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.
The 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.
As part of its support for young artists, the festival emphasized that it was showcasing several of the young Canadian musicians who had previously chosen as Rising Young Stars, including Marika Galea, Ian Wright, and Eli Bennett. Bennett brought his quartet to this year's Ottawa Jazz Festival in the Great Canadian Jazz series.
The festival is located primarily in Picton, Ontario. About a three-hour drive from Ottawa, Picton is south-west of Kingston, and near the Sandbanks Provincial Park. For more information and tickets, go to www.pecjazz.org .
– Alayne McGregor
Read OttawaJazzScene.ca's previous story about the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival: