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The final concert of this fall's Jazz Jazz Jazz! festival in Gatineau on Sunday afternoon attracted an enthusiastic crowd to hear the music of French composer Michel Legrand.
Legrand was a prolific composer for musicals and films, and on record; many of his songs, like “I Will Wait for You”, have become classics. He's also the favourite composer of Ottawa vocalist Nicole Ratté, who picked 17 of his songs – some ballads, some upbeat – to sing at this show.
Some she performed in French, and others with the well-known English lyrics, accompanied by her frequent collaborators J.P. Allain on piano and Normand Glaude on double bass and harmonica.
The audience at Les Brasseurs du Temps clapped warmly throughout the two-hour show and demanded an encore at the end.
The Sunday Sessions at Irene’s in November feature Marc Decho’s Warp'tet, performing a tribute to Jaco Pastorius. The Warp'tet’s members are Marc Decho on six-string electric bass, Ed Lister on trumpet, Vince Rimbach on soprano and tenor saxes, Richard Page on bass clarinet and electronics, Clayton Connell on keys, and Valeriy Nehovora on drums.
Our podcast features three music excerpts from the group’s first week developing this material at Irene’s. All are pieces performed by Jaco Pastorius, rearranged by Decho for this group. The first ensemble clip and the bass solo clip are from "Reza". The third music excerpt is from "Mr Gone".
OttawaJazzScene Editor Alayne McGregor talked with Marc Decho after the concert about the appeal of Jaco’s music, Marc’s six-string electric bass, and an unusual reason why the group will not play on the final Sunday of this grey month.
The group Mélanie E has found inspiration in popular song – but not the Great American Songbook.
On Saturday, the Ottawa jazz quartet will launch its second CD, a collection of songs popular in French Canada from the 50s to the 80s – in jazz versions. For francophones, it will be a trip down memory lane – but in a quite different style. For anglophones, it's jazz from a completely new angle.
The project is the brainchild of wife-and-husband musical team Mélanie and Keith Hartshorn-Walton. Mélanie is the vocalist; Keith is the arranger and tuba player; and they collaborated writing the three original songs on the CD. Both are well-known in Ottawa's jazz scene, as are the other two members of the quartet: guitarist Alex Tompkins and drummer Michel Delage, with whom Keith has played in other groups.
When OttawaJazzScene.ca interviewed the Hartshorn-Waltons last week, they were enthusiastic about their show this Saturday at Record Runner Rehearsal Studios, and about the music on their new CD, Chemin.
The group plays the French songs that Mélanie heard on French-language radio as she grew up: by famous Québeçois songwriters such as Félix Leclerc, Robert Charlebois, Georges Dor, and Claude Léveillée, as well as songwriters from France such as Serge Gainsbourg and Joe Dassin.
“That's why I chose them. They're just songs that spoke to me, during that time,” Mélanie says.
“I grew up living most of my impressionable life in Ontario, even though my family traditions were very much from the east coast of Quebec. And I think that made me culturally insecure. So I spent a lot of time in my youth and in high school and even in university listening and researching French music, and reading French authors, some of which cover both music and literature. And I think that's where my passions came from.”
There wasn't a big French community where she lived while in high school, she said, “and so I felt a bit of a disconnect. And through music, I was able to bring French songs to my friends who hadn't, they'd never heard of these artists before!”
Trumpeter André Massicotte had a big smile on his face as he introduced the second edition of his Jazz Jazz Jazz! festival to a large audience who packed the upper room at Les Brasseurs du Temps (BDT) in Gatineau on Wednesday, November 15.
His Delphinus Quintet was performing classic jazz tunes at the free opening concert for the festival, which is running at BDT until Sunday. Massicotte said he organized the festival to promote and encourage jazz on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River: there's lots of jazz in Ottawa, he said, but not enough in Gatineau.
The twice-yearly festival is aimed at Ottawa and Gatineau audiences, said festival assistant coordinator Philippe Sigouin, but with “our own formula and our own brand”. It features performances by local musicians from both sides of the river, plus some from elsewhere in Quebec. Its first edition ran last May.
This edition's offerings include the Latin jazz duo Maya et Jonathan from Montreal (Wednesday), a poetry and jazz theatrical presentation (Friday), a musical talk about Vieux Hull's impressive jazz history (Saturday), and a jazz tribute to iconic French composer Michel Legrand (Sunday).
However, the festival has suffered several setbacks. This edition was originally supposed to be held in a 300-seat church in Aylmer, but they moved it to the smaller BDT when ticket sales were slow. And then two high-profile groups (Jean-Pierre Zanella on Thursday and Daniel Berriault on Saturday) cancelled because of illness. Massicotte said they would be bringing these groups back for the next edition of the festival.
Valeriy Nehovora has found Canada, and Ottawa's jazz scene in particular, to be a very welcoming place.
Fifteen months ago, the university-trained percussionist arrived in Canada from the Ukraine – and he's been busy ever since performing and making connections with local musicians.
This month, he's leading his first Ottawa-based group, as his quartet hosts Jazz Mondays at Le Petit Chicago in downtown Gatineau. He's joining up with three well-known Ottawa jazz musicians he met at jazz jams and playing in different projects: guitarist Alex Moxon, bassist J.P. Lapensée, and saxophonist Richard Page.
You can also hear Nehovora the first three Sunday evenings this month as part of Marc Decho's Warp'tet, which is performing a tribute to Jaco Pastorius in the Sunday Sessions series at Irene's Pub in the Glebe.
Canada was Nehovora's first choice as a destination after he left Ukraine, because of what he'd heard of this country's welcoming attitude. “Canada is [the] best country. That's why I came to Canada.”
He said he talked to others in similar situations to his own – who had to leave because of economic or political problems or because of war. Friends in Germany and Poland told him that they were constantly reminded in those countries that they were immigrants, even those who were second or third generation.
“In Canada, here I'm not viewed liked an immigrant. I feel like it's my country now. And also for newcomers, Canada has a lot of different programs which help.”
When he got here, Nehovora said, he made a point of meeting as many musicians as possible at local jazz jams and shows, and playing with them in different projects. He met Moxon and Lapensée through attending their HML Trio jazz jam at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata, and Page when they played together in a project with organist Don Cummings.