Wednesday, September 02, 2015
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The Beeched Wailers jams return, to a new location: the Wellington Eatery

Updated August 29, 2015
The Beeched Wailers and their popular Tuesday night jazz jams will resume on September 8 – and they're excited about their new location in Hintonburg.

Tyler Harris enjoys a solo by Beeched Wailers leader Nicholas Dyson ©Brett Delmage, 2014

The band, whose previous location closed with almost no notice after a successful 16-month run, will now be playing at the Wellington Eatery (1008 Wellington Street West [map]). The restaurant is located across the street from the former AlphaSoul Café, which hosted the 2013 Ottawa Jazz festival jams. It's just west of where Wellington Street West and Somerset Street meet, and is walking distance from the Bayview O-Train stop, as well as being on a major transit route, and easily accessible by bike.

As before, music will start at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays with an hour-long set by the Beeched Wailers, followed by an all-ages open jam, with both food and drinks available.

Wailers leader and trumpeter Nick Dyson sounded upbeat – about both the new location and the group's upcoming album – when he talked to this week.

“We're feeling pretty positive about the Wellington Eatery. The owner, George, is very cut and dried, cut to the chase kind of guy. Shoots from the hip and means what he says. I think the Wellington Eatery's going to love having us there and I think we're going to love being there.”

It's a bigger location than before, he said, with better sightlines and at least two possible places for the stage.

The band had been playing at the Rochester Pub in western Centretown since March, 2014, to consistent crowds, drawing both local professional musicians and students. “All things considered, the Tuesdays were, quite a lot of the time, the busiest weeknight at the Rochester, even if we had a slow night,” Dyson said.

Read more: The Beeched Wailers jams return, to a new location: the Wellington Eatery


NAC Presents mixes jazz with folk and pop in its 2015-16 season

Guitarist Roddy Ellias will join multi-instrumentalist Petr Cancura, with John Geggie, Greg Ritchie, and a featured folk musician in three 'Crossroads' concerts at the National Arts Centre this season ©Brett Delmage, 2015

Would you like some folk with your jazz? Or some pop? Or some cabaret? That's primarily what the National Arts Centre will be offering to jazz fans in the fifth season of NAC Presents.

While there will be some straight jazz concerts – in particular, iconic pianist Oliver Jones – almost all the series' jazz-related shows feature artists who straddle genre boundaries, including Laila Biali, Michael Kaeshammer, Jayme Stone, and Patricia O’Callaghan.

Most notably, Ottawa jazz multi-instrumentalist Petr Cancura will curate a three-show mini-series featuring a solid jazz quartet playing with three different high profile, local folk artists – Ian Tamblyn, Lynn Miles, and Jeremy Fisher.

NAC Presents has always been predominantly an indie-pop/singer-songwriter series, but each season has included a small number of mainstream jazz artists. This year, those are:


Oscar Peterson's 90th birthday is remembered in music and lemonade at the National Arts Centre (video)

Many attentive and enthusiastic listeners braved the heat and humidity to celebrate what would have been Oscar Peterson's 90th birthday at the special NAC performance ©2015 Brett DelmageOn Saturday, August 15 – 90 years to the day after the late celebrated jazz pianist Oscar Peterson was born in Montreal – the National Arts Centre celebrated his birthday. The show was on the sidewalk outside the NAC, with the popular statue of Peterson by sculptor Ruth Abernethy looking on. Peterson's widow, Kelly, also spoke at the show.

Hundreds of jazz fans showed up to remember Peterson. They heard local pianist Clayton Connell, together with Kelly Craig on trumpet, Ben Heard on bass, and Michel Delage on drums, perform Peterson's "Hymn to Freedom" along with several standards he made famous.

Hardly anyone moved or talked during the 35-minute show, despite the broiling August sun. But when NAC communications director Rosemary Thompson announced at the end of the show that the NAC had lemonade available inside, it vanished very fast (as did the birthday cupcakes)! interviewed Connell and Thompson about the show and their love of his music. You can see them and excerpts from the show in our video.

    – Alayne McGregor

Also read our story about the show:

Watch the video


Oscar Peterson's 90th birthday to be celebrated Saturday at the NAC

Oscar Peterson will watch over a musical celebration of his 90th birthday on Saturday.

The National Arts Centre (NAC) will commemorate the late Canadian jazz pianist with a free outdoor concert – and right beside the band, keeping an eye on the show, will be the statue of Peterson and his piano at the south-west corner of the NAC building. The sculpture, which is normally accompanied by recordings of Peterson on piano, has become a popular attraction for jazz lovers and tourists in general.

Clayton Connell was excited to be chosen to play piano at the 90th birthday celebration for Canadian jazz icon Oscar Peterson. ©Brett Delmage, 2013The free half-hour concert, at the corner of Elgin and Albert Streets, will start at 1 p.m. on August 15, 90 years to the day after Peterson was born. (in case of bad weather, the concert will be moved to the nearby NAC Fourth Stage.)

