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2010: a busy year for Jazz and improvisation in Ottawa



If OttawaJazzScene.ca had a soundtrack in 2010, it would have been very loud and with many overlapping tracks. There was so much music going on in Ottawa-Gatineau, so many CD releases, and so much jazz innovation that it was difficult to follow everything.

From Duke Ellington retrospectives to the hippest of free jazz, there was a bit of everything in the Ottawa-Gatineau jazz scene last year.

2010 was also OttawaJazzScene.ca's first full year of operation, and we filled it with interviews, photos, profiles, reviews, and video. We only wish we had time to do more. Our biggest single initiative was our 30 days of coverage leading up to the Ottawa Jazz Festival's 30th anniversary, which gave us (and we hope you) a lot more info and ideas about what to hear coming into the festival. By July 5, we had published more articles about this year's festival than any other media source.

But our focus – and our reason for being – has always been to report on and promote jazz and improvised music in Ottawa/Gatineau the other 352 days of the year.






The local jazz scene continued to be vibrant in 2010. Notable events included:

Local artists continued to develop their own series and new locations for jazz, like the Umi Café, the Wild Wood Chop House, or Les Brasseurs du Temps. On a sadder note, Peter Liu's Jazz Evolution at the Lookout ended in June after 16 months of monthly concerts. And the Bacci Bistro in Gatineau went under in August, after providing a regular jazz location for many local artists for the previous nine months.

This year was particularly notable for the number of artists who released their first CD – though most of them didn't wait until they were 81, like Hugh O'Connor. They included:

and they all had CD release concerts.

Bassist John Geggie released his second album as a leader, Across the Sky, with the trio he most often played with at Festival Jam sessions (Nick Fraser and Nancy Walker), plus Donny McCaslin on tenor sax, to excellent reviews. Two local acts with more CDs under their belts: the Souljazz Orchestra and Kellylee Evans, got particularly glowing reviews for their 2010 releases, Rising Sun and Nina respectively.

Other artists who released notable CDs included Pulse Mondiale (René Gely) with Testament, Megan Jerome with Bloomers, and Brian Browne with The Erindale Sessions.

There were an amazing number of great shows this year. See Alayne and Brett's favourites (and it was hard to choose!)

And exactly how busy was the Ottawa-Gatineau scene in 2010? OttawaJazzScene.ca published more than 1700 timely and comprehensive event listings last year. There was lots going on.

Our readership continued to grow to new levels throughout our first calendar year of operation, thanks to listeners like you. With your support, we're looking forward to many new listings, stories, reviews, site improvements and more throughout 2011.

As you can see if you browse our current Upcoming Shows listings, local artists are ramping up to produce some exceptional shows in 2011: for example, more Geggie invitational shows, Capital Vox's tribute to Oscar Peterson's Canadiana Suite, Jesse Stewart and David Mott (separately) responding to art at the Carleton Art Gallery, the Peggy Lee tribute concert, and more IMOO shows. And that doesn't include all the visiting artists being brought in by Café Patadiso, the Jazz Festival, and local theatres. We've got a great jazz scene.

Happy 2011!