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Meghan Heeney pays tribute to jazz sax tradition, community at grad recital

Meghan Heeney and  Mark Ferguson performed a quiet and emotion-filled version of 'My One and Only Love' for her recital ©Brett Delmage, 2015

Meghan Heeney Graduation Recital
Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ottawa saxophonist Meghan Heeney picked a wide-ranging selection of jazz for her graduation recital at Carleton University on April 29. The classics by tenor greats Dexter Gordon and Benny Golson were no surprise, but she also included a modern piece by saxophonist Bob Reynolds.

And one of the lyrical jazz standards on the bill also had a tenor saxophonist link. Heeney had been very impressed by Joel Frahm when he taught at the Carleton University Jazz Camp in 2013, and transcribed his version of “My One and Only Love” for her recital. It was a quiet and emotion-filled version, performed as a piano-sax duo.

The set-list had a good balance of upbeat and quieter numbers which were clearly enjoyed by the audience of family and fellow students, as well as her long-time saxophone teacher, Mike Tremblay. Heeney's fluid sax work was supported by local jazz stalwarts Mark Ferguson on piano, Tom Denison on bass, and Jamie Holmes on drums.

Introducing her last piece, Heeney talked about the community of saxophonists in Ottawa, some of whom like her stayed in Ottawa for university and others who ventured elsewhere. And then she brought out one of those who went elsewhere – Claire Devlin, who studied jazz performance at McGill University – for a tenor duet on Sonny Rollins' “Tenor Madness”. They produced full-bodied and fast-moving rendition, which inspired a standing ovation at the end of the show.

   – Alayne McGregor

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All photos ©Brett Delmage, 2015