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Ottawa Jazz Orchestra's Rick Rangno talks about arranging "Monk, Miles and Mingus go to Town"

Rick Rangno plays flugelhorn during IJO's "Rebirth of the Cool", Sept. 2008. photo by Brett Delmage ©2008Trumpet and flugelhorn player Rick Rangno arranged the majority of the pieces in Ottawa Jazz Orchestra's Monk, Miles and Mingus go to Town concert on Saturday, March 26.

Rick told's Brett Delmage about what listeners can expect to hear during this show, what they won't hear, and shared his approach to arranging (his influences included Gil Evans and Duke Ellington). He also revealed what he will be personally doing on the stage on Saturday night. It's great background to Ottawa Jazz Orchestra's latest concert.

Rick promises both good sound (this church's acoustics are more suited to the orchestra), and a unique sound, with bass, drums, a string quartet, bassoon, oboe, trumpet, flugelhorn, and three woodwind players. "much more intimate, maybe a little bit more flexible, and, because of the instrumentation there's going to be a lot of colour in the arrangements."

Listen to the podcast    [9 mins, 4.2 MB]


Jesse Stewart talks about the link between art and sound

Ottawa musical improviser, and Carleton University music professor Jesse Stewart is known for creating and making music from non-traditional instruments, although he is also an accomplished percussionist. Paper, balloons, ice, and precisely-tuned cut marble stones are but a few of the objects which he has creatively used to make musical sounds, and he has encouraged his students to do the same.

This month (January, 2011), Stewart is curating musical performances every Saturday which interact with a new art installation by David Rokeby: Very Nervous System (VNS), at the Carleton University Art Gallery. VNS is a computer vision system that translates human movement within the exhibit space and in its camera's view into sound.

Stewart talked to's Brett Delmage about the history and behaviour of Very Nervous System, his upcoming performance with it on Saturday, January 22, and the following week's unique performance by renowned Canadian saxophonist David Mott.

Listen to the interview [mp3, 15 MB].

Photos: Jesse Stewart interacts with the Very Nervous System while exploring and creating complementary sounds of his own. ©Brett Delmage, 2011

Jesse Stewart interacts with the Very Nervous System while exploring and creating complementary sounds of his own ©Brett Delmage, 2011

A few excerpts from the interview

I'm interested in the spaces between artistic disciplines, and in blurring and combining my interest in both the sonic and visual arts.

[An interest of mine is] taking something familiar and to see and hear it in a different way, and hopefully by extension, look and listen to the world in a different way... to try to create some new relationship between myself and that new material, whatever it happens to be. Sound is a way to do that...

After you walk out of the gallery, you are going to listen to sound in a different way.

Sound is tactile. Our whole bodies can be resonating chambers.

The gestural vocabulary involved in playing percussion is something that is of interest to me and I will explore in my performance on Saturday.

Read more: Jesse Stewart talks about the link between art and sound


Marc Decho debuts his new bass

Marc Decho with his new, modified Tacoma Thunderchief ©Brett Delmage, 2010Mike Essoudry's Septet plays Le Petit Chicago on Monday nights this month, with some less frequently-heard instruments. One of them in the back caught our eye, and ear: Marc Decho`s new Tacoma Thunderchief. Marc talked to editor Alayne McGregor about his new find, how he converted it to a full bass, and what appeals to him and others about the sound.

Listen to the podcast [mp3, 5 mins, 3 MB]


Linsey Wellman: a jazz improviser explains how he constructed his CD

Linsey Wellman at Avant-Garde Bar ©Brett Delmage, 2008Linsey Wellman, an Ottawa saxophone/clarinet player well-known for his many projects and wide range of musical interests, was recently interviewed by publisher Brett Delmage. Linsey has just released an album for solo saxophone called Ephemera.

He told how he created the album and what he learned from the experience, and shared some of his thoughts about improvised music and free jazz. He also explained the influences and ideas that went into the album, and the saxophone techniques (such as circular breathing and multiphonics) he used on it. And he talked about how improvised music can simply be enjoyed as music, without having to worry about finding a structure within it.

Linsey will perform a solo presentation of Ephemera at Club SAW on Thursday, November 18.

Listen to the interview [mp3, 44 minutes, 20MB].

A few excerpts from the interview

A lot of the work was creating an arc between the movements. They are free but they are also guided. It's more of a direction than writing notes down on paper.

I do find it kind of funny that there's a sense that you have to 'get' improvised music or 'get' free jazz. Free improvised music – it's just music. [...] It's actually quite simple music. It's 1-2-3, Go! And the players who are playing it aren't working from some crazy logarithms or something. They're just playing music.

I don't want to tell people how to listen to my music because it's up to them. My goal isn't to make complicated music. I like some very complicated music, I have no problem with complicated music, but that's not what I set out to do when I play. I just want to make music that people will listen to, and go, "Oh, yeah".

Some sections are more taxing than others. Certain sections you just wouldn't want to hear more than 2 1/2 minutes or 2 3/4 minutes And certain sections I feel like I have more to say. But definitely I put a lot of thought into pacing: just being able to pace myself so that I could play the whole thing. Some of the sections that are in there: they're in for musical reasons but they're also partially there so I can rest. [It sounds very demanding to play in places.] It is quite. It's hard. But all of the tracks that made the album, as it turned out, were taken from full performances of the piece.

Read more: Linsey Wellman: a jazz improviser explains how he constructed his CD


Renée Yoxon and René Gely talk about making 'Let's Call It a Day' CD

Renée Yoxon ©Brett Delmage, 2009Ottawa jazz vocalist Renée Yoxon will release her first CD at a concert on Friday, October 1, 2010. Editor Alayne McGregor interviewed her and guitarist René Gely together about the making the album. The interview was a lot of fun for us. We learned many interesting details on how the album came to be and about both of them.

