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More heartfelt jazz: our 2nd week of jazz highlights in November

There's more heartfelt jazz to hear in Ottawa-Gatineau in the second week of November.

When clarinetist David Renaud released his duo album with Brian Browne in February, you only had one opportunity to hear them play the music live. But you have two more opportunities this month!

On Wednesday, November 9, they'll perform selections from First Love in a noon-hour concert at Southminster United Church. Browne will play the church's recently-refurbished nine-foot Heintzman grand piano, and the excellent acoustics will provide a fine background for the duo's romantic melodies and gospel numbers. If you can't make that show, Renaud and Browne will also perform at Brookstreet's Options Jazz Lounge in Kanata on the evening of Wednesday, November 30. Renaud is working on a second duo album with Browne, with material they recorded but didn't have room for on the first album, and may also include songs from that upcoming CD at both shows.

Also on November 9 at Southminster, vocalist Jill Barber and her quartet will headline an Ottawa Jazz Festival benefit concert in the evening. Barber's latest album “explores different musical styles, from traditional country, to jazz and Motown”.

Over the years, Adrian Cho has frequently explored the connections between jazz and the American Civil Rights movement in his Ottawa Jazz Orchestra concerts. On Thursday, November 10, the orchestra presents “Freedom Fighters” at the NAC Back Stage.

Cho says that this show will include “some of the music we've never performed before. However you can be sure we'll also perform a number of the civil rights and black church 'jazz anthems' that are hard to go past. This music is always so exciting and intense and there are so many important stories behind that make the music still truly relevant today given what's happening around the world.”

On Friday, November 11, the second installment of Buckingham Buzz Jazz takes the stage, beginning with vocalist Doreen Smith singing “songs of anticipation, unfettered joy and heartbreak presented in true 'old School' form”, accompanied by guitarist Tim Bedner. They'll be followed by the Quebec group Cinq Gars Une Fille, which blends Latin and South American jazz rhythms with classic French songs – performed on accordion, guitar, violin, bass, and percussion. Their influences include Richard Galliano, Astor Piazzolla, Raoul Barboza, and Marc Berthoumieux.


Juno-winning jazz guitarist Mike Rud often makes the trip from Montreal to perform with Ottawa musicians, and he'll be here on both November 11 and 12. Late Friday afternoon, he'll play with Mark Alcorn in Alcorn's long-running after-work duo series at the Centretown Royal Oak. Then on Saturday, he's teaming up with Ottawa vocalist Karen Oxorn for a dinner show at Festival Japan.

Pianist Miguel de Armas is shaking up his Friday night series at the Marshes golf club in Kanata this month. On November 11, Cuban powerhouse vocalist Caridad Cruz takes over the evening, together with her regular collaborator, guitarist César Ricardo, as well as fiery violinist Roberto Jerez. On November 18, de Armas is joined by vocalist Claudia Salguero, well-known for her sold-out NAC shows of boleros and Latin jazz, and bassist Sylvio Modolo – for their first public collaboration. And on November 25, it's Brazilian Night with the Rômmel Ribeiro Trio taking the stage.

Although guitarist Amy Brandon now lives in Nova Scotia, she's still kept close ties to Ottawa and the local jazz scene. On the afternoon of Saturday, November 12, she'll release her debut album, Scavenger, in a free afternoon concert together with guitarist Roddy Ellias at Metro Music in the Glebe. Brandon is an elegant and understated guitarist: the CD contains “sculptural and evocative solo compositions and improvisations drawn from the worlds of jazz, classical and electroacoustic music”, with guest appearances by guitarists Ellias and Mike Rud, and vocalist Laura Swankey. The show is part of a tour which will also take her to Toronto and Montreal.

Brandon has recently attended the Banff Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, as well as an Atlantic Centre for the Arts residency with composer Myra Melford. She has performed widely in Canada with Ellias, Mike Rud, and classical ensemble 4Guitars. She is also currently completing an interdisciplinary PhD in music cognition at Dalhousie University; her academic work concerns improvisation and guitar pedagogy.

Also on Saturday, November 12, Miguel de Armas and his Latin Jazz Quartet will set Southminster United Church to ringing with the group's Afro-Cuban rhythms as part of the church's new Concerts by the Canal evening concert series. The quartet's mixture of originals, Cuban standards, and jazz standards – all tightly played with huge amounts of energy and fast-moving beats – have proven consistently popular locally and in Montreal.

Pianist Steve Boudreau and vocalist Aubrey Johnson studied jazz together in Boston. Now Johnson is based in NYC and specializes in “jazz, Brazilian, and creative contemporary music with and without words”. She has performed and/or recorded with musicians including Bobby McFerrin, Lyle Mays, John Zorn’s Mycale Vocal Quartet, John Patitucci, Linda Oh, Tyshawn Sorey, and Jimmy Cobb.

Boudreau and Johnson performed together at GigSpace in 2015, and are reuniting for a second concert there on November 12. This show will feature almost completely new material, an eclectic combination of jazz, Brazilian music and popular music arrangements.

Also on November 12, Quebec pianist Jean-Michel Blais will perform at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield. Blais is an pianist with a classical/pop background, in the tradition of Chilly Gonzales and Philip Glass. Many of his pieces are improvised or compositions based on improvisations.

Each fall, music students at Carleton University show off what they've been learning that term in various performance ensembles – and this year they're starting a few weeks earlier. On November 12, the student jazz ensemble, directed by well-known composer and pianist/trombonist Mark Ferguson, will present its recital of great jazz music at the excellent Kailash Mital Theatre.

On the afternoon of Sunday, November 13, you can swing dance at a benefit for the Westboro Legion. The 18-piece Main & Abbott Dance Band, which is based in Stittsville, will play music in the style of the Big Band era for dancers in the legion's hall.

That evening, two adventurous Ottawa musicians will present a new project at the Improvising Musicians of Ottawa-Outaouais (IMOO) concert at House of Common in Hintonburg. Saxophonist David Broscoe and percussionist Jamie Gullikson will perform music inspired by the paintings of Joan Miró, and Linsey Wellman and Rory Magill will play a bonus reeds/xylophone duo set.

    – Alayne McGregor

There's lots more happening in November. Donate to OttawaJazzScene.ca's November community funding campaign to learn about it!

As soon as you support our work, you can read about the entire exciting month. After enough readers donate to our 2016-17 season campaign, we'll make the full article available to all – and create feature stories, interviews, and reviews to inform you about these fabulous, upcoming shows.

Read about the first week of November, including continuing series which began then.