This summer, one nearby festival will offer “all jazz, all the time!” – and feature several Canadian musicians who haven't played in Ottawa in years.
The Prince Edward County Jazz Festival has just announced its 2014 lineup. The mid-August festival will feature major Canadian jazz musicians rarely seen in Ottawa – Guido Basso, Reg Schwager, Lorne Lofsky – and perennial favourites like Renee Rosnes, Rémi Bolduc, and David Braid.
Three concerts will commemorate legends of jazz, several of whom died recently. The Rémi Bolduc Quartet, with pianist François Bourassa, will pay tribute to Dave Brubeck. Four top Toronto guitarists will remember Jim Hall. And the Brian Barlow Big Band, featuring pianist David Braid, will perform George Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue”.
In other shows, pianist Renee Rosnes (from BC, now living in NYC) will appear with her quartet; Toronto jazz veterans Guido Basso and Russ Little will headline the festival's gala; and Braid will perform a solo piano concert.
The festival runs from August 12 to 17, a quiet time in the Ottawa jazz schedule, after Chamberfest and before the jazz camps. It is located primarily in Picton, Ontario. About a three-hour drive from Ottawa, Picton is south-west of Kingston, and near the Sandbanks Provincial Park.
Highlights of this year's festival include:
Wednesday, August 13: Guido Basso has long been known for his mellow tone on flugelhorn, both in the Boss Brass and in smaller groups. He's joined by trombonist Russ Little, who was a founding member of the brass-rock band Lighthouse, belonged to the Count Basie and Woody Herman big bands, and is a long-time session player and jazz leader. They're playing with pianist Robi Botos, bassist Scott Alexander and drummer Brian Barlow, for a dinner and concert at the Huff Estates Winery.
Thursday, August 14: Montreal saxophonist Rémi Bolduc will pay tribute to the late Dave Brubeck by playing the legendary recording Time Out in its entirety. Bolduc will take Paul Desmond's alto sax parts; bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Dave Laing will provide a strong rhythm section. And, most importantly, versatile pianist François Bourassa should give a sensitive and swinging interpretation of Brubeck's wide-ranging oeuvre.
Friday, August 15: Four of the best-known guitarists active on the Toronto jazz scene – Reg Schwager, Lorne Lofsky, David Occhipinti, Rob Piltch – will remember the American guitarist Jim Hall, who died last December. To a great extent, Hall defined what was possible with the jazz guitar in a long, fruitful, and varied career. He is cited by most current jazz guitarists as a major influence.
Saturday, August 16: In the afternoon, Juno-winning pianist and composer David Braid will give a solo concert. In the evening, pianist Renee Rosnes will appear, along with her American quartet (Lewis Nash on drums, Peter Washington on bass, and Jimmy Greene on tenor sax). In previous concerts in Ottawa and Montreal, Rosnes has mixed standards (often lesser-known) with her own compositions with always-interesting results. She's played with Wayne Shorter, James Moody, George Benson and Jimmy Heath, in the SF Jazz Collective, and in duets with her husband Bill Charlap. She has released 12 solo albums and won four Junos.
Sunday, August 17: This year will be the 90th anniversary of the inaugural performance of “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin. Brian Barlow (who is also the festival's creative director) will celebrate the ground-breaking composition with his Big Band and soloist David Braid. The band will play a special arrangement created specifically for this performance.
Tickets go on sale May 8. More information: www.pecjazz.org/schedule.html
– Alayne McGregor
See OttawaJazzScene.ca's past coverage of some of these musicians: