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November 17 to 23 jazz highlights

There's lots more heartfelt jazz to hear in Ottawa-Gatineau in the third week of November. Here's's independent look at what's bright in jazz in a traditionally grey month.

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On Thursday, November 17, Montreal jazz vocalist Karen Young makes a rare local appearance together with long-time musical compatriots guitarist Sylvain Provost and bassist Normand Guilbeault. They'll be performing at La Scène des Galeries Aylmer in Gatineau, showcasing their album You Make me Feel So Young. Expect songs by Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, and Billy Strayhorn, in interpretations full of “groove, swing, and sleek sensuality”.

Student performances start this month, with the Carleton University Jazz Fusion ensemble directed by Wayne Eagles ©Brett Delmage, 2014If you prefer a heavier beat, the Carleton University Jazz Fusion student ensembles, directed by Wayne Eagles, will present their fall recital on November 17, in Kailash Mital Theatre at the university. It will be a joint concert with the West African Rhythm Ensemble, who will be playing with the university's music artist-in-residence Dong-Won Kim.

You have two opportunities to hear the Dutch jazz duo of vocalist/pianist Ineke Vandoorn and guitarist Marc van Vugt on Friday, November 18. They're touring across Canada in mid-November, playing with different, well-known rhythm sections in each city – in Ottawa with bassist John Geggie and drummer Michel Delage.

In the afternoon, they'll give a masterclass at Carleton University, with Vandoorn presenting material from her book, Singing From the Inside Out. That evening, they'll be at the Mercury Lounge. Winners of the Edison Award (the Dutch equivalent of our Juno), the duo explores both improvisation and lyrical songs, “full of rich harmonies and haunting melodies” and including echoes of the Brazilian choro and Scandinavian pop. Read our interview with Ineke Vandoorn.

Buckingham Buzz Jazz returns on November 18 for its third installment. It opens with Betty Ann Bryanton's Sideways Bend, which played two sold-out and happily-received concerts of uncommon jazz tunes earlier this year [read our review]. They're followed by the Ottawa trio Jazz'n Time, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, performing a mix of standards, contemporary tunes, and originals.

Each year, CBC Radio-Canada chooses a promising young jazz artist from Quebec to promote in its Révélations series, and Montreal pianist Simon Denizart is the 2016-17 winner. He and his trio, with Jeanne Corpataux on bass and Simon Bellemare on drums, release their second CD, Beautiful People, this month. They’ll appear at Brookstreet's Options Jazz Lounge on November 18-19 – just before they play l'Astral in Montreal. Initially influenced by Esbjörn Svensson, Avishai Cohen, Tigran Hamasyan, and Keith Jarrett, the trio primarily now plays Denizart's originals: music that is “soft and melodic while always driving, due to the energy the trio establishes every time they hit the band stand.”

On November 18, vocalist Claudia Salguero appears at Miguel de Armas Friday night jazz series for their first public collaboration. ©2015 Brett DelmagePianist Miguel de Armas is shaking up his Friday night series at the Marshes golf club in Kanata this month. 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.

Stephane Wrembel learned his craft among the Gypsies at campsites in the French countryside (after years of training in classical piano) – and scored the theme to the 2012 Oscar-winning film Midnight in Paris. A summa cum laude Berklee graduate, Wrembel has just released his fifth album, Origins, in which he endeavours to transcend and expand his original music beyond Django Reinhardt-style jazz manouche, adding influences from blues to flamenco. He performs two shows of different material with his band at GigSpace on Saturday, November 19, and will also be offering a jazz guitar workshop.

On November 19, Rômmel Ribeiro brings his Rommelera Band to Le Petit Chicago, playing Brazilian music and jazz, with touches of Afrobeat, reggae, and funk.

On Sunday, November 20, Standing Room Only plays its regular afternoon tea dance in Almonte with classic big band tunes which invite you to get up and dance. The dances are held in Almonte's Old Town Hall, which not only has a sprung wooden floor for dancing, but also has excellent acoustics for listening.

That evening, you can hear a much edgier large ensemble, as the eight-piece Rakestar Arkestra performs improvised music at the House of Common which is by Sun Ra or inspired by his cosmic vision. For this show, the Arkestra will play a single “long and extra-adventurous set of Sun Ra melodies by tossing them helter-skelter into the musical mixing bowl and stirring them together. No set list, no limits.”

Korean percussionist and vocalist Dong-Won Kim is Carleton University's music artist-in-residence this fall, and has been offering a series of Friday morning masterclasses to students on listening and composition.'s editors have seen him perform several times at the Guelph Jazz Festival and have been very impressed by his inventiveness and responsiveness in the moment.

On Tuesday, November 22, Dong-Won Kim will perform with pianist and Carleton University professor James McGowan in a free concert at Steinway Piano Gallery off Innes Road in Ottawa's east end. The show is called Spontaneous Sound & Spirituality, and will feature the two creating inter-cultural music in real time without any pre-defined themes or musical agenda. “Drawing upon both the juxtapositions and inter-connections among stylistic traditions, instrumental timbres, and conceptions of spirituality, what results when these two experienced improvisers come together transcends labels and creates an engaging fusion of sound and energy.”

Korean percussioniust Dong-Won Kim brings his music to Ottawa ears this month in several concerts and masterclasses ©2014 Brett DelmageIMOO, which is having a busy month, will hold a special show on Wednesday, November 23 at House of Common, featuring PLANT – Quebec bassist Éric Normand and Australian flutist and saxophonist Jim Denley. Both also use electronics in their music. The duo has performed together twice in Rimouski, Quebec, and has released the live recordings of both performances as CDs or LPs.

Their homes are separated by almost 17,000 km and the Pacific ocean, and they have different native tongues, and yet “they are involved in a music practice that allows them to come together, without rehearsal and shared experience, to collectively create. This is true ‘world music’.  … There is no ‘compromise’ in this coming together, each musician is able to be himself, with local influences undiluted, but with enough shared methodology to work in parallel.”  

    – Alayne McGregor

Read about the first week of November's highlights, including series continuing throughout this month.