Clearly, Renée and René have a great rapport and had a lot of fun making Let's Call it a Day. After you hear what they have to say in the interview, we think you'll be as eagerly awaiting the concert on Friday as we are, with some insider tips as to what to listen for as a bonus.

Listen to the podcast [mp3,  30 minutes,  14 MB]      link updated

View our event listing

Our previous podcast interview with Renée: "a jazz aesthetic is what you make of it"

A look and listen inside Theo Bleckmann's masterclass with Renée Yoxon

Some excerpts from the interview


I thought that René would be a really great start to the series.

What drew me to René's playing was his creativeness behind everything... it just blew me away

The standards have been my vehicle of choice for that art.

I hope [the audience will] enjoy the instrumentation. I really don't think I've seen a 'two-guitar and vocal' group before.

René Gely plays the melodica - which Renée wouldn't allow on her first album. ©Brett Delmage, 2010

René Gely

I noticed that she was taking lots of chances... and making great music.

For our first show together... it was a baptism by fire.

I really wanted the guitar to be a dialogue with the vocalist

The combination with her vocal approach and my guitar approach clicked from the very beginning.

...that's the story of that tune!

This guy [Mike Rud] can really play jazz.


Renée Yoxon: "a jazz aesthetic is what you make of it"

Renée Yoxon at The Rainbow - photo ©2010 Brett DelmageRenée Yoxon graduated with a physics degree and a minor in math and music from Carleton University In January 2010. While she was studying, music was another way to apply her creativity, and an escape from academic demands and drudgery.

Now that she is setting her own schedule, Renée is pursuing her career as a vocalist with a determined passion. She has been singing at as many as six gigs a week recently in  a variety of different styles. On top of that, she sits in on other events, and has started a new "StreetJazz" series on YouTube. It's no surprise that Renée's confident and expressive singing has come to the attention of a growing number of listeners, fans, and other jazz musicians.

I recently interviewed Renée about how her music has developed. She shared some interesting personal thoughts on jazz and music, and what music has inspired her.

"I think everyone should be out supporting the [local jazz] scene – so developing it or not, get out!"

"A Jazz aesthetic is what you make of it. [...] I plan to continue to add stuff from modern repertoire in a style that suits us, because we just want to play good music, whether that's standards or whether that's modern tunes.

"Good music for me is a combination of two things: song-writing, so if it's a song that has been written honestly, and then performance. So you could take a great song and play it like garbage, and it's not good music. Or you could take a crappy song and then play it really well and it's not really good music. But if you have a really good song played honestly and truly, then it's good music."

On picking songs for StreetJazz: "Usually the song that will work is the song that's been in my head: the one that's going to work by myself. It's just the song I've been singing all day. So that's why it works, cos it's been in my head all day long. We might have to have a bit more forethought when we start collaborating with more musicians, but the whole point is that it's off-the-cuff and sort of natural, and not too much pre-planning goes into it. So you see a lot of me forgetting the words and us bumping into things as we walk on the streets and it's kind of funny and cute and a really good time."

Listen to the podcast    [mp3, 25 minutes, 12 MB]

    – Brett Delmage

You can hear Renée Yoxon each Monday evening at Bar 56 in the Byward Market.


Richard Page: Ottawa has an incredible appreciation for original music

Richard Page  with trio bassist Philippe Charbonneau play at the Avant-Garde Bar, 2010  March 23 photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Reedman, flautist and composer Richard Page came to Ottawa in 2008 with the Youth Summit at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. Since then he's made Ottawa his home and his presence known. In the past year he's done a lot of playing, and an increasing amount of composing.

Page has taken risks and worked hard to create his own opportunities: he introduced a weekly jazz series to the home of blues and funk, The Rainbow (on Saturday afternoons, yet!) and presented chamber jazz at the Unitarian Church with his A Large View from a Small Window sixteen-piece string ensemble.

He is currently developing an audience at Avant-Garde on his regular Tuesday night shows with his experienced and tight trio, including Matt Aston on drums and Philippe Charbonneau on bass. This month they are also performing on Wednesday nights at Café Nostalgica. publisher Brett Delmage interviewed Richard Page at Avant-Garde about his music.

Listen to the interview [mp3, 12 minutes, 6  MB].

Read more: Richard Page: Ottawa has an incredible appreciation for original music


A look and listen inside Theo Bleckmann's masterclass with Renée Yoxon

Renée Yoxon at the NAC's Fourth Stage converses with Theo Bleckmann at the Manhattan School of Music in NYC via video conferencing. Photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010Theo Bleckmann is a jazz vocalist and composer from New York. He's renowned for forging his own sound, incorporating jazz, ambient and electronic music as well as performance art. In February 2010, he conducted a masterclass at the National Arts Centre, over videoconference. The masterclass was part of the NAC's Manhattan on the Rideau Series. It links leading jazz faculty members of Manhattan School of Music with accomplished music students and musicians, at the NAC.

Three vocalists participated, including Renée Yoxon from Ottawa. They were accompanied by J.P. Allain on piano, Tom Denison on bass, and Don Johnson on drums.

Ottawa Jazz Scene's Brett Delmage interviewed Renée Yoxon and prepared this story about the class.

You can listen to our podcast here (34 MB)

An audience observes the NAC's Manhattan on the Rideau Series masterclass at the NAC's Fourth Stage . Photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010