The quartet of young Ottawa pianist Clayton Connell will perform music composed by Peterson and jazz standards which have become associated with him. Connell said he will be accompanied by drummer Michel Delage and bassist Ben Heard – and “because Oscar Peterson and [trumpeter] Clark Terry did many records together, we're going to add Kelly Craig to do some of the Clark Terry parts.”

The show will feature Peterson's signature piece, “Hymn to Freedom”, which became an anthem for the civil rights movement in the 1960s, as well as “Brotherhood of Man” from the Oscar Peterson Trio + One album with Terry. Peterson's quieter side will be represented by his tender ballad, “When Summer Comes”, and there are likely to be several numbers from Peterson's We Get Requests album.

Read more: Oscar Peterson's 90th birthday to be celebrated Saturday at the NAC


Renamed Carleton U Jazz Camp Award recognizes founder Mike Tremblay

The Carleton Jazz Camp Award has been renamed in honour of the camp's founder, Ottawa saxophonist and educator Mike Tremblay. The $1000 scholarship is awarded by Carleton University, and goes to an outstanding student attending the camp who will be studying at Carleton in the next year.

Supervisor of Performance Studies Dr. James Wright (r) announces that the Carleton University Jazz Camp award has been renamed after camp founder Mike Tremblay (l) © 2015 Brett DelmageAt the 2015 camp's closing concert Saturday evening, Carleton music professor and Supervisor of Performance Studies Dr. James Wright announced that the university wished to honour Tremblay's success over the last six years in setting up and directing the camp, by retroactively naming the award after him.

The honour to Tremblay was long-overdue, Wright said. The five-day-long camp each August has grown and thrived because of the “ridiculously many” hours Tremblay has put into it, and his skills not only as a musician, but also as a “great organizer and team-builder”.

“It's not about him – it's all about the students, all the time.”

This year, the award was given to guitarist Jacob Clarke, who switched to electric and acoustic bass while at the camp this year.

Tremblay said that when the camp faculty reflected on the students at this year's camp, Clarke was at the top of everyone's list. “He's super-keen.”

Read more: Renamed Carleton U Jazz Camp Award recognizes founder Mike Tremblay


Ottawa jazz family commemorates local art centre's 25th with West Coast cool

The Denison family – matriarch Kay on piano and organ, her son Tom on bass and drums, and the younger generation of Patrick on saxophone, Emily on trumpet and violin, and Lucas on drums – have been a frequent presence in Ottawa's jazz scene for years now.

Emily Denison was one of five Denisons that played jazz to help celebrate the Nepean Creative Arts Centre's 25th Anniversary ©2015 Brett DelmageAnd with Emily and Lucas having taken some of their first jazz lessons at the Nepean Creative Arts Centre (through the centre's partner, the Bells Corners Academy of Music), and Patrick and Tom having taught and adjudicated there, it seemed natural that all four would perform a concert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the centre.

The “Denison 4+1” concert was organized by pianist Yves Laroche, director of the Bells Corners Academy. Laroche was the “+1” in the August 2 show.

The musical theme was “West Coast Jazz”. The first piece, “Out of Somewhere”, by Jimmy Giuffre, exemplified the cool vibe of that style. It was followed by more upbeat examples: “Whisper Not” by Benny Golson, whose forward momentum was outlined by a bright, edged trumpet solo from Emily; and “Bernie's Tune”, made popular by Gerry Mulligan, which featured a hard, echoing drum solo from Lucas.

On “Lines for Lions” by Bob Curnow and “Moon and Sand” by Alec Wilder, Patrick doubled on flute, creating a quiet, reflective sound and shimmering duets with Emily's trumpet.

Read more: Ottawa jazz family commemorates local art centre's 25th with West Coast cool


Prince Edward County Jazz Festival looks back and forward

This year, the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival will look back, with tributes to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue album and to vocalist Billie Holiday, and forward, with shows including three promising young Canadian jazz musicians.

Saxophonist Chet Doxas will join his drummer brother Jim in performing with iconic pianist Oliver Jones at the 2015 Prince Edward County Jazz Festival ©Brett Delmage, 2012The festival, which runs from August 11 to 16, will also include many well-known Canadian jazz musicians not often enough heard in Ottawa: from Vancouver, bassist Jodi Proznick; from Toronto, clarinetist Bob DeAngelis, trumpeter John MacLeod, pianist Robi Botos, saxophonist Perry White, bassist Neil Swainson, and pianist Dave Restivo; and from Montreal, alto saxophonist Rémi Bolduc, pianist Oliver Jones, tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas, and drummer Jim Doxas.

The all-jazz line-up starts next Tuesday, August 11, with an informal talk and film presentation by festival Creative Director Brian Barlow about the making of Kind of Blue. It's followed on Wednesday by a jazz dinner with the Bob DeAngelis Quartet playing the music of New Orleans.

