The stress of Christmas (and Boxing Day) is over; the sparkle of New Year's is approaching. You may even have a few days off early this week, so you can enjoy late-night music you might not otherwise hear.
Why not brighten up the dark and cold with jazz? Here's seven Ottawa-Gatineau jazz shows to try out in the next week:
Monday, December 29: School holidays mean rising local jazz stars are home from university – and here to perform! Saxophonist Chris Maskell (McGill University), and drummer Dillon Colter and pianist Deniz Lim-Sersan (Humber College) have teamed up with two Ottawa regulars, guitarist Alex Moxon and bassist Alex Bilodeau to take over the regular Monday jazz night at Le Petit Chicago this week. They'll perform their original music and some standards starting at 10 p.m., and will open up for jamming later.
Tuesday, December 30: Since trumpeter Nick Dyson formed The Beeched Wailers last spring, their regular Tuesday night shows at the Rochester Pub have attracted a strong selection of local jazz musicians. The Wailers will show off their own impressive chops starting at 9:30 p.m. with an hour-long set of originals and some less-common standards, and then open the stage for jamming.
Wednesday, December 31 (New Year's Eve): You can celebrate New Year's Eve with quiet, intimate jazz, bright Latin beats, or jiving to a big band: your choice. On the more intimate side, vocalist Diane White, who performs as much in Japan and the Middle East as here, is back in town for one of her rare appearances, teaming up with guitarist Tim Bedner at Santé. Invigorating piano trio jazz from the Ian Clyne Trio combines with high-end steaks at Sterling in Gatineau. The Miguel de Armas Latin Jazz Quartet brings its propulsive Afro-Cuban rhythms to Brookstreet in Kanata. And at the National Arts Centre, there's a classic NYE: dinner, a midnight toast, and two big bands – Big Band Ottawa and Tuxedo Junction will feature three vocalists to allow you to dance the night away.
Thursday, January 1: The HML Trio will start the new year off with their consistently-popular jazz jam at Brookstreet, inviting musicians and listeners to enjoy standards and even a few originals.
Friday, January 2: The Sun Crescent Barbecue Stompers, who combine gospel, blues and lots of New Orleans soul into an irresistibly jazzy combination, have been playing every Sunday night in December at Irene's. They're back tonight for one last hurrah, and should be fully warmed up!
Saturday, January 3: Vocalist Floyd Hutchinson, who only started pursuing his love for singing in his mid-forties, brings his velvety jazz stylings to Zolas. Hutchinson recently presented a tribute concert to underrated jazz crooner Johnny Hartman, and will likely present some of those songs, along with other jazz standards.
Sunday, January 4: On the first Sunday of each month, All Saints' Anglican/First United Church in Westboro presents a Jazz Vespers service, with jazz music by different locals enhancing the late afternoon service. This month's group is Mike Mullin on saxophone, Sylvie Duchesneau on bass clarinet, Mike McNeil on drums, and Tom McMahon on baliset; they'll perform music related to Christmas and Epiphany.
If you prefer the secular, the Glebop Jazz Trio will continue its long-running vocal jazz series at the Arrow and Loon Pub in the early evening, this month with vocalist Christine Fagan. Expect mellow, accessible jazz including jazz standards and original compositions.
Actually, we threw in a few more shows ... but that only shows the richness and diversity of Ottawa's jazz scene! Subscribe to OttawaJazzScene.ca's weekly jazz newsletter so you don't miss one of the more than 2000 jazz events we expect to list in 2015. You'll also be eligible to win free concert tickets that we frequently award so listeners can check out something new.