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Daniel Ko playing le Petit Chicago in June

Local saxophone prodigy Daniel Ko at Le Petit Chicago on June 13, 2011. ©Brett Delmage, 2011Daniel Ko, together with drummer David Pontello and bassist Ken Kanwisher, will be playing Monday nights at Le Petit Chicago for the rest of June.

It was only a couple of years ago that Ko was escorted out of Le Petit Chicago – even though he had his mother with him and his saxophone, and had hoped to sit in with the band. His crime: he was too young (the bar is 18+).

Now with a few years, a scholarship, awards, and a CD under his belt, he's in the band.

Ko will be heading to Berklee School of Music in Boston to study jazz this fall, so you might want to hear him soon.

Search Engine will return in July.

    – Alayne McGregor

 

PianoLessMonk plays IMOO

(l-r) Bernard Stepien, Scott Warren and David Broscoe. ©Brett Delmage, 2011Ottawa avant-garde jazz musician Bernard Stepien has taken a new approach to Thelonious Monk's music: he's left out Monk's own instrument, replacing piano chords with sax, trumpet, and bass and drums.

At the IMOO series on Sunday, June 18, he premiered the result, to enthusiastic response, and even a request for an encore.

The first four songs were well-known numbers including Bemsha Swing and Pannonica, and were performed with verve but also reasonably recognizably.

But then the band moved into less well-known numbers and more free playing. Pieces like Light Blue and Friday the 13th gave considerable room for David Broscoe (alto sax) and Stepien (tenor sax) to improvise within the melody,  at times with great intensity. Charley Gordon (trumpet and flugelhorn) added colour and nuance to the mix.                                                       

Philippe Charbonneau (double bass) moved naturally into soulful bass solos at several points that felt organic to the music. Scott Warren (drums) again showed his appreciation of dynamics, with drumming that moved from soft brushing to commanding staccato and back again without hesitation.

With the exception of Gordon, the musicians had all played with Stepien on his Albert Ayler/Christmas carols project, which was released on CD in December 2010. One can hope the non-seasonal nature of this music will allow Stepien to continue to develop this project.

    – Alayne McGregor

View photos of this show

Read more: PianoLessMonk plays IMOO

 

Matt Aston Group at Café Nostalgica

(l-r) Elizabeth Foster, Matt Aston and Joe Hincke at Café Nostalgica on April 6. ©Brett Delmage, 2011

Drummer Matt Aston, together with violinist Elizabeth Foster and bassist Joe Hincke, tried out new material and a new sound on the first night of the group's Wednesday-night residency at Café Nostalgica. Their two sets were well-received, as you can see here on our video interview with Matt. You can still see them tonight (April 20), and on April 27 – maybe with some surprise guests as well!

 

Search Engine releases its first album at le Petit Chicago

At Le Petit Chicago in March: (l-r) Jeff Asselin, Brian Asselin, Alex Mastronardi, Eric Disero. ©Brett Delmage, 2011

Search Engine has been one of the most stable groups in the Ottawa jazz scene – and has had one of the longest-running gigs: five years (with a few interruptions) at Le Petit Chicago. But they've never put out an album, until now.

Tonight (Monday, April 18) is the CD release party for I'm Feeling Lucky, an album of mostly originals, with two standards. It was produced by renowned jazz drummer Ian Froman. And you can see the group: Brian Asselin on tenor sax, Jeff Asselin on drums, Alex Mastronardi on bass, and Eric Disero on keyboards, play their hearts out to celebrate the launch. The party starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $5; the album costs $10.

Read more: Search Engine releases its first album at le Petit Chicago

   

Carleton University Contemporary Music Ensemble fills the Umi Café

Jesse Stewart conducts students in the Carleton U Contemporary Music Ensemble March 27 at the Umi Café.  ©Brett Delmage, 2011The Carleton University Contemporary Music Ensemble, under the guidance of Jesse Stewart, played its term-end concert at the Umi Café on March 27. The concert was part of the regular Improvising Musicians of Ottawa-Outaouais (IMOO) series, and, true to the series, was almost completely improvised, albeit with some conducting by Stewart and by student Justin Duhaime.

The full ensemble has more than 20 students. 14 were able to play at the Umi concert – the largest number ever on the Umi "stage". The audience area was also full.

    – Alayne McGregor


Click here to see all the photos.

Read more: Carleton University Contemporary Music Ensemble fills the Umi Café

   

Florquestra Brasil brightens up a winter Monday in Gatineau

Florquestra Brasil's Evandro Gracelli, Regina Gomes Teixeira, Leonard Constant, Silvio Modolo (r-l) brighten Les Brasseurs du Temps on February 28. ©Brett Delmage, 2011Florquestra Brasil recently played to a full house at Les Brasseurs du Temps on a wintry evening, and brought in just a bit of the South American sun and warmth. Near the end, they inspired several listeners to dance and a lot of toe-tapping, with their combination of unusual instruments, different percussion beats, infectious vocals, and smiling enthusiasm.

The number of Latin- and Brazilian-influenced local groups in Ottawa has jumped in the last few years, with appearances by Florquestra Brasil, Rimbombante, Pulse Mondiale, La Roda da Samba, Rômmel Ribeiro, Duo/Trio Zansa, Sol da Capital, Farinha Biriba (Sambaway), the Evandro Gracelli Group, Shaman Rhythms, Tropicantos, Los Gringos, Flow, Mango Upstart, and many others.

Salomon Carrillo Sr. at Mercury Lounge with Shaman Rhythms, and Sol da Capital on February 10. ©Brett Delmage, 2011

Perhaps Latin music has a double advantage: it reminds us of warmth in the winter, and is a good way to last through our tropical heat in the summer ?

    – Alayne McGregor


   

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