Saturday evening (September 6), in a collaboration with Quebec dance company Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie.
But there's more. For those interested in Sun Ra's life and work, the festival is offering a whole series of free talks and panels exploring his legacy, including a keynote address entitled “Sun Ra on Earth” by Columbia University professor and Sun Ra biographer John Szwed, and “Black Utopia LP” by American filmmaker and visual artist Cauleen Smith, who has intensely researched Sun Ra's work and influence. Four other researchers will discuss his Afrofuturist philosophy, which “fuses Egyptian iconography with the sounds, texts, and imagery of space travel and technology”; three will examine his myth-making and spirituality; and another will look as Sun Ra as a jester.
2014 Ottawa Jazz Festival, Day 11: Christian McBride Trio, Darius Jones Quartet
National Arts Centre
Monday, June 30, 2014
It was an evening of “inside” versus “outside” at the National Arts Centre, on the last evening of the Ottawa Jazz Festival.
Playing “inside”, primarily standards with a few originals, was the trio of bassist Christian McBride, with pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. They looked extremely snazzy as they hit the stage, each wearing a well-cut suit, and McBride sporting a pair of cream-coloured horn-rimmed glasses. It was a visual cue to the music they were about to play: strongly in the tradition, and very professional. And, of course, swinging.
The NAC Studio was packed to overflowing for this concert, and not all the long line-up of listeners got in. McBride could have easily filled a much larger venue. Those who did get in got value for their money: the trio played for almost two hours. Each song was given lots of room for exploration, lasting about ten minutes each.
2014 Ottawa Jazz Festival, Day 10: Bobby McFerrin
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Vocalist Bobby McFerrin is undoubtedly sui generis: he's crossed the boundaries of jazz, pop, and most recently gospel, over and over again. But with his emphasis on improvisation, experimentation, and reinterpretation, I think most jazz fans would be happy to welcome him as one of us.
The almost-capacity crowd in Confederation Park was certainly delighted to see him: they started the evening off with a standing ovation, sang along in one song, and – most importantly – shut up when the band was playing. It was an evening of great communication, on and off-stage, and highly enjoyable music.
McFerrin began the evening scatting, popping out syllables and lightly bumping his chest to add extra percussive effect, as he did throughout the evening. He was assisted by accented playing by a tight backing band, including some soaring lines from Gil Bruce Goldstein's accordion and fierce playing by Armand Hirsch on electric guitar.
His second number brought the gospel theme of the evening to the fore. McFerrin's latest album is called spirityouall, and features traditional gospel numbers, a Bob Dylan song, and several originals by McFerrin, all with a hopeful religious theme.
2014 Ottawa Jazz Festival, Day 8: Newport Festival Now 60, Norma Winstone Trio
National Arts Centre (Studio and Fourth Stage)
Friday, June 27, 2014
I was curious exactly how this Newport Festival all-star group was going to celebrate the festival's 60th anniversary – in a concert less than two hours long.
Trying to be historically representative would require playing tiny snippets of many songs – not that much fun for the audience. Even trying to reflect all the major styles and types and movements in jazz that have been showcased on that festival's stage since 1954 would have been effectively impossible!What the septet ended up presenting was an upbeat show of many standards and a few originals – mainstream jazz played with verve, enthusiasm, and quite a dollop of skill. Arguably, that did indeed reflect Newport's spirit and the quality of what it's offered over the decades.
2014 Ottawa Jazz Festival, Day 6: Kirk MacDonald Quartet (Great Canadian Jazz), Dianne Reeves (Concerts Under the Stars)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Confederation Park echoed to the sounds of jazz for the Wednesday night of the Ottawa Jazz Festival.
Not rock, or blues, or pop – although Dianne Reeves did sing some 80s pop hits, substantially revamped into jazz standards. But in the feel, the style, and the groove, the music was pure jazz, in its most enjoyable and accessible aspect – made accessible to the widest possible range of listeners.
Each Ottawa Jazz Festival evening in the park begins with the Great Canadian jazz series. This evening's Canadian group was the Kirk MacDonald Quartet: three Toronto jazz musicians with long pedigrees (MacDonald on tenor sax, Brian Dickinson on piano, and Neil Swainson on bass), plus American drummer Dennis Mackrel, with whom MacDonald has been playing regularly for the last several years.
You could hear the ease with which they followed and underlaid each other's lines, and the respect with which they treated each other. If MacDonald's fluid tenor sax was a strong presence, so was Dickinson's incisive piano, Swainson's melodic bass lines, and Mackrel's tasteful drumming.
- Virtuosity in improvisation and composition: Colin Stetson & Hamid Drake, Darcy James Argue (review)
- Jane Bunnett and Maqueque bring Cuban passion to Ottawa
- Jane Bunnett spotlights the spirit & energy of female Cuban musicians in Maqueque
- The Patrick Smith Trio recreates history (video)
- Kellylee Evans celebrates Canada Day with 2 free concerts with the NAC Orchestra
- Branford Marsalis to open Music and Beyond; Oliver Jones also featured
- Myriad3 creates dramatic, percussive music (review)
- Kirk MacDonald explores symmetry in music
- CYJO celebrates its 5th anniversary with flair and many past faces
- Jazz Festival jams at new Albion Rooms treat listeners to fine musical moments
- High-profile Montreal and Ottawa jazz artists to perform in Aylmer this summer
- Ottawa Fringe Festival will present jazz for the first time
- Jon Ballantyne starts the Ottawa Jazz Festival with complex melodies (review)
- ZenKitchen may be closer to reopening after packed fundraiser
- Jazz Scene: Jazz Heard! OttawaJazzScene.ca celebrates 5 years, with a photo exhibit
- Vocalists, instrumentalists, Latin and more for free at the 2014 Montreal Jazz Festival
- Ottawa composers thrilled by JazzWorks Originals concert
- The Reis Demuth Wiltgen Trio swept the audience along with its vigorous music
- 2014 Geggie Invitational Concert: complex tapestries of music (review)
- Diana Krall to perform a free outdoor concert at the 2014 Montreal Jazz Festival
- What you - and we - learned from the OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll
- Some praise, some sorrow at jazz festival programming
- Great teachers make the difference for jazz camps
- Local jazz CDs inspire many viewpoints - but they're not well enough known
- Jazz fans vote for radio shows with longest and newest hosts as favourites
- Jazz fans head west for their favourite bars, cafés, and restaurants
- OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll: Concert Venues
- OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll: Big bands
- NAC Presents to feature Petr Cancura, Marianne Trudel, and Tanya Tagaq this fall
- Prince Edward County Jazz Festival to offer “all jazz, all the time!" in August
- H'Art artists and Jesse Stewart collaborate for a multi-media musical theatre show
- After 75 years of playing, Oliver Jones still masterfully shares the joy of jazz (review)
- Kirk MacDonald shows 'next level of musicianship' at NACJB on Friday
- No Rideau Centre stage at the Ottawa Jazz Festival this year
- 2014 Chamberfest features clarinetist Don Byron in its genre-bending concerts
- Jacques Emond's jazz recordings play on, at Carleton University
- John Geggie reunites with favourite Canadians for an Invitational concert tonight
- Omer Klein gave an exhilarating and intense performance for his Canadian debut
- Omer Klein's lifelong love affair with the piano ... and improvisation
- The Mash Potato Mashers parade for their final time
- Steve Berndt and Brian Browne turn tasty leftovers into gold with "All Over Again"
- The Roddy Ellias Trio never stops talking with their music (video)
- Bumpin' Binary grooves on organ and drums
- The Adam Saikaley Quintet brings Miles Davis' Filles de Kilimanjaro to vivid life
- Beeched Wailers open a new jazz jam at the Rochester Pub & Eatery
- 2React takes hip-hop back to its roots in jazz
- Jesse Stewart brings renowned improviser William Parker to Ottawa for innovative concerts and lectures
- Jesse Stewart talks about the challenges of making music outdoors at -25C (video)
- After 30 years playing jazz, Phil Dwyer is going to law school
- Phil Dwyer Trio energizes BDT with a compelling collaboration (review)
- Three standing ovations for Jérôme Beaulieu Trio's first show outside Québec
- Café Nostalgica is bringing back jazz nights
- Matt Dusk and Molly Johnson to celebrate Christmas with the NAC Orchestra
- A Jazzy March in Ottawa-Gatineau
- 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
- Jamie Baum and Jane Bunnett: two voices in close conversation (review)
- CYJO brings a century of music to life in first 2013-14 concert
- Ottawa Jazz Festival shows a 2013 surplus, mainly from non-jazz acts and beer
- Capital Vox remembers Dave Brubeck through both his words and music
- Jamie Baum and Jane Bunnett bring new, Indian-influenced music to life
- Bryn Roberts returns to making his own, lyrical music
- Diverse concerts sell out to Ottawa audiences
- 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
- Garry Elliott and Steve Boudreau share the improvising spirit in their new CD
- Guelph 2013: Hamid Drake & Jesse Stewart share a creative imagination (review)
- Guelph Jazzfest's community-built concert reaches new heights
- Which Canadian jazz musicians did “NAC Presents” miss? (commentary)
- More Saturday night jazz at AlphaSoul Café
- Guelph 2013: Espousing music of the moment (review)
- NAC Presents instrumental jazz in its 2013-14 program
- Nick Fraser's CD is full of resonances
- Guelph 2013: Matt Brubeck pushes the cello's boundaries in a solo concert (review)
- Guelph 2013: The Indigo Trio soars and leaves the audience exalted (review)
- Steve Boudreau's back, with a new solo CD
- Adam Daudrich celebrates the tradition of the jazz piano trio with his own new music
- William Parker and Ken Aldcroft: subtle textures which filled the room (review)
