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Evandro Gracelli brings Brazilian warmth to Ottawa for three busy weeks

Marc Decho and Evandro Gracelli enjoy playing together with Emilio Martins at Brookstreet ©Brett Delmage, 2013View photos

Evandro Gracelli had a jam-packed schedule when he visited Ottawa and Montreal for three weeks in late March and early April. What with masterclasses, his own concerts and club gigs, and being invited to sit in at other shows, the Brazilian guitarist was booked or double-booked just about every night.

He brought seven other Brazilian musicians with him, as part of a cultural and musical exchange co-sponsored by the University of São Paulo and Carleton University. Although six returned after the first week, Gracelli and master percussionist Emilio Martins remained.

In the two years he spent in Ottawa, Gracelli developed strong ties in the local jazz community and became an integral part of several local bands. This visit showed the strengths of those ties, as he played in a reunion concert of Sol da Capital with Rachel Beausoleil, with his own Evandro Gracelli and Friends, and in Rimbombante with Dean Pallen, among other gigs.

Read more: Evandro Gracelli brings Brazilian warmth to Ottawa for three busy weeks


Energetic music attracts a packed house at Rimbombante CD release show

Rimbombante's CD release concert stage on April 5 was as packed as the coffee house was from listeners. L-R: Reynier Garcia, Dean Pallen, Arien Villegas, Evandro Garcelli, Carlos Santana. Hidden: Gerg Horvath (bass). ©Brett Delmage, 2013View photos from the CD release

It isn't often that a CD release concert gets an overture as well.

When Rimbombante's show on April 5 was delayed because of a musician's car breaking down, the group's pianist, Carlos Santana, sat down and played half an hour of sparkling solo piano – impromptu. And that didn't make him any less energetic when the whole band was playing.

The Ottawa-based group – Santana, composer Dean Pallen on saxophone and clarinet, Evandro Gracelli on guitar, Gerg Horvath on bass, Reynier Garcia on congas and percussion, Arien Villegas on drums – represent a wide range of ethnic and musical origins, and their music reflects that as well. It's an amalgam of jazz and world music with a noticeable Latin flavour, a strong percussive base, and memorable melodies.

And lots of energy! Whether in a fast, breezy soprano sax line, a flowing guitar solo, rippling keyboards, dancing conga beats, driving bass, fast Cuban drum rhythms, or vibrant vocals, the music worked at the April 5 show because of the strong interaction among the musicians and the vigour each of them added. The audience greeted that energy with strong applause, particularly at the end, and demanded an encore.

Read more: Energetic music attracts a packed house at Rimbombante CD release show


Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra performs a hot Latin set (video)

On April 1, 2012, Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra (CYJO) played a hot Latin set in the Library and Archives Canada auditorium under the direction of Nicholas Dyson.  That concert was a milestone for CYJO. A substantial number of their founding and most experienced band members played their final concert of their CYJO age-limited term, and several accomplished younger members also left the orchestra after, to attend music schools in other cities.

After this final CYJO concert, the departing rhythm section of Jamie Holmes (percussion), J.P. Lapensée (bass) and Alex Moxon (guitar) went on to other musical initiatives. They recently released their first Chocolate Hot Pockets CD, and started a regular jam session at Brookstreet Hotel. Chris Maskell, a featured soloist in The Move video presented here, is currently studying at McGill. is pleased to bring you three songs from this concert. Thanks to CYJO and composer Mark Ferguson for allowing us to share their music.

Following their well-received March 2013 performance of Count Basie's music, CYJO will present their next concert on April 14 in the highly comfortable and acoustically supportive Kailash Mital Theatre at Carleton University. Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra will be joined by the McGill Jazz Orchestra. Watch for interviews and excerpts from their recent Count Basie concert prior to their next show.

