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.
The local jazz scene continued to be vibrant in 2010. Notable events included:
- Mike Essoudry premiered his Mash Potato Mashers marching band in February. The Mashers opened the Ottawa Jazz Festival in June.
- the new Improvising Musicians of Ottawa/Outaouais (IMOO) avant-garde series started in September, organized by Craig Pedersen and Linsey Wellman
- the Carleton University jazz camp, the brainchild of Mike Tremblay, had a first, successful, year in August
- the Jazz Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary: an artistic success but a frustrating experience with the unexpected loss of federal government Marquee funding
- festival fans had to get used to two major changes: late-night programming was moved into the OLG tent (which often overflowed), and Platinum seating took over the prime seats in the park
- Jacques Emond retired as programming manager of the Jazz Festival, after decades of acting as the consummate "ears" of the festival. The 30th was the last festival for which he guided the artist selection
- a new Festival de Jazz Desjardins was held in the Parc de l'imaginaire in Aylmer in July and early August
- the Chelsea Pub held its own new three-day Jazz Festival in late June – for those who wanted a more intimate experience than Confederation Park
- John Geggie started the 10th year of his invitational concert series, with another fine selection of musicians
- Jesse Stewart continued to produce the most adventurous music in town, starting with Glacialis in the winter, moving on to Paperphonics at the Festival, then all the four elements at Chamberfest. In March, he played with Canadian artist Michael Snow at the National Gallery, and then later that month guided the Carleton University Contemporary Music Ensemble through a unique performance of Cornelius Cardew's mammoth graphic score, Treatise. This fall, he installed an aeolian organ in a field near Perth, and In October, he played with enigmatic improviser Jandek, in one of that recluse's extremely rare concerts
- local big band arranger/conductor Bill Jupp received a musical tribute from his many friends in July
- Lucas Haneman won the 2010 CNIB iFactor contest in August
- Tim Bedner's mentorship series for new jazz musicians had a sucessful first year, and continued for a second year at Café Paradiso
- the Impressions in Jazz Orchestra (plus Capital Vox) recreated Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts. With 50 musicians on stage, it was one of the biggest jazz concerts ever in Ottawa. This fall, IJO renamed itself to the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra
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:
- Hugh O'Connor, For the First Time
- Nicole Ratté, When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful
- Renée Yoxon (and René Gely), Let's Call It a Day
- Daniel Ko (and Steve Groves), Modern History
- Christine Fagan, Once
- Peter Hum, A Boy's Journey
- the Bernard Stepien Orchestra, A Very Ayler Christmas
- Linsey Wellman (first solo CD), Ephemera
- Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers, Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers
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.