- L'OFF Festival in Montreal and Le Festival de Jazz de Quebec announce lineups for October
- Guelph 2013: World Percussion Summit breaks the borders of rhythm (review)
- Jesse Stewart's Gnomon Variations a timely arrival for 20th Guelph Jazzfest
- Cool and groovin' - with gelato
- The Montreal Jazz Festival pays an upbeat tribute to Dave Brubeck (review)
- Orchestre national de jazz Montréal scores with Joni Mitchell tribute (review)
- Jayme Stone melds chamber music, jazz, and bit of bluegrass into an intricate whole (review)
- The Lemon Bucket Orkestra: a dancing good time (review)
- Phil Dwyer and Don Thompson celebrate the long-lasting beauty of standards (review)
- Second annual IMOOfest in November
- Paul Tynan sees different big band styles on each side of the border
- An ensemble who enjoyed celebrating Horace Silver's music (review)
- The Element Choir brings an element of surprise and beauty (review)
- Henrique Cazes and Sambacana fill St. Brigid's with gentle Brazilian rhythms (review)
- Jayme Stone expands the horizons of the banjo, along with his favourite musicians
- Scott Thomson explains how he fills large spaces with resonant sound
- The Jesse Stewart Trio sparks everyone's imagination (review)
- Montréal Guitare Trio starts Chamberfringe on a strong note (review)
- Renée Yoxon and her Gentlemen Friends swing the park (review)
- Three young musicians bring new music and their new experiences back to Ottawa
- Joel Miller and Honeycomb at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
- Caridad Cruz and Miguel de Armas ignite their audience
- Trifolia: adventurous jazz at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
- Kellylee Evans charms Montreal audience with hip-hop and jazz (review)
- Prairie jazz wins the Grand Prix de Jazz (review)
- Guelph Jazz Festival celebrates 20th Anniversary with World Artist Summit Sep 3-8
- Ten Years of the Triplets of Belleville, in Ottawa et Montreal (review)
- Finding the patterns in Tim Berne's free jazz (review)
- A romantic evening: The Thomas Enhco Trio and the Steve Kuhn Trio at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
- Christine Jensen, Ingrid Jensen, Gary Versace at the Montreal Jazz Festival (review)
- 2013 Montreal Jazz Festival celebrates pianists – and the late Dave Brubeck
- Almonte's JazzN announces new house concerts, reflects on successful first year
- AlphaSoul jazzfest jams get jammed
- Alan Jones embraces risk with his all-Canadian, all-star sextet
- The Stretch Orchestra makes jazz bend
- Two exceptional percussionists play the Ottawa Jazz Festival this week (video)
- David Byrne talks about music and the music biz, in all its eclectic glory (book review)
- Roberto López combines Colombian rhythms and jazz into danceable music
- Festival pass awarded - and two more to be won!
- Listeners follow Ottawa Jazz Festival jams westward to AlphaSoul Cafe
- Jazzfest 2013: Great jazz from across Canada
- Jazzfest 2013: CKCU-FM previews the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival
- Three generations of music at Italian Week Festival
- Two jazz improvisers put on their cowboy boots
- Be Bop Duo does pho
- Jazz at The Cube
- Jazzfest 2013: Hear our Ottawa Jazz Festival picks on CKCU FM
- 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival jams move 3.5 km west to Hintonburg
- Jazzfest 2013: Local musicians you will want to hear
- Stellar year for young Ottawa musicians at 2013 MusicFest Canada
- Gaby Warren's years as a jazz fan recognized at CD launch (review)
- Split Cycle plays intricately-woven modern jazz (review)
- 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
- 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
- Expecting the unexpected at Saturday's GigSpace concert of improvising composers
- Listeners get JazzED at 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival lineup announcement
- Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra - in the making (video)
- The Jivewires are on an upswing
- Ontario government funds jazz (and other Ottawa festivals)
- Three Ottawa vocalists to recreate classic Ella and Billie Newport concerts
- 2013 Chamberfest builds on past jazz successes, adds Phil Dwyer & Don Thompson
- Hamid Drake and Jesse Stewart fill GigSpace with complex sounds (review)
- Guitar Now! Festival to present workshops, concerts and jams in May
- Monday night jazz is returning to Le Petit Chicago
- ZenKitchen to offer jazz every second Sunday
- Hamid Drake and Jesse Stewart: percussion as you've never heard it before this Friday
- Laila Biali takes risks with choosing and playing music
- Molly Johnson ups the energy and vibe at a sold-out NAC show
- Brookstreet makes jazz the option seven nights a week
- Roddy Ellias Ensemble plays an intimate concert of intricate music
- Diana Krall invokes the spirit of the Glad Rag Dolls (review)
- Ottawa Jazz Festival announces Main Stage lineup for 2013: music of every style
- 2012-13 Geggie Series: In rich harmony (review)
- Melody into places far afield: Roddy Ellias with Gene Bertoncini (review)
- Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra nominated for 2013 Juno Award
- "Morphology of a Lover": Intricate instrumental interactions (review)
- Chucho Valdés to play at 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival
- Nick Maclean creates a new sound with Snaggle
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