On Thursday, August 13, trumpeter Steve McDade (who played in Manteca, and with Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass), performs a tribute to the timeless music in Kind of Blue, together with Bolduc, Proznick, Restivo, and two up-and-coming musicians: tenor saxophonist Eli Bennett and drummer Ian Wright.

On Friday, Proznick gives an afternoon talk on "Where are the women in jazz?", followed by an evening concert by veteran flugelhornist Guido Basso together with vocalist Shakura S'Aida, supported by Botos, Swainson, White, and Barlow on drums.

On Saturday, Proznick and White start the morning with a duo concert, followed in the afternoon by young bassist Marika Galea's tribute to iconic vocalist Billie Holiday. In the evening, Montreal piano legend Oliver Jones performs – with his regular drummer, Jim Doxas, and with a saxophonist he doesn't usually play with, Jim's brother Chet Doxas.

Sunday begins with a jazz mass, with Barlow leading a quartet including Proznick, Botos, and Chet Doxas. The day concludes with Barlow's big band, featuring Guido Basso and DeAngelis as soloists, playing the music of Rob McConnell, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman.

The daily schedules also include many other smaller concerts, and an after-hours jam session with the Robi Botos Trio.

Read more: Prince Edward County Jazz Festival looks back and forward


Cool down with jazz in August in Ottawa-Gatineau

If the heat and the never-ending election ads have got you down, there's plenty of cool jazz to cheer you up and clear your ears in Ottawa in August.

Marc Morin of the Montreal Guitar Trio. The trio is back August 6 for a joint concert with the California Guitar Trio at Chamberfest. ©Brett Delmage, 2013This week you can hear Chamberfest's jazz crossover concerts, and the evening faculty concerts at the Carleton University Jazz Camp. Next week, there's the duo of Toronto saxophonist Kirk MacDonald and legendary American pianist Harold Mabern, a pairing which won MacDonald a Juno this year.

But there's more: a musical tribute to Sarah Vaughn (and CD launch) by Montreal singer Kimberley Beyea; and a theatrical tribute to the Rat Pack in two different venues. Young up-and-coming musicians continue to present their music before heading back to university next month, and local musicians can be heard in venues simple and fancy on both sides of the river.

On Thursday, August 6, the Montreal Guitar Trio, who created quite a stir at Chamberfest a few years ago with their jazz/flamenco/world crossover music, return for a joint show with the California Guitar Trio (which, despite its name, contains one member from Utah, one from Belgium, and one from Japan). They'll be playing “original compositions and fresh arrangements of progressive rock, world, jazz, and classical music”.

Each year, the Carleton University Jazz Camp holds evening concerts for students and the public, featuring members of its faculty – some of whom are rarely heard in Ottawa. This year, the visitors include several renowned Toronto jazz musicians: trumpeter Kevin Turcotte, drummer Brian Barlow, and alto saxophonist Luis Deniz. They'll join well-known Ottawa musicians like Brian Browne, Roddy Ellias, Mark Ferguson, Mike Tremblay, and Elise Letourneau.

The concerts run from Tuesday, August 4 to Friday, August 7, and include everything from a tribute to Kenny Wheeler to a swinging big band. Read about these shows.

On Wednesday, August 5, a dynamic Montreal trio led by clarinetist and saxophonist Ted Crosby will perform the intricate compositions of pianist Thelonious Monk, clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre, and drummer Paul Motian – plus jazz standards – at Brookstreet Hotel's Options Jazz Lounge in Kanata. Crosby has released three CDs with two other different groups in Montreal.

Read more: Cool down with jazz in August in Ottawa-Gatineau


Carleton University concerts showcase Toronto musicians rarely seen in Ottawa

Jazz new to Ottawa – plus some long-time favourites – will be featured in a series of evening concerts starting tonight at Carleton University.

The Carleton University Jazz Camp has invited several musicians almost never heard in Ottawa to teach here this week. They'll be showcased in its evening concerts Tuesday to Friday, playing everything from atmospheric modern jazz, to a cappella vocals, to fast-paced mainstream jazz, to a full big band.

Brian Browne will perform solo Tuesday. ©Brett Delmage, 2010Kevin Turcotte will join in the tribute to fellow trumpeter Kenny Wheeler on Wednesday and Friday's big band. ©Brett Delmage, 2015

Tonight (Tuesday) is an all-local night. Long-time Ottawa favourite Brian Browne will perform a solo piano concert, followed by a new vocal group, the Juliet Singers.

Concert organizer Mark Ferguson said he loved hearing Browne play solo piano, “because you just never know what's going to come next, and you know that he's going through the same process. He doesn't have a set list in front of him. He doesn't use set lists.”

“He just sits down and starts playing. And he plays these amazing tunes that have nothing to do with each other, but somehow he makes it all fit. So I can't tell you anything about what he's going to play and neither can he. But what I can tell you is that it's going to be great.”

Read more: Carleton University concerts showcase Toronto musicians rarely seen in Ottawa


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