See also:  CYJO heats up Ottawa with a Latin vibe and 46 musicians

Watch the videos including The Move, Mermaid Beach, and The First Circle

    – Brett Delmage

Read more: Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra performs a hot Latin set (video)


Florquestra Brasil launches their first album, Flortografia, with all-around enthusiasm

Silvio Módolo kept busy on his accordion, guitar, cavaquinho, and keyboards while Ken Kanwisher anchored the low end on his double bass. ©Brett Delmage, 2013View photos of this concert

Florquestra Brasil received an enthusiastic full house at Cabaret La Basoche in Aylmer on January 30. The event: the launch of their first album, Flortografia. The hour-long concert produced an immediate standing ovation at the end, and another after the encore.

The music was a mixture – Georges Brassens, Leonard Cohen, Brazilian jazz standards, and originals – sung in mostly French, but with some Portuguese and English too. It was all served with a cabaret sensibility and with strong Brazilian rhythms underneath, for a unified and highly infectious whole.

Léonard Constant (guitar, vocals), Regina Teixeira (percussion, vocals), Silvio Módolo (accordion, guitar, cavaquinho, keyboards, and more), and Angel Araos (drums, percussion) were joined by further musical friends. most of whom had also played on the album: Fernando Acosta (percussion), Jasmin Lalande (saxes), Paul Doyle (trumpet and flugelhorn), Ken Kanwisher (bass), and Gabriel Estrela Pinto (percussion). In particular it was their skillful use of Brazilian instruments: the berimbau, agogô, cavaquinho, tamborim, caxixi, surdo, pandeiro, viola caipira, zabumba, and more, which really added the extra flair to their music.

Read more: Florquestra Brasil launches their first album, Flortografia, with all-around enthusiasm


Bill Coon and Tim Bedner attract record crowd to ZenKitchen's jazz brunch

Jazz writer Lois Moody listens to Tim Bedner and Bill Coon play for a record-sized brunch crowd at ZenKitchen ©Brett Delmage, 2012Vancouver guitarist Bill Coon dropped into Ottawa this weekend, teaming up with Ottawa guitarist Tim Bedner for an end-of-the-year jazz brunch at ZenKitchen. A record crowd – Zen tweeted they served more than 75 people – came to listen to the duo play and extend jazz standards, while enjoying the vegan taste sensations.

It was a true duet: Coon and Bedner easily switched leads and picked up each others' cues, moving in and out of the melodies. And the audience was clearly listening, with little conversation disrupting the music.

ZenKitchen started offering occasional jazz brunches last July; this was the fifth in their series.


Oswald, Thomson, Stewart play engaging improvisations at final 2012 IMOO concert

View photos of this concert

Overcoming jams (of the traffic kind) on highway 401, drummer Jesse Stewart made sure he returned from Toronto in time to play with Toronto alto saxophonist John Oswald and trombonist Scott Thomson at IMOO on Sunday, December 30, because, as he told the audience, it was a show he did not want to miss.

Scott Thomson (dismantled trombone) and John Oswald (muted alto) played even incomplete instruments to full potential. ©Brett Delmage, 2012While Oswald and Thomson have a regular duo, this was the first time all three had played together. But, as musicians long accustomed to improvisation, they easily fell into sync, playing two sets of free improv in which each of the instruments provided both the rhythm and the melody, and nothing was predictable. When Thomson played sweeping bass notes on his trombone, Oswald countered with punctuated high notes. Thompson produced a range of sounds from the light and breathy to conjuring up a full winter snowstorm. Stewart used his sticks in unexpected ways: dropping them together onto an upside down tom or the floor, and banging their ends into drums. Both Thomson and Stewart dismantled their instruments in various ways in order to produce new sounds. Stewart's percussive playing of his upside-down floor tom's legs against the floor led to the first time we've felt an IMOO performance through our feet. All three played a full dynamic range in their music, taking advantage of the near-silent venue and snow-muffled street outside to play to the possibly softest level heard in an IMOO concert. It was a concert which explored musical edges yet was still approachable.

Read more: Oswald, Thomson, Stewart play engaging improvisations at final 2012 IMOO concert


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