The Options Jazz Lounge in the Brookstreet Hotel is now presenting jazz seven nights a week.
Brookstreet marketing coordinator Sarah Bentley said the increase, as of March 1, was prompted by the “really good response” they were getting to the existing jazz programming on five nights a week.
“And then, Terry Matthews, our owner, loves jazz and wanted to see it seven days a week.”
She said the final decision was made by Matthews, the owner of the Kanata hotel and resort and the founder of several major high-tech companies in Ottawa, including Mitel. OttawaJazzScene.ca editors have occasionally seen Matthews at the Options Lounge with friends, enjoying the music.
Bentley said that, while the Options Lounge would be mostly featuring local performers, they did plan to bring in out-of-town musicians on a monthly basis, “whenever our budget allows. We're going to have a broad range of artists, starting from students to all the way to those who are more established.”
Recent Brookstreet artists have ranged from Carleton University student John Dapaah, to established Ottawa jazz musicians like Steve Berndt, Wayne Eagles, and Scott Poll, to Ottawa musicians with a more international following like Roddy Ellias, Diane White, and Miguel de Armas. Brookstreet has also brought in visiting artists like Jason Raso, A Touch of Class, Ori Dagan, Halie Loren, the Fritzen Simpson Duo, Nathan Cepelinski – and most notably NYC saxophonist Donny McCaslin a year ago.
The Options Lounge will continue its Thursday night jazz jams, hosted by the HML Trio, Bentley said. The jams, which started at the end of January, have been attracting many musicians interested in performing
The closure of the downtown Ottawa jazz club Café Paradiso last summer did help the Options Lounge quite a bit, she said. However, the lounge increased its jazz evenings from two to five nights a week in November 2011, while Cafe Paradiso was still in full operation. Café Paradiso also showcased more visiting musicians, and more musicians with a higher international profile.
– Alayne McGregor