Saturday, July 22, 2017
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2010 Jazz Festival Countdown: Alternatives to the Festival

Vocalist Renée Yoxon and saxman/clarinetist Richard Page share the Cafe Nostalgica stage, which is running jazz every Wednesday night for most of this summer. They each host a regular weekly gig at another club. photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010Sometimes – heresies of heresies! – you might actually want to go somewhere else during the Ottawa Jazz Festival.

The ground might be totally waterlogged from two thunderstorms in one day.  Or it might be 35C with a humidex of 40C and you're about to get heatstroke. Or the bands that night aren't your style. Or you just want to sit in a real chair and eat from real china plates or drink a different beer.

There are alternatives.

Most local jazz venues will be open and running jazz on their regular nights  during the festival.

Of course, you can enjoy also these Ottawa-Gatineau jazz musicians throughout the year if you can't drag yourself away from the festival. Check our upcoming shows listings and/or subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter, Jazz Scene.

New: Chelsea Jazz Festival

If you'd like to stay out of downtown Ottawa, the Chelsea Pub in Quebec will be running its own intimate jazz festival on June 25, 26 and 27. It starts with Nicole Ratté's Quintet (with a different mix of musicians and a more French-influenced repertoire than at the Ottawa festival), then Groovus Maximus (Latin jazz-funk with Mark Ferguson and some of the members of Los Gringos), and ending with Patrice Servant and his group (Servantes) playing everything from Latin to bluegrass to flamenco to classical, with a jazz tinge.

Ratté, who programs the music at the Pub, said that the Pub had considered starting this festival last year, but hadn't had time to organize it then. If it's successful, she said they would like to make it an annual event.

She emphasized it was not competition for the Ottawa Jazz Festival; she herself would be downtown for that festival almost all nights. Instead, its goal was to bring in people from the Chelsea area who wouldn't necessarily go to Confederation Park, and to produce shows that would attract people who aren't regular jazz listeners.

She said she wanted to get a lively, accessible mix of different styles of jazz in the three shows, and that the Pub owners had specifically asked her to be the vocalist. Nicole recently released her first CD.

Special club shows

Café Paradiso is bringing in two outside bands who both received enthusiastic receptions at their previous Paradiso gigs: Parc-X from Montreal on June 25, and the Jake Langley Trio on June 30.

The Avant-Garde Club is featuring the Latin jazz band Flow on June 30.

Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers will be the opening act for Ukrainia at the Babylon Nightclub on June 25.

Le Petit Chicago will have two Latin/Brazilian jazz nights: La Roda da Samba on June 26, and Salsa Meets Jazz on July 2.

Or, if you've been sitting in your chair at the Festival for far too many hours and want to get up and dance, the Ottawa Swing Dancers have added an extra Swing night at Le Petit Chicago on Tuesday, June 29.

   – Alayne McGregor